Tag Archive for: michael waddell

Michael Waddell’s Tasty Elk Chili

Winter is well under way—and so are those blisteringly cold mornings and too-early, frigid nights. What better way to beat that unforgiving weather, or warm up from a day full of hunting ducks and deer, than with a steaming bowl of chili? Join the Bone Collector, Michael Waddell, as he “trespasses” on his wife’s kitchen and whips up his tasty elk chili.

How Waddell Makes His Elk Chili Unique

Waddell jokes that chili is one of the most controversial dishes in the world. There are as many spices as there are options when it comes to making it! He loves his version because it’s cheap, easy to make, and flat-out tastes great. And it’s perfect if you’re looking to feed an army—especially during deer camp.

For this recipe, he uses two pounds of elk burger that he got in Utah, but he says you can use whatever wild game suits your fancy. He prefers elk because it’s lean, tastes more like beef than deer does, and is healthier than plain ground beef.

To really make his elk chili pop, Michael uses a bit of bacon grease from breakfast to brown the meat. He admits any healthiness the elk provides is lost, but it adds a flavor to the chili that just can’t be beat. And, while browning, Waddell warns against wanting to overcook it. He says people tend to overcook wild game, mainly since it’s “dirty” from being exposed to the wilderness. But cooking it rare or medium throws the taste over the top.

Showing that he’s as “country as a chicken coop,” he breaks out his jars of fresh tomatoes that he and his wife canned themselves a while ago. He admits that you can also use store-bought cans of diced tomatoes—but they won’t taste nearly as great as the home-grown stuff.

When it comes to chili spices, there are nearly endless ways to mix and match—and Waddell says you can use whatever you want. But for his recipe, he uses what he calls “the bomb”: a simple packet of French’s Chili-O. Paired with a can of Rotel, some black beans, and onions, it adds that perfect chili taste.

To wrap up this cook, Waddell whips up some instant jasmine and brown rice. When plating, he likes to put down a layer of rice and then spoons some chili on top. It makes for a great, easy alternative to cornbread and helps you get that nice starch fixin’. When it’s all said and done, Waddell says this cook will warm your bones and have you eating like a king.

Michael Waddell’s Elk Chili

Cuisine: Wild Game, American

Difficulty: Easy

Michael loves this version because it’s cheap, easy to make, and flat-out tastes great. Plus, it’s perfect if you’re looking to feed an army—especially during deer camp.

Elk Chili Ingredients

  • 2 cans Diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 small cans Mushrooms
  • 1 can Black beans
  • 1 packet Chili seasoning
  • 1½ – 2 lbs. Elk burger
  • 2 Yellow onions (diced)
  • Cajun seasoning (to taste)

Elk Chili Directions

  1. Place the elk burger in a skillet and cook until just browned.
  2. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning over meat, to taste.
  3. Once meat is browned, drain any excess oil and grease, and add in diced yellow onions. Continue to cook until the onions are soft.
  4. Transfer the meat and onions to a large soup pot, and add Rotel, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and black beans. Stir the pot until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  5. Once mixed, stir in the chili seasoning and bring mixture to a simmer until warmed throughout.

Recipe Video


  • For additional flavor, brown your ground elk with a bit of bacon grease.
  • Serve the chili over rice (either jasmine or brown), with a bit of cornbread, or top it off with crackers of your choice.
  • You don’t have to stick with black beans—kidney or pinto beans work just as well.
  • To bring even more flavor out, throw the ingredients into a slow cooker. A slow simmer and all-day cook will work wonders.
  • If you want your elk chili a little soupier—throw a little more water in. Or, if you want it a little thicker—add some flour or cornstarch.

Michael Waddell (2023, December 4). Michael Waddell’s tasty elk chili. Exmark’s Backyard Life. https://backyard.exmark.com/recipe/michael-waddell-tasty-elk-chili/

More Than a Bow | The Story of T-Bone

Travis “T-Bone” Turner Reflects on His Career and Life

Some people just have a gift for lifting others up and making a difference in this crazy world. T-Bone is one of those people. When you suddenly come across a key junction in your life, it’s natural to reflect on your experiences and the trajectory of it all. In the video below, Travis “T-Bone” Turner of the Brotherhood reflects on what got him started in this industry, some important moments along the way, and looking forward to what’s next. While archery may have been the thing that ignited his passion and set everything in motion, his life is about more than a bow.

T-Bone’s Early History

Travis Turner wasn’t always the comedic profile known as T-Bone. Before all that, he started bow hunting as a kid when he received his first recurve bow. It was a tough bow to use, and it didn’t exactly give him confidence in his archery skills. Nevertheless, he kept hunting and fishing through school. High school football and fishing pulled him away from archery for a while, but he found his way back to it after high school because some friends wanted to start an archery club. After struggling with the recurve bow, he didn’t have the belief that he could be very effective with a bow.

Despite that, Travis bought a compound bow to join his friends. Still having the notion that he couldn’t draw a heavy bow back (despite being a big and strong kid), the archery shop lowered the draw weight to 64 pounds. With hesitation, he tried to draw the bow and had no problem whatsoever hitting the back wall. From that point, his confidence began to build. He really got into practicing with his friend group, and they joined a bow-hunting class to build their skills together. To Travis’ surprise, he actually won the top score in their Bowhunter Novice class. After that, he was hooked and began shooting at archery tournaments wherever and whenever he could. He won his first state championship in 1990, the ASA world championship in 1991, and his archery skills began to shape his career aspirations. In 1994, Travis opened an archery shop with a friend, called Archery Unlimited, so that they could help other new bow hunters and archery tournament shooters along their paths.

T-Bone’s Career

After building a good reputation in the archery and hunting industries, his career took an important turn. David Blanton of Realtree reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in joining a comedic hunting show with Jeff Foxworthy. As part of that show, Travis coined his legendary “T-Bone” name. Through this experience, T-Bone began to make more connections in the industry, including two other well-known characters.

Michael Waddell and Nick Mundt both knew T-Bone through their Realtree connections and they had worked in some capacity with each other. Eventually, Michael asked the group if they wanted to do their own hunting show, which they both said yes to. With that decision, Bone Collector was born. The goal of the show was to document their experiences in the outdoors and entertain others along the way. It was a good decision.

t-bone more than a bow - the guys

Life Takes a Turn

Unfortunately, you never know what life will bring to you along the way. In 2021, T-Bone developed a cancer in his leg, which spread very quickly. Despite chemotherapy treatment, it had spread very aggressively in his leg, and they ultimately had to amputate it. Obviously, this was a tremendous life change in every aspect and would cause most people to spiral into depression. But not T-Bone.

As he says in the video, he can still work on bows, shoot bows, hunt, etc. – just in a different way. Besides that, he’s still around for his family and friends, which is even more important. He’s so happy and appreciative of everything in his life to this point. Sure, archery is a key facet of his life and career, and deeply intertwined into his character. But to T-Bone, life is about more than just a bow.