Off the Record Podcast – Eps 14 – Stacy Lyn Harris on Southern Food & Thanksgiving

Stacy Lyn Harris is a true southern lady – and how she got teamed up with Scott is a mystery that is soon revealed in this episode of Off the Record Podcast. With 7 kids, plus a hubby, pets, a farm and thriving business, it is a wonder how she’s able to “do it all.”

Behind the Scenes Filming for “The Sporting Chef”

Stacy shares stories from life on the farm – including funny COVID moments – and not-so-funny moments in her husband’s dental office (whose name is also Scott). Plus, we learn about Stacy’s super-secret recipe for oatmeal, and Scott drills Michelle on what exactly are grits. Finally, Stacy walks us through how she cooks the best Thanksgiving dinner, which starts weeks ahead.

Watch Stacy’s holiday on Outdoor Channel’s YouTube channel

Learn more about Stacy Lyn Harris

Follow Scott http://Instagram.Com/SportingChef

Follow Michelle

Off The Record Podcast – Episode 14 – Transcript

Scott Leysath: And I think the last time I was at your house, your floor was covered with Sweet Potatoes.

Stacy Lyn Harris: Yes, and then I recently had the floor covered with pears because you have to age pears too. So totally covered and yeah… But you have to age them and well, your dining room you’re gonna be eating in there anyway, you might as well just have all your food in there.


Intro: Good day and welcome to Off the Record. You’ll find us at the intersection of interesting ideas and great pairings. It all tastes good when these two cook it up, so let’s listen in to The Sporting Chef, Scott Leysath, and outdoor industry insider Michelle Scheuermann as they talk wild game, wine, and anything else that comes to mind. Time to sample and sip our way through the best part of the day as we go off the record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle.

Scott: Welcome to Off the Record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle. Now, this guest that we have today.

Michelle Scheuermann: Hello Stacy. Hello.

Scott: She’s near and dear to me. Stacy and I met… How many years ago, Stacy, have we been doing Sporting Chef?

Stacy: You know what? I think it’s been since 2014, is that right?

Michelle: Wow.

Scott: So it feels like that. Yes. So Stacy Harris was introduced to me by Alan Clemmons, an outdoor writer in Huntsville, Alabama. And Alan said, “You have got to meet this girl.” And Stacy has been a…

Stacy: That was so nice of him, that was the beginning of everything for me.


Scott: Stacy has been a permanent fixture on The Sporting Chef show, we wouldn’t do it without her. She just produced a bunch of stuff for Outdoor Channel, for their YouTube channel coming up.

Stacy: Yeah, holiday’s everything, everything holidays, it’s gonna be really, really good.

Scott: And Stacy your popularity has blown up, you have been busy, busy, busy, you’re all over the place. What’s the latest with Stacy that we need to know about?

Stacy: I don’t really know. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. We’ve got a family of nine, and one of my sons is in law school now, so he’s only here on the weekends, and sometimes he’s not, but most of the time he is. And then all of the other kids and so… And I used to think when they were little… Oh y’all, I was watching a show the other day, and they only had four kids, they had four, and they were all little and I went, “God, that’s a lot of kids” and Mary looked over at me and she was like, “You had seven all little like that.”


Stacy: And it sounds like, “God, that’s a lot”

Michelle: You see, you blanked it out, it’s blanked out. [laughter]

Stacy: Yeah. Oh, God, can you see me? Am I good?

Michelle: No, you’re good, you’re good.

Scott: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Stacy: Perfect.

Scott: And Michelle, let me tell you, when we first started shooting segments with Stacy, it was kind of cool because she’s got these seven kids, at least parts of them we’re all doing chores so it’s like a…

Stacy: That’s awesome.

Scott: Well oiled machine. We can shoot a season’s worth of Stacy in one day. And there was one day, when we showed up…


Stacy: Oh, God.

Scott: And Stacy, You know what I’m talking about.

Stacy: I do.

Scott: And I went to the front door. And there was this look of surprise like, “What are you doing here?”

Stacy: Oh no, I had my laundry basket, no make-up on at all. My hair was wet, and I looked awful. And then the kids, they were getting ready for Scott to come, they were doing chores and everything, you should have seen it. It was crazy, and I was practicing one of the things that I was planning to make, to make sure it turned out okay, which was great ’cause we had it for the show, but I was like, “Oh my gosh, I thought it was tomorrow.” And he’s like, “No, I’m here today.” And so I was like, “Okay, well, we got this.” And so we had everything ready. We have the garden, so we were able to do whatever was out there and we have stuff in the freezer and we were able to cook that up, and I think you might have had some quail or something duck or something with you that we worked with, and I did a bunch of little tips and it worked out, but I’mma tell you he’s like one of the only people that’s seen me without makeup.


Scott: And for the folks that are listening, of course, Stacy looks just fine without her makeup.

Stacy: Oh no, oh no.

Michelle: Yeah.

