30 November 2022
Power on the EGG with Ima Bos and Ingrid Hermans
Game on the Big Green Egg
Game and the Big Green Egg are a match made in heaven. That is something that the hunter, Ima Bos, and qualified chef, Ingrid Hermans, know all about. Close friends and energetic businesswomen, each of them not only owns a Big Green Egg, but they also run a company, Wild Things Hunting & Cooking, together, in which game plays a major part.
What exactly is Wild Things Hunting & Cooking all about?
Ingrid: “We cook private dinners in people’s homes or on location, and most of the time, we serve the game that Ima has shot. What we enjoy the most are small-scale dinners, because we get to have a great deal of contact with the guests and are able to tell them all there is to know about us and the things we do.”
What does your backstory actually consist of?
Ima: “Because the game has been shot by myself and my group of hunters, we can tell our guests exactly what they have on their plate, where the animal lived and why it’s necessary to hunt game in the first place. In the majority of cases, Ingrid and I actually quarter the game ourselves once the ageing process is complete. Small game can be hunted at any time, but you can only hunt large game if it’s cold enough. If the weather is warm, you actually need a fairly large refrigeration unit for the ageing of large game.”
Ingrid: “We then butcher and subdivide the game. Certain parts of the animal are used to make mince and sausages and we use the bones to create wonderful fonds that form the basis of our sauces. What is so nice is that all parts of the animal are used.”
Do you always have enough game for your dinners?
Ingrid: “Yes, we do. When preparing meal for a very large group, we did have to buy in some game on one occasion, but it tasted rather different. Not all hunters eviscerate the game, that is, remove its internal organs, straight away. If the organs are left inside, the game will have the rather penetrating flavour that it had in the past.
Ima: “In the past, hunters also left the game to age with its internal organs still inside, but that’s not something we still do nowadays. Once it has been killed, we take the game to the hunting cabin to eviscerate it and let it age in the refrigeration unit. In many cases, the innards are then returned to the forest as food for the foxes. In the case of large game such as deer or wild boar, a quantity of blood and a piece of tissue is also removed to have the animal tested for the presence of diseases. When preparing small game, however, we carry out those checks ourselves.
How did you come up with the idea to set up Wild Things Hunting & Cooking?
Ima: “When we first met a few years ago, things clicked between us right from the start. Ingrid had almost completed her training at the School of Food and Wine at the Echoput in Hoog-Soeren where she was taught by the SVH-certified Master Chef Theus de Kok. The course itself was a foundation course, but the course devoted a great deal of time to preparing game, since he’s such an expert in that area. At the time, I was in the process of obtaining my hunting diploma and I enjoyed cooking, so we had quite a few things in common. A friendship ensued and we occasionally cooked for friends of ours. One day, when we went out for a meal together, we came up with the idea of actually earning our living from cooking. Each of us was so energised by the other, it simply felt right! That same evening, we even thought up a name for our company.”
Ingrid: “Though we’ve now been cooking on a professional level for years, it still feels like a hobby.”
How much of a part does the Big Green Egg play in Wild Things Hunting & Cooking?
Ingrid: “Much of the game shot by Ima is prepared on the EGG and on one occasion, we even cooked an entire dinner for 25 guests on a Big Green Egg. I first came into contact with the Big Green Egg via a hunter friend of mine and after cooking on one for the evening, I went out and bought one myself.”
Ima: “In the beginning, I found cooking on it quite scary, as I didn’t have a lot of experience in cooking outdoors and was genuinely unsure how I was supposed to use the Big Green Egg, but I saw and tasted all of the foods that Ingrid made in her Big Green Egg and then became just as enthusiastic as she is. For that reason, we frequently cooked together at Ingrid’s place and so I too wanted a Big Green Egg of my own. It was a quite an investment, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Do you believe that the Big Green Egg provides added value when preparing game?
Ima: “To me, cooking in the Big Green Egg is most of all something of a primal experience, and when combined with game, it’s like going back to nature. What is so great about it is taking an animal that you have seen in its living environment and have shot yourself and cooking it on a fire. It completes the experience. Venison saddle, for example, is already delicious, but cooking it in the Big Green Egg takes it to a whole new level.” Ingrid: “I totally agree. The Big Green Egg actually makes everything more delicious, whether you’re talking about game, fish or vegetables.”
Want to prepare game on your Big Green Egg for yourself? Ingrid and Ima have put together a wonderful dish that includes wild duck, an accessible type of game that you too can prepare on your EGG.
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THE BIG GREEN EGG COMMUNITY
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