The Hunting Camp Garbage Plate

Although the name isn’t entirely appetizing on its own, you should know that the word “garbage” in deer camp food terms refers simply to abundance and variety, and there is no actual garbage involved.

The plate consists of a foundation of baked beans and/or macaroni salad with either home fries or French fries. On top, a choice of two: venison cheeseburger or hamburger, venison or venison Italian sausage. The crown jewel on this mountain of food: onions, mustard, and your favorite hot or meat sauce — which is a ground meat chili like you’d prepare for a week at deer camp.

Each deer camp puts their own spin on it—there are some who have created healthy versions and upscale versions. Names also vary; at some camps it is called a “Trash Plate,” or a “Trasher Plate.” Other clever names include the “Compost Plate,” “the Deer Camp Deluxe,” and the “Junkyard Plate.”

The crown jewel on this mountain of food: onions, mustard, and your favorite hot or meat sauce.

The Plate 

The garbage plate has multiple delicious layers and parts, all of it usually served on a plate with raised edges to keep the mound of food from falling off the plate while shoveling it in your mouth.

First, there’s the base. At the bottom of any garbage plate there should be a healthy serving of few different foods: french fries or home fries, macaroni salad, or baked beans. Usually, you pick one or two of these, the most common and acceptable choice being the home fries/mac salad combo.

Next, there’s the protein. On top of the base you can put venison hot dogs, venison hamburger or cheeseburger patties, or wild turkey tenders and venison sausages. It can be whatever your heart desires as long as you can cut it up pretty easily, serve a bunch of hungry hunters at deer camp, and it’s something you personally find tasty for the family.

Finally there’s the toppings. Ketchup, mustard, and onions are all optional, but there’s one essential ingredient that ties everything together: hot sauce or venison chili. The traditional garbage plate uses a flavorful, meaty hot sauce that you can easily make with onions, garlic, ground venison, tomato sauce, vinegar and a handful of spices including cayenne pepper and chili powder.

Once the three layers are assembled, it’s encouraged to mix all of it thoroughly so that you get a little piece of everything in every single bite. And don’t forget the side of bread and butter, just because. Thus we have the hunting camp garbage plate.

An at-home version will likely work best using leftover venison from a big event. If you have leftover pasta salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, or other similar items, simply pile them on a plate, and top them with a protein like a venison burger or venison hot dog, and then top that off with venison chili sauce, onions, and mustard. Enjoy the homemade version (if you can) and make sure to have some heartburn medicine on hand for afterward.