stories from anahuac: gadwall tacos with pinkerton’s barbecue | gunner flyway series
08-15-224 mins read
4
Reap the benefits of your harvest with Caramelized Poblano and Onion Gadwall Tacos, courtesy of Grant Pinkerton and Pinkerton’s Barbecue, a Houston staple.

Words by Grant Pinkerton | As Told by GUNNER

Anahuac is the third Flyway Series release from GUNNER, which features limited-edition colors that draw inspiration from iconic destinations and honey holes within the four North American flyways. Limited quantities available. A portion of Anahuac-edition products proceeds will be donated to Ducks Unlimited Texas chapter.

Grant Pinkerton, a Houston native and frequent hunter in Anahuac, opened Pinkerton’s Barbecue in December 2016. He’s since been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, Hulu’s “BBQuest,” and Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints list. You can taste Grant’s tacos yourself at Pinkerton’s Barbecue locations in Houston and San Antonio.

Behind the Dish:

Every good hunting story begins with an alarm going off in the early morning or late night hours of the day. Every good wild game recipe starts with a good hunting story. For me, a great hunting story isn’t always one where something amazing happens– it’s one that paints the most vivid picture in your mind, one that transports the others gathered around the fire back to a distant memory in their own mind, an awakening of the past. 

There is something uniquely primal about sharing the story of a hunt over food, especially food which was harvested from the hunt. That primal awakening is what we all chase in this sport, a connection of soul, the land, and the game in a strange symbiotic dance, rugged and beautiful, only felt by those willing to step on the dance floor.

I share the recipe for my Caramelized Poblano and Onion Gadwall Tacos, because for me, the hunt where this recipe was born perfectly epitomizes a morning in the marshes of Anahuac.  Only an hour from Houston, it’s a place remote and wild. So purely wetland you can’t live there, you can only visit. Where Cattails and marsh grass span the horizon as far as you can see. The only way in is by boat– dutifully launched in the dead of night on cool crisp late fall mornings. The sound of gentle water lapping the bottom of an aluminum boat and the panting of a dog are the only subtle notes that break the beautiful silence of nature. Three pulls of a motor and the loud grumble of the Go Devil lets you know your adventure awaits. Stars dot the dark sky and the cold air brushes against your face, your nose rosy, cold, you lift your neck gaiter up. Slipping through the grass in an oddly serpentine  pattern, a left and a right, the turns look the same. A long winding hallway of brown crunchy reeds guides you through the murky water. 

As if by magic, you make a turn and the water opens. Decoys raft on the big open water, you can hear them gently slapping the top of ripples made by the new north breeze. You ease in. The boat lurches forward as it meets its final resting place on the bank. Light is now breaking to the east. It’s night, but it’s the first sign morning has arrived.

Quiet whispers in the pit blinds, the flash of a gas station lighter followed shortly by the warm aroma of tobacco. You gather the cold shells, their brass caps cold on your bare hands, inserting them into the chamber of the gun; one, two, three, the action slams closed and breaks the silence of morning. “Is it shooting time?” one of the dark silhouettes asks. “Three minutes,” is the answer from two pits down. It’s bright enough to see but the earth isn’t vibrant yet, it’s just awakening. Wings begin to whistle, objects jumping in and out of the corner of your eyes. Three subtle splashes break the water followed by the low chuckle of a gadwall. “Aight y’all, it’s shooting time.” It’s big duck season in Anahuac, Texas.

Get Cooking: Caramelized Poblano and Onion Gadwall Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Half Corn Half Flour tortillas
  • Large Yellow Onion
  • 3 Poblano Peppers
  • 6 Gadwall Breast
  • 3/4 Cup of Candied Jalapeño
  • 1/2lb Bacon
  • 3/4 Cup of Cotija Cheese
  • Verde Sauce of Your Liking
  • Pinkerton’s Barbecue Grand Champion Rub

Instructions:

  1. Breast out 3 Gadwall (6 breasts) and season with rub, place back in the fridge.
  2. Heat a large cast iron or frying pan over medium low heat.
  3. Add bacon to pan.
  4. While bacon is cooking, julienne cut your onion and cut poblano in strips removing seeds and stems.
  5. Mince candied jalapeño and set aside in a bowl on the counter.
  6. Continue to cook bacon until crunchy.
  7. Remove bacon and let rest on plate with folded paper towel to collect grease.
  8. Collect excess grease with a dry paper towel leaving a little in the bottom of the pan.
  9. Add julienned onion and poblano strips to pan and turn heat to medium low.
  10. Light charcoal on grill or heat grill on high.
  11. When grill is HOT remove the breast from the fridge and give another sprinkle of rub.
  12. Stir onion and pepper mix.
  13. Place gadwall directly over the heat on your grill grate.
  14. Sear each side for 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.
  15. Remove from grill and let stand on kitchen counter.
  16. Turn heat on the skillet to medium high stirring frequently. Use the onion and pepper mix to rub off caramelization on the bottom of the pan.
  17. Once very soft and brown, remove onion and pepper mix and place in bowl on counter.
  18. Heat tortillas in the same fry pan you cooked everything else.
  19. Crumble the now cool bacon and place in bowl.
  20. Slice Gadwall into thin strips.
  21. Assemble the taco: tortilla, onion, poblano, duck, minced candied jalapeño, bacon, top with cotija cheese and drizzle with verde sauce.

For more stories like these about Anahuac, click here.

Giving Back:

For every Anahuac Kennel or Food Crate that our GUNNER customers purchase, we will be giving a portion of proceeds back to the DU Texas chapter. In addition, when customers choose to donate $1 at checkout to the organization, GUNNER will equally match that donation in honor of the customer's gift.

Want to shop the Anahuac drop before everyone else? Sign up for our SMS messages to get early access. Our last Flyway collection sold out in hours– you don’t want to miss this.

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