Off the Record Podcast – Eps 4

We move away from wine to vodka in Off the Record Podcast Eps 4 – Vodcast. Scott and Michelle test vodkas while attempting to record an episode. Scott pierces the veil on brand-name vodkas – and the shenanigans that he does during parties. Plus, he dives into his favorite vodka drink – and how people mess it up time and again. (We welcome ideas to name his drink.)

We debate whether Two Buck Chuck is real wine. Other meaty questions: Michelle’s value system doesn’t allow her to eat non-meat forms, can housewives fillet fish? At what age are you expected to unhook your own fish?

Off the Record Podcast – Episode 4 – Transcript

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.

Michelle Scheuermann: Alright folks, welcome back to our podcast. This one we are calling vodcast because we are drinking vodka on today’s show. Right, Scott? There it is. So we’re doing a vodka tasting because Scott has some strong opinions. You wanna start?

Scott Leysath: You know, here’s the thing about vodka for me. If I hear somebody order a Belvedere Bloody Mary, I’m thinking that is the biggest waste of money because you… And I’ll talk to people and I’ll say, “Why do you want Belvedere… “

Michelle: Why are you doing this, yeah.

Scott: “Tito’s, Grey Goose, etcetera, in a Bloody Mary when you can’t tell the difference?” What I usually hear is, “If you drink cheap vodka you’re more likely to get a headache.”

Michelle: And you think that’s a wives’ tale?

Scott: I think if you drink a lot of any vodka you’re probably gonna get a headache.

Michelle: You’re gonna get a headache. [chuckle]

Scott: And that’s just my years of experience drinking vodka.

Michelle: Yeah.

Scott: So unless I’m gonna have a Martini…

Michelle: Straight up.

Scott: Straight up. I say, “Whatever’s on sale, drink out of the well,” and I’ve done a lot of blind tastings and if you look…

Michelle: You’ve done these before?

Scott: I have done blind tastings with people and said, “Alright, you tell me which one is the Tito… “

Michelle: No way.

Scott: Yeah, yeah.

Michelle: And how has that worked out?

Scott: You can’t tell when you’ve got mixers with it. And there’s people out there going, “Oh yeah, you can. You bet you, I can spot it.” Alright, well, do a blind tasting in your own little group and have somebody know which is which and you tell them which is which. Now if you’re gonna drink it straight, yeah, you can usually tell the differences.

Michelle: Like a shot.

Scott: Like a shot.

Michelle: Can you tell, ’cause you drink it with club soda or tonic?

Scott: Club soda, a squeeze of lime, and just about a teaspoon of grapefruit juice.

Michelle: Yeah, we went out the other night and you ordered that and the drink looked pink because they put a lot of grapefruit.

Scott: Pink grapefruit juice. And a lot of times when you order grapefruit…

Michelle: So then I gave you shit about it ’cause you were drinking a girly drink. [chuckle]

Scott: But fortunately, I’m secure enough in my manhood that you making fun of me drinking a pink drink is not just gonna have any effect on me, no.

Michelle: You’re okay with it, okay. I’ll keep doing it. [chuckle]

Scott: But if somebody says that they can really tell the difference, I’m not sure they can. Now if a bartender says, “What kind of vodka do you want?” Because it’s their responsibility to upsell me.

Michelle: Right.

Scott: If they get another two or three bucks out of me for a drink…

Michelle: More power to them.

Scott: More power to them. That’s their job. But I always say, “No, I’ll take whatever’s in the well.” What I’ve done at my house is you take a bottle of Grey Goose…

Michelle: Oh you don’t.

Scott: Oh yeah. You do refill it with Vodka of the Gods from Trader Joe’s…

Michelle: Shut up. [chuckle]

Scott: Which last night, it’s either $10.99 or $9.99…

Michelle: And Tito’s is what? $30?

Scott: Tito’s is $30, and I like Tito’s…

Michelle: Yeah.

Scott: But I think Tito’s, it’s good, but I think it is as much of an image thing as anything else. And it’s American and…

Michelle: Right. It’s Texas and…

Scott: People are supporting, all of that, which I got no problem with. And I like Tito’s, but I don’t find that it’s any, a whole lot better than the other ones.

Michelle: I might have to do that for my next gathering.

Scott: Right. But I mean, I’m telling you don’t let people know. A lot of tastings that they’ve done, blind tastings, if you go online and look at it, everybody goes Grey Goose, Grey Goose, Grey Goose. Grey Goose normally ranks well below Smirnoff in blind tastings.

Michelle: No.

Scott: Yes. But they happen to have some great marketing.

