Tink Nathan, founder of Tink's Deer Scent Company and host of Tink's Legendary Hunting Moments, hopes to represent the fine people of House District 53, comprised mostly of rural West Texas counties. And he's made one of his top campaign priorities reversing a 2007 law that banned the picking up and eating of roadkill.
According to Nathan's campaign website, his "BIGGEST THING" (emphasis his) is to:
"revamp the Texas wildlife code to allow people to use road kill deer for human use. now its illegal to pick up a road kill deer"
Nathan contends that the Texas Department of Transportation removed over 1,400 deer from roads in just one county, and that the meat from those freshly murdered-by-Mitsubishi kills could be utilized for people to enjoy at dinnertime.
Apparently a few local chefs wouldn't see any problem with Tink Nathan's grand plan. Around the Metroplex, game that we'd normally see smashed up on the side of the road is ending up in some pretty incredible dishes. Even though the chefs at these six joints probably don't go out and hunt their prey on the highways, they're still putting "wild game" on the menu that most of us would call roadkill. And it's all delicious.
1. Tim Love's Lonesome Dove Western Bistro I have a serious phobia of snakes. They're the worst. No way am I swerving onto the shoulder to miss a massive snake in the middle of the road, because they are evil and deserve to die. At Lonesome Dove Cafe in Fort Worth, I'm able to show the snakes my superior status on the food chain in a much less violent way. Chef Tim Love's rattlesnake and rabbit sausage is a little weird, but has incredible flavor. The sausage is also served at Love's Woodshed Smokehouse (also in Fort Worth), and it's a little bit more laid-back way to enjoy your victory feast.
2. YO Ranch In Dallas, upscale restaurants are thoroughly on the wild game boat. "Wild game," of course, being a much fancier word for roadkill, even if these particular critters on the menu aren't dragged off of the Dallas North Tollway. Maybe the chefs at YO can put some of those 1,400 deer found on the highway to good use in their appetizer venison roll-ups. These tasty little morsels of venison are wrapped in bacon, stuffed with mozzarella and jalapeños, and grilled to perfection. Hey, it's still free-range and all-organic, right?
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3. Bolsa (and Bolsa Mercado) Like deer, wild boar are also a pretty big roadkill problem in many areas across the state. Unlike those friendly little piglets you see on TV, wild boars are big as hell and even meaner. If you hit a wild boar with your car, it will seriously screw up your day, but you could end up with a lot of fresh meat if this Tink Nathan guy gets elected! If you'd prefer to stick to more sanitary options, Bolsa in Bishop Arts' wild boar sausage is an acceptable substitution. The house-made sausage is spicy and rich, with a nice bite of bitterness from broccoli rabe. The menu at Bolsa changes frequently, so you may not always be able to order it when you visit. You can always find it next door at Bolsa Mercado.
4. The Rustic A relative newcomer to the
roadkill wild-game scene, The Rustic offers a lot of options for your meat-foraging fix. The most appealing, the Texas quail, is smoked over a rotating list of woods, including mesquite, cherry and pecan. Quail might not be what you picture when you think of roadkill, but these tiny birds walk across a lot of country roads in this state. Not that I know because I blew away an entire covey with my Toyota Yaris once or anything. The menu also features calf fries, and I think I might rather have roadkill for dinner than baby cow balls.
5. Meddlesome Moth We've all seen one too many of Bambi's best friend Thumper meet a tragic end at the hands of a careless Ford Taurus driver, but that doesn't make rabbit any less delicious. Meddlesome Moth makes a mean rabbit pot pie. One bite of that delicious gravy-drenched meat will remove all guilt you could ever feel about eating such an adorable creature. Especially after you wash it down with a few beers from the Moth's always top-notch selection.
Maybe if Tink Nathan becomes a Congressman, these restaurants will be able to expand their roadkill options and provide economic opportunity for people who can drag freshly smashed carcasses directly to the restaurant. Sure, it's probably unsanitary, but it's just a quirky and carnivorous version of "farm-to-table," right?