Scott: I wasn’t the least bit scared when I got there, but the cool thing is that we were able to pull it off, and that’s one of those behind the scenes things that you don’t know about and how we’re able to shoot all of Stacy’s stuff for a whole season in one day and kinda make it look different, and she’ll do a couple of wardrobe changes and we’ll move cameras around and all that kind of stuff and so, I’m not sure I should dispel the illusion that you’re thinking that we’re going to her house every week and shooting stuff, but that’s kinda how the TV works and that’s how it’s most efficient for us.

Stacy: Well, it’s fun for me and I love it, and I would have it no other way. I get my Scott fix every year, I wanna get two or three Scott fixes and I’m wanting to come up there to the wineries. So that’s on my top of the list thing. Michelle, have you been to this?

Michelle: Oh yeah. It’s a tax write off, Stacy, so of course I’ve been.


Stacy: I’ll need to talk to you when we get off, yeah.

Michelle: Yeah.

Stacy: Yeah. Okay, that’s great. Yeah.

Scott: Yeah, Michelle, you’ll be out here in December.

Michelle: Yeah, for my birthday is December 7th so… A long time ago, it was like three months ago my husband was like, “Why don’t we just go out to the wine country, visit Scott and do that for your birthday?” And so fingers crossed, you know Delta has changed our flight a little bit on both ends, just because they’re trying to figure stuff out with less planes. And the fires seem to be under control. Right, Scott?

Scott: Fires are out for the most part, we’ve got… And there’s a direct flight from Minneapolis to Sacramento couple times a day.

Michelle: So fingers crossed.

Scott: So I’ve found that traveling… But the good thing about it is there’s nobody sitting next to you on Delta.

Michelle: You’re pretty much buying two seats, is what you’re doing.

Scott: You’re basically buying two seats for the price of one, and the downside is wearing a mask going from coast to coast, but we’re kinda getting used to that mess too, and you get a bag of Cheez-Its and a bottle of water.

Stacy: I’m not used to it. I’m not used to it. I’m never, ever, ever, ever gonna be used to wearing a mask. I wear my lipstick and my lipstick, and it’s all over the inside of that mask. And really and truly, I can’t breathe. And I enjoy seeing people and their expressions, and then I’ll be walking and I’m smiling and I could be sticking my tongue out, I could be rambling under that thing, and nobody would ever know, and I really like to commune. And it’s really hard. This has been hard on me, it’s been hard.

Scott: Well, and out where you all live, Stacy, out in the country there, it’s not so bad. Once you go into town, you have to put your mask on, but how are things in Alabama with this COVID mess?

Stacy: Well, it kind of depends on where you live. And yes, in the city, it’s a lot worse. It’s pretty bad, you had to wear your mask… I was in a store the other day. I took one of my daughters shopping ’cause it was her birthday, I haven’t really been shopping since COVID, ’cause I don’t want… Oh, well, actually, I did go to the outlets and I couldn’t try on some pants and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to return them, so y’all I tried them on right there. I had my girls surrounding me. They were okay with that, and I tried them on right out in the open ’cause I cannot buy a pair of pants without trying them on. So anyway, I went there and they were like, “Well, you know there’s a camera.” And I’m like, “I can’t help it.” And so I was like…

Michelle: Oh my God, Stacy.

Stacy: They didn’t get on to me, and so…

Scott: Did they not have a dressing room? Or what were you at a swap meet somewhere?

Stacy: No, they won’t let you.

Michelle: ‘Cause they don’t want you in there, because of COVID.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: Oh, I got you.

Stacy: So it’s like, how can you… Well, it worked out. I didn’t get the pants, by the way.


Scott: And my wife returns at least half of everything she buys anyway. She doesn’t have a problem returning stuff.

Stacy: I hate returning staff.

Scott: I personally, I don’t return anything. I figured it was my fault, I bought the wrong thing, I’ll hang it in my closet and give it away someday.

Michelle: There you go.

Stacy: Yeah, I kinda do that. Yeah, and so I need to make sure that I’m getting the right thing. But anyway, I did take my daughter to get… And I had my mask, I forgot ’cause… Okay, I’ve gotten older. I can’t see without my glasses, so I’m in the cosmetic store with my daughter and we’re looking at something, and I have… I put on the glasses, well, they fog up because I have my mask on, so I put it down right underneath my nose and the lady, a mean lady came up.

Scott: Oh, yeah.

Michelle: And she was like, “Ma’am, you’re gonna have to fix your mask.” And I was like, “Oh gosh, I forgot. Yeah, okay.” And I guess I completely forgot ’cause it’s just that I had my glasses and they fogged up and I couldn’t see, and I said, “I’m so sorry.” I explained it to her. And she said, “Well, I know I’ve lived with it, whatever,” [laughter] But anyway, so… And I wanna keep people safe. I wanna keep them healthy. I want them to feel safe. I’m not opposed to it, necessarily although my husband is a dentist and he got his Master’s degree in respirators, so before he was a dentist and he knows that they’re not doing any good. And so he said, Now the six feet thing, that’s doing something, but he said the wearing of the mask is not really working, unless you’re six feet and then it’s working. So it’s been hard.

Scott: Well, I know that this has been a challenge for your husband, Scott, too.

Stacy: Oh, gosh.

Scott: Because what a mess, as a dentist. He had to be closed for a couple of months, right?

Stacy: Yes, it was horrible. And then I had to become everything. So we didn’t want our employees getting sick, so we didn’t make them come in, but we were still paying and I’m not… I’m happy that we did that, I’m not… But it was like money was just flying out and we weren’t making any ’cause you couldn’t do anything. The rules were you couldn’t even… If somebody lost a crown, you couldn’t even glue it back on.

Michelle: Wow.

Stacy: So you could only get people out of pain and that kind of stuff doesn’t… You’re not gonna get too much for that. And we were building on top of that, building the place. Then when we came back people didn’t wanna come back, because they were afraid they were gonna get COVID. So then, the work pool was small and then everything was so much more expensive, and then we had to have more employees ’cause my son just came in with him, so it was something. But I do have a funny story. And I don’t know… We were talking about this a little bit before, and y’all don’t know what I’m gonna say here, so I hope that this is not shocking.


Stacy: But we’re really conservative type of people and everything, and so Scott, in our new location with the dentist office, we got TVs that sit up on the wall and it’s a state of the art everything. It’s like, boom, shit. It is great. So you’re laying down in there and this guy, he walks in and he’s joking around with this guy and he said, “I bet we don’t have anything on that you’re gonna like to see,” and so he was joking and said that he was watching… I don’t know if it was a hunting thing or fishing, it was something like that, and I think they were taking mentally challenged kids out to hunt and so it seemed good. It seemed good enough. Well, all of a sudden, a commercial came on and it was this and Scott’s telling me this, y’all, and you have to know Scott, he’s real dry. If he tells you a joke, he’s not gonna smile, he’s not gonna laugh, you guys better know it’s a joke. And so he’s just got this straight face and he’s saying. Yeah, and then this commercial came on Stacy, and it said, “Get your booty to the pole, get your booty to the pole,” and it had people in thongs dancing, while you’re laying there at the dentist office with somebody working in your mouth.


Stacy: So Scott was like, “Oh my gosh!” And so his older assistant was like, “Oh, we gotta do something. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” Like turned all of it off. So yesterday…

Michelle: Burn it! Burn it all!

Stacy: Yeah, turn it off. Oh, no, no. First, they changed the channel. ‘Cause she said, “We can’t watch this channel.” So they changed the channel, and it was to a pet thing where they’re getting onto their pets and stuff. Or they’re training their pets, not getting onto them. They’re training their pets. And she thought it was gonna end. Here it comes again. And it’s like, “Oh my gosh.” And they’re pole dancing. It’s kind of clever. I think that they had a good idea, really. But it’s just, “Wow.”

Scott: I think we have a new theme song for the Stacy Lyn Harris segments now.

Michelle: There we go.

Stacy: Yeah.

Scott: I think that’ll be perfect for your intro.

Michelle: How’d it go? Get it on, get it on.

Scott: Get your booty to the pole. Come on.

Michelle: Get your booty to the pole. [laughter]

Stacy: And you saw some big booties, and it was interesting. I’m gonna tell you, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Michelle: I have to go to YouTube now and find this commercial.

Stacy: It’s on there. You just look it up ’cause you have got to see it.

Michelle: I don’t know how to top that story. I don’t. [laughter]

Scott: Hey Stacy, tell me about the purple door. You’ve got so much going on. When I try and follow all of your social media stuff, it gets a little dizzying because you’re in about a million different directions. Tell me about the purple door.

Stacy: Well, it’s a… We bought this land. And by the way, you’ve got to come pig hunting. I wish I could put it up on the screen. If one of my kids could find the picture, I would show you. But the biggest pigs ever, 300-pound pigs. But anyway, we got this land that went rock. And it had just a small little place on it. And we’ve been fixing it up. And so we’ve moved walls, and everybody loves seeing renovations. And so it’s just a place we do renovations. I’ve done a lot of cooking videos. And actually, my outdoor videos there do really well ’cause I’m cooking on a Camp Chef, and it’s just so easy to cook on. And so actually I made chili. If you go to my Facebook page and look on the playlist and look up chili, you’ll see it. But I’m cooking chili, and I’m talking about the men are hunting. And it’s just real visual because you see the background and you’re outside. So it’s a great place to cook. It’s a great place to just hang out and be casual and just relax and go out by the water. They caught tons of fish yesterday. They put them back in the water. But I love fish. And the older I’m getting, the more I’m realizing that I just need to eat more fish and not a lot of anything else. So it’s a great place. So we wanted it to be homey and be us. And we did some shiplap and all of the updated kind of things since we kinda have… Here it’s more historic.

Scott: And what’s great about your family, one of the things that I admire so much is these kids all do stuff.

Stacy: They do. They do.

Scott: They don’t just sit home and watch TV. They know how to mow a lawn or fix something or weld something or do whatever it is that has to be done. And as we’ve been traveling the country with the Dead Meat show, going to smaller towns, it’s really impressive when you see that there are kids that are actually capable of doing things besides looking at their phones all day.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: And I can see that’s been a real priority for you guys, is to include them and make them part of a unit as opposed to, “Mom and Dad, what are you gonna do for me next?”

Stacy: Well, I couldn’t do it without them. I couldn’t be able to do it without all of the help that they give. So they’ve kinda… Ever since they… I’m actually writing a homeschool book, which I’ve had to put off ’cause I did the Outdoor Channel shows and I’m trying to make sure my website’s up to date with all of those new videos. But they help so much. I wouldn’t be able to do it. They’ve been doing the dishwasher ever since they were two, sorting. I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to that kind of thing, thank goodness. So even now, and they’re older, all of the silverware it’s sorted but it’s kind of just like thrown in there. But it’s okay with me. They’ve learned how to do everything. My daughter was doing stuff in the microwave when she was two, my smallest one, ’cause she’s just a go-getter. They have had to fix their own bikes because we didn’t go out and run out and get them a new bike. And so they changed the wheels to fit a different bike, and they fixed the brakes. And they’ve learned how to do all that just because they wanted to do something.

Scott: Well, and when we’re doing your cooking segments, they’re prepping. They know just what you need next. And they must be… And it’s not just when I’m there, I’m sure.

Stacy: No.

Scott: And the YouTube recipes that you’re talking about, that’s Outdoor Channel YouTube, and that’s gonna be out soon, right?

Stacy: It is. It’s gonna be out. I think they start, actually, Monday.

Scott: So by the time people see this, you wanna check out Stacy Harris on the Outdoor Channel YouTube. And make sure you tell everybody how much you liked it, and say you liked it. And let’s support what she does so we can keep driving traffic there.

Stacy: Yes, that would be great.

Scott: And so a lot of people that don’t know that you homeschooled seven kids and that… You really… You’ve got a lot besides having a law degree, all the other things you do. I really love the idea about you writing a book about homeschooling.

Michelle: Yeah, very timely right now.

Scott: Particularly with… I’ve talked to so many parents. I told them… Now, my kid, Jake, was not particularly interested in school. So my wife said, “What would we do if Jake was in high school?” And I said, “I would take all of his homework, get him a strong C to C-, and then send him out in the backyard to do all the stuff I was gonna do.”

Michelle: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Scott: And I don’t think it would have any impact on his future whatsoever. However, your kids are, for the most part, college-bound, as far as I can tell. And it makes a big difference.

Stacy: Well, it does. But I was actually talking to one of my kids yesterday ’cause she’s 17. She’s finished homeschooling, really. And we’re trying to figure out what is her next move. So actually, I talked to a guy that helped design this house. And I called Auburn. And the architect… She was thinking about architecture and wanting to go into that program, and she may still do that. But I was talking to Auburn about what does she need to do to prepare for that. How do we do that? It’s a five-year program. You have to stay in. You’re there, I said, “Could she travel back and forth?” And so they said, “No, she’ll be studying 70 hours a week in the first year.” And all of this kind of thing.

Stacy: So I’m not sure she won’t do that, I don’t know, but I want to check out everything. The designer that designed this house is amazing. And he is not an architect, and I called him yesterday and I said, “What kind of education did you get?” He’s like, “I don’t have an education. I didn’t go to college.” I went, “What!” I said, “Did you get a draftsman? Any kind of thing?” No, no. He said “Ever since I was in the fifth grade, I drew, I knew what I wanted to do. I studied it myself.” And now we have the internet, you can study everything. My kids know how to play the guitar, they’ve tried to do the violin, one just learned how to do something with clay, you can learn anything on the internet. So I think there’s so many different paths, but the safe path for me is always go to college and get your education. But if they have a better idea, hey, I’m open to it.

Scott: Well, I know Mike Rowe has a really good program.

Stacy: Yeah, I’ve heard about that.

Scott: Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs about kids in our college track and all the options that are there for them. All right, so since this is kind of a podcast about cooking and stuff like that…


Stacy: But we have a live too. It’s all about food, yes.

Scott: And people can learn things about put your body on the pole or whatever it is too.

Michelle: Everyone’s Googling that right now, you know it.

Scott: I know.

Stacy: I know. Y’all google Don’t google that.


Scott: Now, what about… How has your cooking changed? I know you’re very much very Southern, but it’s more of a new Southern, but you’ve got a lot of classic Southern recipes as well, and you’ve updated a lot of them. Has your style of cooking changed over the last 10 years or so?