Michelle: And I have… If you go to my house right now, we have an extensive bar area. We don’t have kids, so we can.

Scott: Right. You guys are sloppy drunk 24/7, is that right?

Michelle: Yeah. Pretty much. So I have to… I literally have probably four different kinds of vodka in my bar, and it’s not for me, it’s for my guests because I know my girlfriend Andrea drinks Grey Goose, I know you drink Tito’s, I have another girlfriend, my mom I think is like Absolut. And my mom claims it’s also the headache thing but.

Scott: Right. Tell mom to maybe throttle back on a couple of extra vodkas and…

Michelle: If she didn’t start drinking at 3:00.


Michelle: I mean.

Scott: Right.

Michelle: Yeah. [chuckle]

Scott: Yeah, day drinking causes headaches, that’s been my experience. I don’t care if it’s Tito’s or Vodka of the Gods.

Michelle: It does. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t know that about Trader Joe’s. Do you… Have you ever had their Two Buck Chuck?

Scott: Do they still do Two Buck Chuck?

Michelle: I don’t know if it’s even still there.

Scott: I know that was a thing and it was… The thing about the Two Buck Chuck…

Michelle: I should Google it while you’re talking.

Scott: Is that the Two Buck Chuck is, was the… God, that’s gotta be at least 10 or 12 years ago, I think, from Trader Joe’s.

Michelle: That was a thing. It was a thing. Yeah.

Scott: And you’re wondering how can they possibly sell wine for $2 and still make money. And that’s, there was such a glut on the wine market, but the Two Buck Chuck was different, I mean, every bottle was different ’cause it was just a kind of a random batch of whatever’s on sale that they blended and that’s…

Michelle: Yeah. Trader Joe’s rolled back the price of Two Buck Chuck so it actually lives up to its name, but only in California store locations. This was dated January 24th of 2020. So they must have been selling it for more.

Scott: They made a three buck Chuck…

Michelle: I wonder.

Scott: And the market resisted.

Michelle: Yeah.

Scott: They didn’t wanna spend that kinda money.

Michelle: Yeah. Yeah.

Scott: Yeah, I…

Michelle: So did you try it, I guess was my…

Scott: I did and I don’t remember anything about it. I know it was probably okay for cooking. When the guys on TV say that they wouldn’t cook with a wine they wouldn’t drink, I think that’s horse shit too, because if you go to a lot of restaurants, the wine that they have in the back of the house in the kitchen is an 18-liter box of burgundy and chablis, and that’s what they’re using to reduce. I would hate to think that I’m gonna need to get a good bottle of whatever in order to make a sauce. Just to make sure that the wine that you’re using to do a reduction or whatever, doesn’t have any flavors added, it’s not sweet. If you get a burgundy and or a chablis, they’re both perfect for cooking with.

Michelle: So nothing that comes from Minnesota, like the Saint Croix vineyards, cranberry wine.

Scott: Yeah, I don’t think… I think that’s stretching the definition of wine.


Michelle: We need to take you to some of those wineries around there, ’cause…

Scott: I don’t know if I can. I know I’ve been to some shows, where they’ve had jalapeno flavored wine and stuff like that, and I guess it’s okay. It’s just…

Michelle: It’s sweet, it’s so sweet, it’s so sweet. And I used to drink that. We all… We used to…

Scott: And look at you now.

Michelle: Look at me now.

Scott: Now, you’re a wine snob.

Michelle: And now we’re drinking vodka.

Scott: But getting back to the vodka thing. And here’s another… I have a couple of pet peeves about vodka. Ruby Red is not grapefruit juice.

Michelle: What is it?

Scott: It’s a blend of some other crap, and it probably has grape juice and other stuff in there. The Ruby Red… You can tell the color, when I order my vodka soda with a splash grapefruit.

Michelle: Depending on how pink it comes out.

Scott: You can tell the color, and you can just tell it’s sweet. It’s corn syrupy or whatever it is. And I know this is probably a really bad sign, but I carry a little packet of… It’s a dehydrated grapefruit. It’s equal, each packet is equal to one grapefruit wedge.

Michelle: Oh, really?

Scott: Yes. It’s True Grapefruit. They make True Orange and True whatever it is.

Michelle: So you carry those with you?

Scott: I carry those with me, and they’re great on the plane, ’cause very often, on the plane…

Michelle: They’re not gonna have grapefruit.

Scott: And you can’t even get a lime squeeze. A lot of times, they say, “I’m sorry. We don’t have any limes today.” So I can discreetly pull out my little package of grapefruit, and I don’t wanna be real obvious about it, ’cause it seems like a real alky thing, but it vastly improves my drink.

