As a hard-working chef with a four-year-old daughter, Jesse Griffiths has yet to truly live it up on Father’s Day, but he has ideas for the holidays to come. “They’ll probably involve pancakes, and fishing,” he says. “It’ll be fun.” In the meantime, the chef at Dai Due, in Austin, Texas, has volunteered to help the rest of us make our plans. Griffiths is a serious outdoorsman who serves venison ceviche and slow-cooked wild boar at his restaurant, and teaches classes in hunting and fishing on the side. He drew upon his experiences both in hunt camp and the kitchen to brainstorm gifts for your own outdoorsy, cast-iron-loving dad. He has field-tested everything on the list below, from a potentially lifesaving pair of boots to a couple of cookbooks that might inspire your old man to fire up the grill.
Chippewa snake boots, $269.95-359.95
They’re pricey, but the first time I wore them, I stepped on a snake. We both survived.
A vintage cast-iron Dutch oven, prices vary
Find a good one with a nice patina on eBay or at an antique store. Use it to cook in the coals, to roast in the oven, or to fry on the stovetop. At the restaurant, we do all of our deep-frying in them, and we love them because they hold heat so beautifully, without any hot spots.
Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal, $188.99
The craftsmen responsible for this triple-distilled Oaxacan mezcal add fruit, nuts, and rice to the spirit the third time around, and hang a chicken breast—or pechuga—over the top. During the distillation process, the vapors filter through the breast. Mezcaleros believe that the addition of poultry to the still balances and purifies the spirit. Which means that as long as you drink plenty of water, you won’t get a hangover.
Faulks Original Bamboo Duck Call, $15.95
Made from Louisiana bamboo, it’s an austere and effective call in these days of overcomplicated hunting gadgets. You can go and drop $80 on an acrylic call, or get this thing a family has been making out of a weed for sixty years.
Michael Hemmer fillet knife, $90-125
These are beautiful, hand-forged knives from northern California. They aren’t cheap, but around $125 is still a great price for a handmade knife.
Proangler 8-foot, cork-handled crappie rod, $48
A beautiful rod that can handle anything in fresh water, from crappie, sunfish, and stream bass to trout and catfish. Get the cork handle, and enjoy the excellent customer service.
Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way or Mallman on Fire, by Francis Mallman, $25.94 and 27.36
These inspiring books by Francis Mallman make you want to start fires and cook meat.
Weber rotisserie attachment, $159.99
Put it on the Weber kettle grill or prop it on bricks over a fire pit. Either way, you have an electric rotisserie for a couple of chickens, a pork loin, or a suckling pig.