Stacy: Yeah, I really do believe that it has. And it’s changed because a lot of things. You see stuff on the internet and it inspires you, or you get a new book and it inspires you, but things are so global now. So doing Indian dishes with my same Southern ingredients is a huge deal. So the thing is, we can make Za’atar, we have everything that they have to make Za’atar. We have Sumac, it’s grown in the wild, we have it. We’ve got things that you… Forage, there’s lots of thyme, oregano. We can grow all that same stuff. So it’s been really eye-opening to me. Also, I can’t eat that, what people naturally call Southern food, which is a lot of casseroles. Now, I will say, this Thanksgiving series on the Outdoor Channel, I did not change any of the Southern recipes, I did it just like my grandmother did it. But on a regular basis, I don’t cook like that, ’cause if I eat like that, I’m gonna be as big as a house. So I have to eat more Paleo, I don’t eat a lot of bread, I make a lot of bread and Scott eats some of it, but I try to stay away from that.

Stacy: And I eat really clean, straight from the garden pretty much, although I have a weakness, and I have lots of weaknesses. But one is sweet. Not sweets, yes, but chips, I like potato chips and that is so bad for you. But besides that, I try to…

Michelle: There’s worse things.

Stacy: Yeah, there are a lot of worse things and not just food. But anyway… But that has been, I guess, the biggest change is the globality of things, making Vietnamese food Mexican and making it authentic. That’s what’s so cool. You can find authentic recipes and you can find ancient recipes, you just Google it and it’s there. And you’re like, “Okay, let me see if I can do this.” And cooking straight over the fire, I do a lot of that kind of stuff. Just really, really embracing what we have and working with it. And I think that…

Scott: And your family, you’ve got a lot of fish and game there to work with. You’ve got a pretty active outdoor family there and your freezers are always full of deer, and now you’ve got all those Hogs in there too from the new property.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: And so that’s a part of what you all do that you’re not faking that for TV, when we’re cooking Venison and coil and all that, that’s what you all do.

Stacy: We eat it every day, at least at one meal because Scott and my son come home from the dental office at lunch, so we cook them lunch, and then we cook supper. And then this morning, we had oatmeal and actually, Mary was saying that I needed to do a video ’cause I make really good oatmeal. And I really… I have a secret. I have a secret about oatmeal. We pretty much, at lunch and supper, we…

Scott: Oh wait, wait. Are you not gonna tell us what the secret is?

Stacy: I’m not gonna tell the secret. Yeah, you want me to tell my secret?

Michelle: This is called Off the Record, Stacy.

Scott: Off the Record.

Scott: Alright. No, we won’t tell anyone.

Michelle: Yeah.

Stacy: Okay. Yeah, don’t tell a soul. Okay, so well, after you’ve made your oatmeal over the… And I’ve done it even in the microwave before, but after you make your oatmeal, you put another handful or two, depending on how much you’re making, of oatmeal into the pot, and you just kind of stir it. And you turn off the heat and you just let it sit there, and then it’s not slimy. And you’ve got different textures in the oatmeal, so you’ve got a really nice bite to the oatmeal. And then of course, I put a little brown sugar in it and pinch a salt, and then I put nuts in it, not in it, in it, but on top, and when I plate it in the bowl, and put a little bit of cream around the edge. Y’all, it is good. I could eat it almost every meal. It’s really good.

Scott: And I was in Alaska one time, and the guy that I was fishing with they’ve said, “Would you like… We’ve got some really good oatmeal.” And what they put on theirs was rum raisin ice cream on top of the oatmeal.

Stacy: What! I love it.

Scott: I know.

Stacy: Wow!

Michelle: I totally do that.

Scott: It sounds a little goofy, but I’m telling you, we had it every morning after that, it was so good.

Stacy: I’m gonna try that. I have never thought of that.

Scott: So Michelle, I would say is not a Southern person. What are your top three favorite Southern dishes, Michelle?

Michelle: Oh, me?

Scott: Yeah, I wanna know if you know of any of ’em.


Scott: Name one Southern dish.

Michelle: Well, just Southern fried chicken, but that’s not what I… I’ve never… How the South fries chicken, how my mom fried chicken are two different things.

Scott: Okay, so anything else you can think of that’s a typical southern dish?

Michelle: No. Grits.

Stacy: I do love grits now. How does your mama do the fried chicken?

Michelle: I’m not really sure, to be honest with you, ’cause it was more when I was younger growing up. But I know that they started a lot of fires in the house when they fried chicken. So I don’t know if you did that, but… [chuckle]

Stacy: Well, I have, but not doing fried chicken. When one of my kids was younger, my grandmother was over there, and she talks as much as I do. Well, way more, if that’s possible.

Scott: I don’t think it is.

Stacy: Yeah. And she was talking and talking, and I had a diaper bag next to the stove, and we went outside, and I started seeing smoke and I’m like, “Oh my gosh,” and it was my diaper bag, so yeah. But that was really bad, but fried chicken.

Scott: Was it a used diaper bag?

