It’s no secret I’m a Patriots fan living in Redskins country. But I’ve always had a soft spot for John Riggins (despite the fact he played a few seasons with the Jets….). I mean this guy was one hell of a running back but his personality off the field makes me think it would be fun to have a few beers together and see where the conversation would go. I lived in Carlisle, PA, when the Redskins held their training camps at Dickinson College and even as a kid got a kick out of his worn pickup parked among the luxury cars of his team mates.
Recently I was discussing Grate Bites and possible story ideas with a colleague and he mentioned John Riggins’ TV show Riggo on the Range, which had appeared initially on the Sportsman Channel around 2012, then on Comcast SportsNet beginning some time in 2013, I believe. Unfortunately the show ended months ago. However Riggins Tweeted on September 30, 2014, that it would be carried by Destination America on Thursdays at 10:30 am and Saturdays at 9:30 am. As of today there is no content on their website’s schedule of programs, other than a teaser video. But I think it’s worthy of checking out video and outtakes of previous shows (links below), especially for those of you who like to grill wild game or are sports fans.
Riggins often centered the shows on his love of fishing, hunting and outdoor adventures—usually accompanied by former professional athletes and notable people—then creating a meal with his catch. He clearly enjoys cooking and is at home in any kitchen. Some examples of wild game caught and prepared: antelope, elk, venison, rainbow trout, walleye, and salmon.
A few episode highlights:
- Chef Coretta (from Eagle Pass Lodge in South Dakota) prepares coconut-breaded pheasant Riggins had caught earlier that day. She goes through steps in preparing the dish, along with Thai green curry risotto.
- The former Hog learns how to smoke a hog and make a barbecue sauce in Texas.
- Riggo is back at home in Kansas, then hunting in Wyoming, where he snags a deer. He then returns to DC where he and executive chef Matt Baker, of the historical Occidental Grill, create a gourmet venison meal.
- Many episodes are of Riggins in his well-equipped kitchen preparing a meal himself. One episode goes over the steps to brine, rub and smoke a turkey for dinner guests—which include former Redskins teammate Dexter Manley. Another has Riggo making an elk stir fry and includes his tips on the best way to cut the meat and prep veggies (his personality really comes out as he cooks).
It’s not all about hands-on cooking game:
- A YouTube outtake shows Riggo and former Hogs Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic and Donnie Warren popping a few brewskies at the beach discussing football memories.
- See his road trip to Bonnie Blue, a BBQ joint in Winchester, VA, where he gets tips on meat selection, rubs, and cooking techniques.
- Riggins visits former head coach Joe Gibbs at his NASCAR facility and drives the “Riggo-bago” on the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- Watch as he is honored in his hometown, at Centralia High School (Centralia, KS) Hall of Fame induction and the field dedication, now known as Riggins field.
Good times….providing more than a few moments of entertainment.
It’s pretty evident John Riggins is keeping busy. A Washington Post piece, published in February 2015, teased a potential new show concentrating on another one of his loves: beer. The pilot episode of “Brew Stories” is in the can and will be shopped around for a channel to pick it up. This latest series would focus on Riggo tasting some of the best craft beers across the country, often accompanied by a celebrity.
The Riggo on the Range website is not active anymore, unfortunately, because I wanted to see if he had more tips or recipes on there. If Destination America does broadcast (or even re-broadcast) the show, I will watch— In the meantime, I need to find out if the John Riggins pork sausages are still available locally (made by Kansas-based Made2Grill, and at one time were served at Hard Times in the Washington, DC region).
To see outtakes and some footage of Riggo on the Range, see the links below: