STEAK OR LOBSTER, burger or hot dogs, apple or pumpkin pie, it’s tough to name a favorite food to eat in any category, and that goes for wild game and fish as well.

Everyone has their favorites when it comes to wild game and fish. What some people won’t eat is someone else’s favorite. If you are like me, you have eaten dozens of different species of wild game and fish over the years, and you probably have your absolute favorites.

Starting out with fish, my first favorite was trout. The trout my mother prepared were delicious, with native brook trout far and away the best.

Back in the ’50s, everyone, or at least almost everyone, had a can of bacon grease sitting on the back of their stove or on a counter next to it. No olive, canola or even corn oil for most folks then and in my humble opinion the bacon grease made everything taste better.

My mother’s recipe was identical to that of almost everyone else; roll the trout in flour, sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, and fry until the skin and tails were crisp. Better eating, you’ve never had.

In the salmonoid family, the only fish that can compare to native brook trout, at least in my opinion, are coho salmon. The best ones are not the biggest ones. Give me a coho in the 16- to 20-inch range, and I’ll take it any day over his bigger brothers and sisters.

In my much younger days, I used to have a small side business of smoking fish and game for folks, using the old Pop Dean method which he taught me. I smoked about every kind of fish over the years and my favorite to eat was without a doubt the smaller cohos.

Quite a few times people brought me a salmon, lake trout or muskie to smoke for a wedding reception or other such event and I can tell you that generally the smoked fish was the first thing on the appetizer table to go.

That went for smoked wild turkey as well. I did many of those over the years and never got anything but rave reviews for them. Around Christmas, I would get store-bought turkeys from several people who had me smoke them to give to their friends as a present. I usually smoked one for myself and when I carved it for a Christmas party it was the first thing to go.

Nowadays, I have to admit my favorite fish for eating is no longer the native brook trout. Northern pike took that honor for a good while, but in recent years, I have returned to my “kid” roots and have become a “dyed in the wool” bluegill and perch fisherman.

Ask me and I’ll tell you that there is no better freshwater fish to be had for the table. My recipe is simple. Crush up a baggie full of crisped rice cereal, you know the brand I’m talking about, dip the fish in milk or a stirred-up egg, roll in the crumbs and fry until crisp.

Wild meat has been a staple on my table forever, just as it was when I was a child and it was my parents’ table. Everyone has their favorite way of fixing wild game, be it turkey, deer, elk, moose or even beaver; which I’ve eaten and found to be delicious.

When my lovely wife and I were first married and still in school, we ate any wild game I could find and shoot. Without wild game, about the only meat we could afford was hot dogs, with maybe once every couple of weeks chicken or hamburger.

I may not be a great or sophisticated cook, but judging by the reaction I get from my North Dakota fellow hunters at duck camp, I “ain’t” bad.

We shoot and eat a lot of ducks at the little white house on the prairie. Each year, I fix ducks using two or three tried and true recipes, while the rest of the time I experiment with new. Over the years my duck breast enchiladas, Crockpot™ duck breasts with beer and sauerkraut, Creole ducks and wild rice ducks have emerged as favorites.

When it comes to big game, many folks will choose elk as their favorite. I’ve only hunted elk once and never killed one, but I’ve eaten a bunch of elk steaks. Elk is great, but if I have to pick a favorite big game meat, it would be moose. My dad and Uncle Neal killed several in Canada, and steaks from those animals were among the finest I’ve ever eaten.

Antelope, which many people have low on their wild game list, also can be excellent table fare, though if the animal was feeding heavily on sage, the taste could be quite gamey.

Among game birds, you can’t beat ruffed grouse, though wild doves would be a mighty close second. Wait a second. Wild turkey is right there with them. Oops, what about pheasant? Too hard for me to pick a favorite; they are all downright delicious.

Wild game and fish of all types make for fantastic eating, given that they are properly taken care of after the fish have been caught or the game has been killed. They provide nutrients and flavor that store-bought animal meat or commercially raised fish fillets just don’t have.

I’m glad that I was raised in a family of hunters and fishermen, and that all my life I’ve gotten to taste the very best that nature has to provide.

Enough talking. It’s time to go catch some bluegills.