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14 Things Only Real Alaskans Love to Eat and Drink

Alaska Food + Drink
by Jennifer Gracey Dec 27, 2016

1. Wild game

Fiercely independent, we love being able to say, “I bagged that myself.” Moose, deer, reindeer/caribou, spruce hen, etc. There is no shortage of wild game in our freezers come winter. Served up as steaks, roasts, sausages and minced meat we’ve all got favorite recipes to match.

2. Reindeer dogs

The reindeer dog is Alaska’s version of NYC’s hot dog. There are even a few places in the state with proper street-side stands that offer up the goods with all the fixings.

3. Salmon

Alaskans never stop talking about salmon. With so many of us living, sleeping, and breathing salmon, it makes perfect sense that this is one of our top all-around Alaskan foods. We steam it, bake it, grill it, smoke it, dry it, make chowders, dips, and sandwich spread out of it. It’s one of the most well-utilized fish on our collective Alaskan menu and we wouldn’t know what to do without it.

4. Halibut

Halibut is our other show-stopping Alaskan love affair fish. It’s light, flaky, and has a mild, but distinct flavor. Deep-fried golden-beer-battered halibut nuggets with vinegar, oil, and homemade tartar sauce anyone? Or perhaps a grilled halibut taco with freshly-squeezed lime and cilantro sauce? Our monster flat fish is definitely the bomb when it comes to being served up in a dish.

5. Jerky

If it can be turned into jerky, trust us when we say, it will be. We love jerky. We particularly love making our own jerky. Beef jerky, teriyaki jerky, salmon jerky, moose jerky… Jerky is the perfect Alaskan snack food and it lasts forever. What more could a people living in the frozen North want than meat like that?

6. Shellfish

Clams, oysters, scallops, shrimp… Alaskans’ backyard turn out some of the best seafood in the world.

7. Crab

While king crab is the most famous and popular of all Alaskan crustaceans, it’s not the only one we’ve got. There are ten different species of Alaskan crab and seven of those are caught and harvested commercially. Three well-known ones from that group are the Dungeness, Tanner, and snow crab — all of which are legitimately delicious alternatives.

8. Berries

While at first glance, it may not seem like the best place for berry picking, the truth is contrary. We’ve got blue berries, salmon berries, crow berries, watermelon berries, Russian berries, raspberries, ligonberries (low-bush cranberries), and more. We eat them raw, make them into jams and jellies, serve them up in pies, in smoothies and as toppings for ice cream or short cakes. Alaska berries are the best and picking them yourself in the great outdoors ups their value to ‘priceless.’

9. Ice cream

No-one has a good explanation for this, but lists consistently rank Alaska as the top state in the union for per-capita consumption of this creamy frozen goodness. What can we say? We love ice cream and couldn’t care less what the temperature says outside.

10. Eskimo ice cream

Akutaq or eskimo ice cream is an indigenous Alaskan dish. Considered an old school survival food in the Alaskan native community and an exotic dessert dish by everyone else, its ingredients are simple and basic. Traditionally made from whipped animal fat, fish, berries, tundra greens and occasionally snow; more modern versions are known to include sugar, milk, and Crisco.

11. Jitter juice

With no shortage of caffeine infusing outlets, choosing a favorite isn’t as important as having unlimited access to ample supply. Something about the climate inclines us to an inexplicable love affair with the humble cuppa joe. Taking things a step further — we’ve got a peculiar affinity for any place with a drive through window.

12. Craft beer

We have a thing for craft-made anything, beers included. We particularly enjoy craft breweries with on-site restaurants. In fact, most cities and towns of decent size has at least one brew house. Perhaps it has something to do with our strong sense of community — what better way to connect with fellow Alaskans than gathered around a table full of uniquely Alaskan-flavored feast worthy fare?

13. Pilot bread

The ultimate Alaskan survival food, no rural pantry, general store, or hunting party is considered fully stocked without Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. Used for teething babies, as an open-faced sandwich substitute, and so much more, pilot bread is about as iconic an Alaskan food stuff as they come. Pair it with some homemade jerky and you’re ready for the long haul in terms of indestructible edibles. In fact, it’s so important in rural Alaska that in 2011 Interbake Foods — manufacturer of pilot bread — sponsored an annual recipe contest in partnership with the Native Youth Olympics. They received over 200 submissions their first year.

14. Canned bacon

Another truly Alaskan edible with a near interminable shelf life is canned bacon. Extremely hard to come by these days, many Alaskans grew up with iconic yellow cans of bacon occupying permanent shelf space in the kitchen. It was the perfect food in that bears and other creatures couldn’t smell it until someone popped the top. As an Alaskan kid, getting to open the can of bacon was equal to winning the jackpot. These days, the canned bacon pickings are slim, far, and few between. If you do happen to come across one, snatch it up, cook it in a cast iron pan over a camp fire and you’ll see why we love the stuff so much. It’s way better than any vacuum sealed plastic option on the market these days by far.

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