Michelle: I would probably be judging you if I saw you do that. I would be judging you.

Scott: And again, judge away, judge away.

Michelle: But you’re sitting over there, happy as a lark with your grapefruit vodka.

Scott: I’ve got my grapefruit and not talking to anybody. I have a hat, because here’s a weird thing, and if… For those of you listening, order a vodka soda grapefruit, vodka soda with a splash of grapefruit. About half the time, I get cranberry, even though I say grapefruit, and I’ve said it 85 million times, so I now… I had a hat made, that says vodka, soda, grapefruit. Another bad sign.

Michelle: So when you go to the bar, you just point to the hat?

Scott: I just point to… Talk to the hat. And so, when somebody says, “Well, you said cranberry,” I’ll go, “Nay nay. Look at the hat.”

Michelle: Pray tell.

Scott: Right, right. So it’s kind of a…

Michelle: And I don’t know very many men who order cranberry either.

Scott: That’s gonna give you that pink-looking drink.

Michelle: Yeah, it’s definitely more of a girl, girl drink, cosmopolitan drink, but…

Scott: And I used to drink vodka grapefruit. I used to drink the Greyhounds, but…

Michelle: So what’s a greyhound?

Scott: Vodka and grapefruit.

Michelle: Minus the Club Soda.

Scott: Minus the Club Soda. And if you put a little salt on the rim, it’s a salty dog. But the reason I stopped doing that is just, you’d get the heartburn from all that grapefruit juice. And now, what you get, you get the fizzy club soda with just a little bit of grapefruit. I know. Y’all…

Michelle: Have you named this drink?

Scott: It’s The Sporting Chef vodka drink.

Michelle: What’s the El Jefe?

Scott: El Jefe is Jeff Perrot’s drink. That is a Tito’s, club soda, cranberry, squeeze of lime.

Michelle: So shit, he does order cranberry. Jeff, if you’re listening to this podcast… But he orders it with club soda.

Scott: In a dirty glass. That way, it seems a lot more manly.

Michelle: Oh my god. So he calls it the El Jefe.

Scott: El Jefe.

Michelle: We haven’t… We have to… We should name yours.

Scott: Well, and he wants the El Jefe to catch on, he wants everybody to start ordering the El Jefe.

Michelle: How do you get a drink to catch on?

Scott: I don’t know, just…

Michelle: Do we start an Instagram account, maybe?

Scott: Here’s what I want you all to do. Go the bar and order an El Jefe, and when they say, “I don’t know what an El Jefe is,” you tell them, it’s Tito’s…

Michelle: Very specific on the vodka.

Scott: Soda, cranberry, and squeeze a lime.

Michelle: We started this podcast, pooh-pooing the very specificity of vodka, and now, we’re coming around and saying everything is made with Tito’s.

Scott: Well, that’s Jeff Perrot’s drink. Mine is gonna have Vodka of the Gods or any kind of vodka in the… Anything with a horse in the label. So I’m just not particular about vodka.

Michelle: Do you feel the same way about the darker liquors, like whiskey, bourbon?

Scott: I’m not a dark liquor drinker.

Michelle: I’m not a dark liquor drinker. [laughter]

Scott: Now, I’ve tried to like dark liquor, and I might have over-served myself in college and never quite recovered, ’cause I used to drink Jack Daniel’s. And I’ve had people say, “You’ve gotta try this small batch bourbon, it’s so smooth and… ” It just seems so cool. I’m just picturing sitting by the fireplace with a little glass, couple cubes in there, little whiskey, and the dogs sitting by my feet and all that. And it’s one good way to drink less for me, because I’ll end up pouring it out about an hour later.

Michelle: Yeah, ’cause you’re not… Yeah. No, it’s the same way for me. I try to… We have whiskey cubes. Wayne and I aren’t necessarily whiskey drinkers, but we have whiskey cubes in our freezer, and someone gave us maybe a honey whiskey, like a Jack Daniel’s honey whiskey, which I do enjoy. And so, one night, I said to Wayne, “I’m gonna try these whiskey cubes,” and so I poured the Jack Daniel’s…

Scott: Honey.

Michelle: Honey whiskey. And he’s like, “What are you doing?” And I’m like, “I’m gonna do this. This is so cool. I’m so cool.” He’s like,” You’re not going to like that.” And of course, I’m sitting here thinking,” Who are you to tell me what I am or not going to like?”

Scott: He knows.

Michelle: He knows. I had a sip and made faces with my…

Scott: And so a whiskey cube, is that just one of those big ice cubes?

