One of the hallmarks of the ISE Shows is their amazing lineup of amazing seminars, cool competitions, and awesome guest speakers. This year is no different and one of the featured guests at this year's Phoenix ISE Show is Scott Laysath, host of Dead Meat on the Sportsman Channel. Leysath wears many hats, including: Cooking Editor of Ducks Unlimited, California Waterfowl Magazines and the author of two cookbooks. He calls Sacramento home, but spends more time scaling the country in search of the creatures less eaten.
Scott takes outdoor dining to a new level, preparing and eating everything from boa constrictors to crows to muskrats. Scott was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions.
FCHH - OK, I need to ask - what is the most disturbing thing you have ever prepared and/or eaten? So far, it was goat heart, lung and liver...wrapped in goat fat and intestines. It was served to me as a special delicacy at a Mexican/Portuguese event near the Mexican border west of Corpus Christi, TX. It was undercooked since they were in a rush to have me try it before we had to get to our next stop and shoot a javelina. The outside was like biting into shortening, very greasy and soft, like a wad of fat. The inside had the organs in various levels of doneness. It stayed with me for hours. As a matter of fact, I can still taste it! Python from the Everglades was a close second. Tough, rubbery and very high in mercury. No reason to eat it.
FCHH - What has been the most pleasant surprise? Beaver. Although I’ve eaten many furred critters over the years, I had never tried beaver. In the Ozarks a couple of weeks ago, I had Beaver Tail Soup, Fried Beaver and Beaver Stew. It tastes like mildly sweet beef.
FCHH - Have you found anything yet that made you say "No way. I'm not eating that" ? Not yet. I figure if others ate it and lived through the experience, I probably will too.
FCHH - Can you tell me how your career path turned in this direction? My so-called career has been mostly off the beaten path. I have a degree in psychology which qualifies me to do, well, not much. I went from bouncer to corporate restaurant exec (starting in Tucson and Phoenix, then Northern California where I’ve lived since ’79) to restaurant/catering company owner to HGTV (Home Grown Cooking with Paul James) to my own shows on a few outdoor networks. I’ve had a show on Sportsman Channel since they started 8 or so years ago and hope to keep it going for several more. I’m unemployable.
FCHH - How has the TV show been doing? Dead Meat is in its second season. Any season beyond the first is always a good thing. People have been responding favorably to the show as we are able to feature the fish and game less sought-after and eaten. The show isn’t a fake “reality show”. If we don’t find a python, we don’t hide one in the bushes and act like we did. I’m not an actor, but then I’m guessing that’s an obvious understatement. We’ve met some very interesting people who are passionate about the time they spend outside. Part of our Ozark trip included a beautiful night on the Gasconade River, gigging for suckers. Yep, the same suckers that often get pitched on the bank since they’re considered “trash” fish. To some, they’re delicious.
FCHH - For visitors coming to see you at ISE, what can they expect? I’ll be in the Sportsman Channel booth, dishing out samples of Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage and meeting anyone who wants to talk about whatever the heck it is I do for a living. Sharing recipes is always a good thing, but keep in mind that I’ve already heard the one about wrapping marinated game with jalapeno and bacon! I’m also doing a seminar on Friday and Saturday. I don’t really plan ahead on seminars. I let those who attend dictate where we go with the discussion. I’ve got a fairly short attention span and I assume most others are the same.
Thanks again to Scott for checking in with us! The Phoenix Show will run February 21 - 24 at Cardinals Stadium. You can catch Scott's seminars at 4:30 on Friday and 12:30 on Saturday in the Adventure Theater. To learn more about the Phoenix Show click here to see pricing, times, directions, schedules and more. If you like the outdoors, there's something for you at ISE!