Squirrel for Dinner?

Gray squirrel from French Creek

Gray squirrel from French Creek

While I don’t have quite the recipes that The Mad Fermentationist does, I would still like to contribute this to the internet recipe dump. I bagged two fairly good sized squirrels at French Creek State Park, with the handy dandy Baikal shotgun (Remington Spartan sold stateside). The subset of huntable land in that area is SGL43. The 12ga #6s in “heavy field load” from Remington have restored my faith in the shotgun, last year I had #6s in some crap no-name shell and had several rabbits live to see this hunting season. While not quite as fun as the 17HMR, the shotgun is a perfectly serviceable weapon in close woods. The Heavy Field Load version of the shell shoots these shiny, almost silver pellets.

To prepare a squirrel you have to fill a pot with salted water. Salt it enough the meat drops to the bottom of the pot easily. Put the skinned and gutted squirrels in the pot and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The osmotic pressure brings out the blood and other nastiness that makes meat taste “gamey”. The next day quarter the squirrels as best as possible. Prepare a fresh pot of water, wash off the quartered squirrels and place them in the fresh pot. Bring this to a boil to lightly cook the squirrel. Remove squirrel and discard water and scum.

Now, if you want to use the squirrel in a pot pie (traditional cooking), you can easily debone them at this point. Use the squirrel just like chicken. I prefer pot pie topped with bisquick and my wife used some really chunky soup mix which worked exceptionally well.

If you want to eat the squirrel like wings, this works well too. I reserved some bacon fat to cook with and me and Travis fried up a squirrel in that. The result is chewier than chicken but they’re delicious. They definitely have their own taste, and the bacon adds a good smoky flavor to it. The Bounty of the Earth, which I’ve wanted another copy of since forever, has a recipe in there for curried squirrel, we’ll try that next.

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