Michelle: It’s a stone that, it’s a stone that you put into the freezer so that your whiskey doesn’t get watered down by ice, so it keeps your whiskey cold.

Scott: I did not know that such a thing existed.

Michelle: It’s a thing. It’s a thing for whiskey and bourbon drinkers. Yeah.

Scott: But it doesn’t water it down…

Michelle: Because it’s a frozen stone, so it keeps it cold.

Scott: That seems a little gimmicky to me.

Michelle: Maybe it’s a little excessive, but…

Scott: Do you use your whiskey cube for anything else?

Michelle: No…

Scott: Okay, then, why did you buy it? Seemed like a good idea?

Michelle: Seemed like a good idea. [laughter] We have a lot of gimmicky things in our bar, I think… [laughter]

Scott: I think I remember that.

Michelle: Yeah, some you get as gifts, but…

Scott: You have that little ice machine. For folks that have a kind of inaccessible area or a place where your refrigerator is on another floor and you don’t have an ice machine… What’s the deal that you have? They’re pretty handy.

Michelle: It is, it’s made by Danby, D-A-N-B-Y, you just clean it with vinegar and water, run it through a couple of cycles, and then within a half an hour you have ice cubes. As long as you keep on putting water in it, it goes up pretty well for a party.

Scott: But you have to keep putting water in it… Right?

Michelle: Yeah, I don’t have it hooked up to anything, but… Yeah, so I just put it out of the way when I’m not partying. And then when I’m having my party, I bring it out.

Scott: Now, let me ask you this. You travel a fair amount. Do you have any eating on the road type of rules?

Michelle: When I’m driving, I will typically always eat at Subway. Always. Just because I know my digestive system can handle it. Which is something funny, as you get older, that is something to very much consider. [laughter]

Scott: Boy, don’t I know it.

Michelle: And then it’s quick and easy, except when someone’s in line in front of you and ordering for the entire office, which is… I’ve had to walk away before. But, yeah. And then when I’m flying or in a different… I try and do everything in moderation, I guess. I probably eat a lot more calories when I’m on the road than I normally do. It’s very difficult, I think, not to do that. Unless you completely skip a meal. So I don’t know, what do you do?

Scott: Normally, I’m always grocery shopping ’cause I’m cooking for some event or some people, so I normally get food at grocery stores, bring it back to the house.

Michelle: So you have a home usually that you’re in.

Scott: I try and rent houses when I’m out and about because I’ve got to cook. I don’t do fast food.

Michelle: Do you consider Subway fast food?

Scott: No, actually, I ate at Subway eight times on a shoot in Oklahoma.


Scott: We were in a little town in Oklahoma and…

Michelle: All they had was a Subway…

Scott: Well, no, that was the best choice health-wise, because it was a lot of gravy, fried, big drops of food, and most of the people that I would see were larger…

Michelle: Wayne and I do not eat fast food. Subway is just about as fast as the food is. We just don’t eat…

Scott: Right.

Michelle: I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a burger at McDonald’s, a Burger King or Arby’s or…

Scott: How about an Impossible Burger? Have you had the Burger King burger?

Michelle: No, I have some values that I hold dear when it comes to the “impossible foods”. So I won’t eat it.

Scott: Well, because you’re… You come from farming stock.

Michelle: I come from a farming family. And the livelihood of my family depends on people eating meat, so…

Scott: I noticed that Burger King as of recently, they lowered the price. They’re doing the two for six deal with that Impossible Burger.

Michelle: Oh, are they? I did not see that.

Scott: I think it’s slowed down. I think the whole craze is…

Michelle: And I’ll be honest with you, my dad actually said this, that if everyone in the world was actually a carnivore, was actually meat eater, that there are not enough animals in this world to feed everyone, to be honest with you. So we do need people to have alternative choices, which is fine. Just don’t sit here and tell me that the cow’s producing methane gas is any different than the methane gas that your little wine regions are producing when they crush grapes. I’d like to see a study, a real study, not just some made-up bullshit that UC-Davis is coming out with or whatever, versus what the farmers are producing.

Scott: I produce a fair amount of methane.


Scott: Depending on…

Michelle: But you know what I mean? That’s the trouble with all these stats that people come out with. Who did the study and who, most importantly, is funding the study? And you can skew it to say anything that you want.

Scott: And there’s usually an agenda in there somewhere.

Michelle: And the methane gas agenda from cows was usually by PETA because they wanna kill all animals.

Scott: I hate PETA, so that works. What I found, getting back to the Impossible Burgers, it tasted like a burger to me. When you take it out of the patty and just eat it plain, it’s got a little edge to it, and I…

Michelle: When you say edge, what do you…

Scott: That’s not quite beef-like.

