Cooking on a gravel bar is as fun as it gets. I think, perhaps, that I remember meals on gravel bars more so than other events that are regular parts of the standard, run of the mill float and camp trip.

A deer or beef stew, complete with gravy, will provide hot food and high energy on cold weather float-camp trips.

A deer or beef stew, complete with gravy, will provide hot food and high energy on cold weather float-camp trips.

I have cooked about every imaginable meal at my gravel bar campsites, but am always looking for something new to toss in the pot or on the fire grate. Food simply tastes soooo good on a gravel bar with a favorite Ozark stream gurgling by.

Like every deer hunter, I always have the least desirable cuts of deer meat left to the very last. The tenderloins, steaks and roasts disappear quickly at out house. Last time I checked the freezer, we were down to the lowly scraps of deer meat, which are regularly thrown in the stew pot.

I had a cold weather float trip coming up and decided that deer stew with gravy on the river bank would be just the hot, nourishing meal I would need to warm me up and provide the energy to finish the float. Cold weather burns calories in a hurry and a deer stew with the veggies and gravy would suffice just nicely.

I packed a 1 gallon Dutch oven, a half gallon aluminum pot and a small cast iron skillet to prepare the sumptuous meal. I began by frying bacon in the skillet. I saved some of the grease in a cup for use in the gravy a little later. As I cooked the bacon, I slightly boiled cabbage, red potatoes, a red onion, carrots and celery.

To the mixture I added 2 slices of bacon, a dash of Lowery’s Seasoning Salt and a Bay leaf. I only cooked the veggies until they were moderately crunchy.

I had marinated the deer meat chunks in a mixture of 3 tablespoons of Dale’s Sauce and water overnight in the fridge. I patted the chunks dry and placed them in the cast iron and bacon grease skillet to brown on all sides. To the grease I added a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

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