Stacy: No, no.

Scott: Oh, good, that’s better.

Stacy: It was just perfect. No, but fried chicken, I’ve done it… We actually this summer worked on a fried chicken recipe where we made it every day and I made it different. So we did it in the cast iron skillet, like my grandmother. We deep-fried it. We did a double batter. We did a plain batter. And the one that was the best, if I’m remembering right, did not have the egg batter to it, because when you put the egg batter on it, the skin falls off, and everybody said that the flavor was so much better on the one… I think I ended up with the cast iron one. I can’t remember which one was best.

Michelle: That’s how my parents cooked in cast iron all the time. Yeah.

Stacy: Yeah, that’s probably the fire thing.

Michelle: And henceforth the fire, yeah.

Scott: And Michelle, would you ever order shrimp and grits?

Michelle: No.

Scott: Do you know what grits are?

Michelle: Sí, I do.

Scott: What are grits? I’m gonna press you on this. What are grits? What’s a grit?

Michelle: Well, is it a family of the oatmeal? Is it in the same family?

Scott: No.

Michelle: No?

Scott: Not even close.

Stacy: Think about Indians. Okay, let’s give her hints. Think about Indians. What did Indians… What did they eat? At least once…

Michelle: Corn.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: Native Americans. There you go.

Michelle: Yeah. [chuckle]

Stacy: Yeah. Yeah, that’s true.

Scott: And you’ve had soft polenta, right?

Michelle: Yeah. And that’s corn, right?

Scott: It’s very much the same. If you get creamy Southern grits, cheesy creamy grits, it’s like polenta.

Michelle: It’s like a polenta? Yeah.

Scott: And people on my side of the country, if I say, “What about grits?” They make a face like I just told them to light a diaper bag on fire as opposed to… And then I’ll let them try it, and they’ll go, “Holy mackerel. This stuff is good.”

Michelle: Well, aren’t plain grits just very plain? Like vanilla?

Scott: The ones I grew up with… My dad was an Alabama farm boy. He would just do grits and water, and then he’d bury them in butter and syrup. That’s not the grits that I like.

Stacy: No sugar in your food. That’s a sin.

Scott: Yeah, those weren’t good.

Stacy: Yeah. Yes, no, I don’t like… Although, I will say… I don’t like sugar in my food, I don’t like sugar in my cornbread, but the cornbread that I made for the Outdoor channel, for the dressing, I had to make it like my grandmother’s. And I’m a homemade person, so I didn’t wanna get the Jiffy mix like my grandmother, or not Jiffy. She used Martha White or whatever. And I’m not against it, but I wanted to make the cornbread. So I figured out what they did for the Jiffy mix, and so I made the cornbread that way. So I do have a new recipe with sugar in my cornbread, but that’s not the way I like it next to my chili.

Michelle: Well, don’t you just use cornmeal? Do you just use cornmeal, or…

Stacy: I used cornmeal and flour for that, and a little bit of sugar, and then baking powder, yeah. Normally, I don’t. I just use straight cornmeal and buttermilk and an egg, and if I wanna put jalapenos or cheese in it, then I’ll do that. Just super simple and no sugar. And buttermilk-y. How about you? How do y’all make your cornbread?

Michelle: The way you made it for Outdoor Channel is how I make it.

Scott: I make it from scratch too, but I really don’t… I don’t do a lot of baking, even cornbread, which is not really baking. It’s just kind of baking. It’s not really required. You don’t have to really measure stuff, like you do with real baking, but I don’t do that much of it. I haven’t made a good batch of cornbread. When I do make it, I like to put cheese and fresh corn and jalapenos and all sorts of stuff in there too.

Michelle: Yeah, me too.

Scott: But I still wanna get… So Michelle.

Michelle: You’re on the hot seat, Michelle.

Scott: Michelle, from South Dakota and Minnesota, did not grow up with shrimp and grits, hop and john. What else? What are other Southern dishes that we all grew up with?

Stacy: Well, I don’t know, because I’m sure she had chicken and dumplings, but y’all make it totally different. Did you not have…

Scott: She’s making a face right now. What about okra? How much okra have you… Have you had okra?

Michelle: Mm-mmm. No. Mm-mmm.

Stacy: Okay. Boiled peanuts. Boiled peanuts.

Scott: Boiled peanuts.

Michelle: Nope.

Stacy: Michelle, you’re gonna have to come…

Scott: One of my favorite memories, watching Redskins games with my dad, eating boiled peanuts, and now you can’t even watch the Redskins anymore.


Michelle: That’s true.

Stacy: You can have boiled peanuts. I can’t remember, but I know pecans are few and far between.

Michelle: Is that right? There’s a pecan shortage now?

Stacy: Yes, this year.

Michelle: For your Christmas baking?

Stacy: Yes.

Michelle: Pecans are expensive. When I go to the store and I’m getting all my Christmas baking supplies, a bag of pecans is $15. You’re just like, “What the hell?”