Michelle: Okay, well, you’re never gonna be able to replicate… But if you were a vegetarian, would you feel like, oh, this satisfied my beef craving?

Scott: I don’t know, I can’t relate to the vegetarian. I mean, I love fresh vegetables, homegrown tomatoes is one of my top three favorite foods.

Michelle: And oysters.

Scott: And oysters, and raw fish. My favorite foods aren’t cooked. So, they’re either good or they’re not.

Michelle: And you’re not a vegetarian. So that’s interesting.

Scott: I have to cook stuff for people all the time, so every now and then, I’d just like to eat… Really, oysters all day long. My favorite food. Some day, what we’re gonna do on this podcast is Michelle is going to eat an oyster and not puke. The not puke part might be difficult.

Michelle: I don’t know.


Scott: And you’ve said since you grew up in South Dakota, that you eat South Dakota food, but you also travel a lot. So when you go to Hawaii, do you order a well-done steak and a baked potato or do you eat what they eat in Hawaii?

Michelle: We eat a lot of fish. Yeah.

Scott: Poke? Do you go to the poke places?

Michelle: Ono, Spam.

Scott: But if you to Food Town on Maui, for 10 bucks a pound, you can get… They have seven different varieties of poke. Or poke…

Michelle: Poke.

Scott: Is the correct pronunciation.

Michelle: Yeah. There’s a franchise actually opened up in Woodbury called ‘Aloha Poke’.

Scott: We’ve got a couple up here…

Michelle: And it’s really good…

Scott: Right? Right, surprisingly.

Michelle: Yeah, well, the problem is that Wayne and I will go there, we’ll get two medium bowls and we usually get the ahi tuna, so that’s an upgrade and then there’s that and other thing’s upgrade, so it’s $20 for these two medium bowls by the time you walk out of there.

Scott: Good fish isn’t cheap. And where you’re going to see… A lot of the tuna that I see in those poke places, you notice it’s a little on the pink side as opposed to the magenta dark color, that’s usually gassed.

Michelle: What’s that mean?

Scott: It means that they add gas…

Michelle: To preserve it?

Scott: To give it the color, and a lot of that… Always look at the country of origin. When you go to the grocery store and you see all the fish and the little display stuff… And as a general rule, I don’t buy fish in a grocery store.

Michelle: Where do you buy your fish then?

Scott: I get it wholesale from…

Michelle: Well, you’re special. Okay. So for us that aren’t special and we want to buy fish.

Scott: Look at country of origin.

Michelle: Okay.

Scott: So if a lot of that tuna of that you see that’s kind of pinkish looking is out of Tahiti and it’s got smoke flavoring added, and so you can take an old funky looking discolored tuna and add that smoke to it, and it’s going to give it that pinkish color.

Michelle: Interesting.

Scott: And again, if you’re tuna smells bad or tastes bad…

Michelle: Don’t eat it?

Scott: Don’t eat it.

Michelle: So where should you buy your fish from?

Scott: You know, I like to go to Asian markets and buy whole fish, they tend to be a bit more particular about it. Look at the eyes, look at the gills.

Michelle: But then you got to fillet it.

Scott: You’ve gotta fillet it, which is a really good skill to know anyway.

Michelle: I’m just a housewife.

Scott: Housewives can…


Scott: Fillet fish too. Housewives, doesn’t mean you can’t fillet a fish just ’cause you’re a housewife. You start at the head, make a little cut, work your knife back, it’s really pretty simple, and…

Michelle: It would be a good skill to learn.

Scott: And it’s a good skill to learn, right.

Michelle: Usually when I catch fish, I hand it to someone else to take it off the hook.


Michelle: I’m just being honest here that’s… I like fishing, I just don’t…

Scott: I would hand you a towel, then you hold the towel so you can hold the fish, because removing the hook is all part of the process unless you’re six.


Michelle: Well… Yeah, we’re just going to let that one…


Scott: So we talked about vodka, we talked about eating on the road, and I’m going to go back to my Vodka of the Gods. Just remember vodka, soda, grapefruit, squeeze a lime. And if you can get some fresh grapefruit, that’s even better.

Michelle: Right.

Scott: And your final words are?

Michelle: I’m not coming to your house without my own bottle of vodka, I guess.


Scott: You’ll just have to trust what’s in the bottle.


Michelle: I don’t trust you.


Michelle: Or just drink wine. Alright.

Scott: There you go.

Michelle: Alright, thanks everyone, see you next time.

Outro: Well, time sure flies when you’re loadin’ 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.

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