Eat your pet dog? You couldn’t, right? But you’re sick and you’re hungry. It’s been 60 days since the 14th coronavirus strain wiped out half the population because millennials couldn’t socially distance themselves. That pandemic exercise Event 201 was right.
Now you’ve gone through all of your supplies. You’ve been wandering the countryside, avoiding violent scavengers, finding that the only one you can count on is your dog, Sarge. You’ve reached the end of your rope and honestly don’t know if you’ll last another week in the wild. Sarge limps up to you and gives you his sad, puppy dog eyes. He hasn’t eaten for weeks, either.
Suddenly, your sorry gaze turns into a gleam of hope. Sarge still has meat on his bones! Unfortunately, you see the same look in Sarge’s eyes. You know the second you collapse, you’re a ripe substitute for Alpo. If you do the unthinkable and decide to sacrifice big Sarge for the greater good, then you should make the most of your faithful companion. Using every part of your best friend is a fair tribute to the good boy.
With supplies running scarce, and all of the grocery stores being closed due to looters, the first issue at hand is how to cook your best friend. Our end-of-world camping skills almost always involve a Dutch oven. If you can’t source one through raiding the Saviors’ camp, you could always cobble one together by firing your own out of clay. Regardless, you want a Dutch oven. How you get it is your problem. A couple of other ingredients that you’ll need to find are flour, seasonings like salt and pepper, and a bottle of wine. Might as well live your final days to the limit, right?
Remember, you’re not exactly going to be Anthony Bourdain, so don’t get your hopes up for these dishes. Bon(e) appétit!
Hey, you’ve seen him lick ’em a bunch of times, so you know they must be tasty. Might as well get a little extra protein in your first appetizer. Cut those bad boys off, roll ‘em in a bit of flour and fry them up. Then thank yourself for not wasting money on that trip to the vet.
In our variation of braised short ribs, you’re going to be using that bony cage of your good buddy. Since you won’t have any pancetta handy, slice off a few of Sarge’s fattiest bits and get them rendering in the pan for about 10 minutes or so. This will give you a nice base of grease. Grab the ribs and carefully using your ration of salt and pepper to season them, roll them in as much flour as you can spare. Brown the ribs on all sides, around 45 seconds each.
Remove them from the pan. Dump in your stash of veggies, grasses, and those few onions you found in the dumpster and stir them around until soft. Pour in a few cups of dry red wine, and bring it to a boil. Since beef stock is non-existent, add a few cups of water. Like we said, this isn’t Michelin star-rated cooking, this is survival. Place the ribs in the mixture and toss in some roadside rosemary and thyme. Let this whole concoction cook for about two and a half hours. When it’s done, siphon off the fat and save it for later. Drizzle the veggie medley over the ribs and enjoy, thanking Sarge for helping you out of a jam, one last time.
The big issue here is not the fantastic pie filling you will get from your pup, but sourcing the materials for the flaky-crispy shell. So instead of making some fine pastry, we will be baking some bread, hollowing it out, and putting some of the remaining Hella Good Old Yella meat inside. You’ll need to scavenge a bit to find some active dry yeast, but dig around in that abandoned market. Most folks would pass right over it during their looting.
In a bowl or barrel mix up 3 cups of flour, a teaspoon of the dry yeast, and a couple teaspoons of salt. We’d prefer sea salt, but you play with cards you are dealt. Pour in a cup and a half of warm water until you have something resembling sticky dough. Cover this up and keep it near a low fire, allowing the heat to activate the yeast for 10-18 hours until the dough rises. Stoke the fire and get it nice and hot to around 450 degrees.
Preheat your Dutch oven for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, take out the frustration of your situation on the dough, pounding it down. Flour it all up and shape it into a ball. Toss a little more flour on it, wrap it up in plastic wrap or an old plastic shopping bag, and let it sit while the oven is preheating. Take the Dutch oven off the fire, lightly grease, and place the dough inside. Cover it up and put it back on the fire, baking the bread for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover for about 15 minutes until the bread is golden brown on top. Cut the bread in half horizontally, hollow out a small portion, and place the remaining Hella Good Old Yella meat inside (without the bones, of course).
Let everything cool down, and then slice it into individual portions. You need to make this last until you can find a new best friend.
After a couple of Sarge-based meals, it’s time to utilize the remainder of your buddy before he’s inedible. This will make the best use of his remaining parts. Cube the leftover meat into bite-sized chunks. If you have any wine or spices left over, mix them into a marinade and toss the meat cubes into it for about an hour. Believe us, you’re going to want to do whatever you can to add flavor.
Meanwhile, get a grill or grate over the fire and start preheating it. Place the marinated meat onto stick skewers, alternating the meat with any of the onion that is left over from your first meal. The more vegetables you’re able to scrounge together, the longer this feast will last. Grill the kebabs for 5-15 minutes, turning them occasionally, making sure you are cooking them thoroughly. The last thing you need is a bit of food poisoning after you have come this far. Drink the remaining wine and toast Sarge’s memory. Savor every last bit and drift off to sleep, planning for the long, virus-filled nights ahead without your dog by your side.