Tips For Great Tasting Squirrel Meat
By Cara Hunt
Heading out into the woods to do a little squirrel hunting can be a fun and exciting experience, especially when you bag a bunch of bushy tails. But once you’ve got your catch, cleaned it up, stowed it in a cooler and taken it on the long ride home, what do you do with it? If you don’t know how to cook squirrel meat or what to expect when you bite into it for the first time, chances are that your catch is going to remain in the bottom of the deep freezer for a decade or two until you throw the freezer burned bodies into the trash, at long last.
Never fear squirrel hunting newbies! There are plenty of ways to make squirrel meat taste excellent and give you additional reasons to head out into the woods for a round of squirrel hunting many times throughout the season.
Creating a great tasting squirrel meat dinner begins with the cleaning and storage process that leads up to cooking. A complete cleaning with full removal of the entrails of your kills should be completed in the field. While you are gutting your bushy tails you should be certain to remove all of the entrails but be careful not to squeeze too hard on any of them, especially the bile duct. Letting bile loose into the squirrel meat will not only ruin the taste, but will also make it inedible and possibly unsafe, even after cooking. Once you have cleaned your bushy tails, the next step is to completely rinse them with cool water.
A white vinegar rinse or soaking the squirrel meat in cool white vinegar will help to reduce the gaminess of the meat, which can be especially important depending on what the squirrels in your area eat. This is also incredibly important if you’re unable to cook your kill right away. If soaking your bushy tails in vinegar isn’t your idea of creating a flavorful meal, you can also soak your meat in buttermilk overnight. Whether you choose vinegar or buttermilk you can still cook your squirrel meat however you want, whether that’s in a frying pan, baked in the oven or turned on a spit over the grill. For those hunters who like the gamey taste of a fresh kill, soaking in a light marinade overnight or for a few hours will still give your meat a nice flavor but won’t take away that gamey, chewy quality that is natural to squirrel meat.
The general rule of thumb for squirrel meat is that it always tastes best if you cook it right away. While two or three days won’t make a tremendous difference in the taste or quality of your squirrel meat, the fresher the meat is, the better it will taste.
When you’re out hunting you should also consider the age and size of the squirrel. The younger and smaller the squirrels are that you hunt, the more tender and tasty the meat will be. Depending on whether you shoot young squirrels or old ones will change how you spice your meat and how you cook it, though seasoning salt and black pepper paired with an hour on the grill will make both young and old squirrel taste just right. If you elect to grill, your meat will be chewier than if you choose an different cooking method.
What Is Your Favorite Way To Cook Squirrel Meat? Leave a comment:
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