Stacy: Yeah, it’s way too expensive. I guess you just need to grow a pecan tree.

Michelle: I guess so.

Scott: Now, here’s something I just read about turkeys, is that because everybody’s gonna be smaller groups, no big groups, that we’re gonna have a whole bunch of these large turkeys that people aren’t gonna be buying. They’re gonna be looking for smaller turkeys.

Stacy: Well, I’ll tell you one thing. Oh, go ahead. No, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Scott: Oh no. So there might be some better deals on Big Turkeys and what’s wrong with having too much Turkey. I know you don’t have too much of anything Stacy at your place because you’ve always got lots of mouths to feed.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: But I think there’s gonna be some deals on Turkeys this year.

Stacy: They’re already out. Thank goodness. Because I was making one again for that road channel, I smoked it. I wanted a small one but mainly so it would fit into my smoker ’cause I was spatchcocking it and if y’all don’t know what that means, which I know y’all do, but taking the backbone out and flattening it, I love those. And it’s hard for a female that’s not as strong in her hands to cut that bone. So I used it and I called it on accident, but whatever a hatchet, but it’s, well…

Scott: Cleaver.

Stacy: Cleaver, yeah. Well, never mind. But the… Anyway, it was hard getting through all those bones. I’ll just say.

Michelle: Oh, I bet.

Stacy: But I wanted a smaller one so I could work and it would fit into it, but you can’t find them. They are huge this year. I haven’t seen any small ones. But for a small gathering, stuffing a Turkey breast is the way to go. So because it’s so good. You got your stuff oven already in it. And then you could do other really fun sides instead of having to have the dressing, which I love, but that stuffing could be your dressing and then you could do mashed potatoes, and peas, and, green beans.

Michelle: That’s true. Especially for small gatherings. Yeah.

Stacy: And it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. I put cranberries inside the stuffing. And they were dried cranberries, but they were beautiful. It’s a pretty dish.

Scott: So Stacy walk us through how you cook a traditional Turkey dinner.

Michelle: Here we go.

Stacy: So how I do it is weeks ahead. Because all holidays, I do not like stress. So I do it way, way ahead. And I don’t do the turkey ahead. We’ll do that the day of, and you have a great trick, which you told me about for the turkey that you’d have it done in the morning. And you should tell that in a minute, but pretty much we do our casserole. So we’ll have a green bean casserole, squash casserole. It doesn’t take really any time to make, but I don’t wanna clean it up on the day of. I will make mashed potatoes day of ’cause I don’t like those left over. And then what else? Let’s see, your rolls, and I like crescent rolls on Thanksgiving. So I buy them. You can make them, but I go easy on Thanksgiving and just do that. And then we have the dressing, I have it already made. And I can make it to three weeks ahead, put it in the freezer and there’s just no difference. So I have everything except the mashed potatoes and the turkey done. We have all of our desserts done, peanut pie, pecan pie, some kind of a cake, just whatever we decide to.

Michelle: You don’t have pumpkin?

Michelle: Pumpkin, yes, and sweet potato now. Sweet potato is my what used to be. I didn’t like it, but my new recipe, I really love it. It’s my favorite now. So sweet potato…

Scott: And I think the last time I was at your house, your floor was covered with sweet potatoes.

Stacy: Yes. And then I recently had the floor covered with pears because you have to age pears too, so totally covered and… But you have to age ’em and well, your dining room, you’re gonna be eating in there anyway. You might as well just have all your food in there.

Scott: Hey Michelle, how much sweet potato pie have you had?

Michelle: None.

Stacy: No sweet potato pie.

Scott: I’m telling you, she’s been living in a food cave.

Stacy: She needs to come visit. You need to come because I don’t know that I’ll have all of that, but I’ll make sure to have something.


Scott: And so getting back to the Thanksgiving thing, you made a really good point and I’ve always been the same way. Thanksgiving can be such a stressful event for so many people.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: And you can get so much done ahead of time. Even the stuff that you’re gonna cook that day, you chop all your vegetables, you do all that stuff, that’s already done. ‘Cause the cleanup is a problem. And the tip that you had alluded to that I tell people is I don’t care how you cook your turkey. I like to brine mine with the high mountain game burden poultry seasoning for our brine first, put that in there overnight. If you don’t have room to brine it, if you don’t have room in your refrigerator, just put it up and cinch it up into a heavy-duty bag. Pour the brine on top. Cinch that up, stick it in a cooler with ice and leave it in there overnight.

Scott: Drain it, cook it to 165, 170 degrees. The popup timers come up at 185, which to me is way too done. And then you put it into the smallest cooler it’ll fit into. And people are thinking, “What, into a cooler?” If you want to warm the cooler up with some hot water first and then dry it out, that’s great. I put it breast side down into this round cooler that I have. Then I put aluminum foil on top of that. And some dry towels for insulation do not open that lid for at least two hours. And when you go to pull that turkey out, the legs will come off in your hand. It’s so tender. What you’re gonna lose is crispy skin. If you gotta pop it under the broiler and crisp up that skin a little bit, but it’s so, so incredibly moist it steams in its own juices. The problem is people don’t believe that it’s gonna be hot two hours later. So they open the lid. So they open the lid, it screws the whole thing up. So wrap some duct tape around the lid. And if somebody goes to open it, hit ’em with a board or do something.

Stacy: Yeah.

Scott: I’ve had turkeys that five hours later I took ’em out of cooler and there was still steam coming out of ’em.

Michelle: Yeah. Wow.

Stacy: That’s so hot. You couldn’t even eat it. It was so hot.

Scott: And you don’t have to worry about timing. Everybody worries about, oh my God, the green bean casserole and all this stuff has to come up at the same time and it does not have to do that.

Michelle: Yeah.

Stacy: Yes. And you have all that. The thing that my mother-in-law always ran into was oven space. So you have all that free oven space because you don’t have to do… The turkeys had already been done and you’re not having to do that. The way…

Michelle: That’s in the cooler.

Stacy: Exactly. And doing it in a smoker is much the same. I don’t really love fried turkey, whole fried turkeys. I’ll do it. We’ve done it before and it’s okay. But I dry brine mine in the refrigerator. And it really works, and I don’t know if it would on a wild turkey. I think the wet brine is the way to go for a wild turkey, but a domesticated turkey. The dried brine is fine. And I spatchcock it and then put it out in the smoker, but you need to get probably… It took mine about four hours or so. And I did it at, I think 275, maybe in 295. I can’t remember, but it was in the 200s and I put it in the smoker and let it go, and it was just perfect. And like you, I took mine out and I don’t know what you do. I took mine out at 153, I believe. What do you take yours out?

Stacy: I’m 165.

Stacy: Okay, ’cause mine will continue to cook.

Scott: They keep cooking.

Stacy: But you take yours out, you go ahead and take it out at 165.

Scott: And if it’s been wet brined, too, it’s a little more forgiving, you’ve added water to it. What you wanna do when you do the brine is you wanna use a little less seasoning on the outside, ’cause that brine is gonna add salt, it’s gonna make it salty and…

Stacy: I made that mistake.

Scott: And make sure if you don’t have the high mountain stuff, it’s basically a gallon of water to a cup each, of course, salt and brown sugar. If you use a table grind salt, use three-quarters of a cup, ’cause otherwise it’s gonna be way too salty.

Stacy: Yeah, it will be. I did that, on a wild turkey that it needed it. Oh my gosh, it was horrible, it was just like eating a salt cube. But just do one or the other, and you could do a lot of pepper or something, we wanted to do that. I think that would be kind of good as like a pepper crested… I don’t know, I think that would be kinda good with some butter.

Scott: And Stacy, I don’t think… I think we can keep this going for another couple of hours, I think we’re gonna have to do Stacy Lyn Harris part two.

Stacy: Okay, that would be fun. I would love that.

Scott: But before we close this one out, tell me how people can find you, and I know you’ve got cookbooks, you’ve got a blog,, talk to me. How can they find out what it is you do?

Stacy: Well,, it pretty much has everything. If you wanna get to any of my social media, then do that. I am gonna try to start making things different on each social media platform, so follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I’m starting to really come down on the Pinterest thing, and so… But mostly, you subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll find everything there, and I have all my links there. My books are in the shop. I have a hat, I have a really cool hat. I wish I had it right now and show it to you, but got a turkey foot on the front, is gray, tone on tone, but anyway, I’ll give you one when you come. Michelle, if you want one, I’ll get one for you, too.

Scott: I just want Michelle to try one bite of shrimp and grits.

Stacy: I do, too. That’s a must. Absolutely. You’ll put wine in it. If he makes it for you when you go December 7th, my husband’s is December the 9th.

Michelle: Awe, see. Sagittarius.

Scott: And Stacy, I will see you in a few weeks in Alabama, just… We’ll have to decide for sure what day I’m gonna be there so you won’t be surprised.


Scott: And I’ll give you a chance to put your makeup on.

Stacy: Yes.

Scott: Michelle, any closing thoughts?

Michelle: I’m good.


Scott: Alright folks.

Stacy: Thank you so much for having me on. I had a great time.

Michelle: Yeah, thank you.

Scott: Thank you guys.

Outro: Well, time sure flies when you’re loading up on good food, good wine, and great conversation. Find more Scott Leysath at , where you can also nab a free wild game e-book and sign up for his two times a month newsletter, track him on social media, and see how to watch The Sporting Chef airing on Sportsman Channel and Dead Meat on Sportsman Channel and MyOutdoorTV. For more Michelle, check out She runs her own marketing communications firm, handling PR, social media, and more for some of the biggest names in the outdoors. That’s it for now. We’ll see you next time when, again, we go Off the Record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle.

Leave a Comment