The upland community is generally comprised of individuals who are dedicated to preserving not only the habitat and wild game species that we all enjoy, but the traditions that encompass and uphold the sport we all love. Don't let the word 'tradition' hold you back, however, rather let the focus be on preserving the 360 degree view of our upland heritage. That is exactly what the guys at The Michigan Upland Experience have endeavored to accomplish. They are dedicated to educating and expanding a love for the outdoors and conservation, through unique curated dining experiences.
One of those ways is by auctioning off exquisite meals to help raise funds for conservation work and youth education. And, let me tell you, this isn't just dinner. This is a carefully planned and executed meal, coursed to lead you on a culinary journey.
Typically, these meals are prepared in the field at a spot of your choosing. Often they involve the use of cast iron ovens, and game and meat cooked over an open flame. However, when the guys came up to join us at grouse camp in the UP this fall, the plan had to be modified slightly due to limited evening light and unknown November weather conditions. Still, they were able to serve up an amazing meal that was the perfect cap to a day of chasing wild Michigan Ruffed Grouse.
First up on the appetizer course was a Scotch Egg complimented by a crisp champagne. This pairing offered a rich flavorful sausage balanced with the smooth texture of the egg, and finished with the palate cleansing sparkling wine. I'm pretty sure everyone would have been satisfied stopping there, but we were just getting started.
The main course graced our plates with a medley of roasted vegetables and baby potatoes. Seared beef tenderloin anchored out the course, laced in a cab sauv reduction sauce. This was a 5-star meal, but served in portions to satisfy the hungry upland hunter who had spent the day afoot. As any proper steak should be, this was of course paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon to match the rich red meat.
Desert found its way to a table of already satisfied appetites, yet was welcomed with eyes fortunately larger than our stomachs. A southern custard pie built on a foundation of drunken raisins was delivered fresh from the oven. The rich creamy custard pie was paired with the bright finish of Baysil Hayden's Port Cask Rye. A desert that could easily stand alone, yet complimented the meal to perfection.
I am not sure we could have asked for anything more. Joe, Chris and Steve served us a meal like no other and once again solidified their commitment to excellence not only in conservation, but to furthering a tradition they have so thoughtfully created. The funds raised from this dinner, as with other meals they do throughout the year, are dedicated to furthering upland traditions here in Michigan. Traditions that are payed forward by way of mentored youth hunts and hunter education. If you ever have the chance to bid on one of their annual auctions, I highly recommend making your way to the top of the bidding list, and taking part in the Michigan Upland Experience.
Be sure to follow along with the guys from MUE as they document their travels and experiences by following them on Facebook