Fried Squirrel

Last year I did a bike tour with some friends through State College, Pennsylvania. Shaun Deller was along for the ride taking time off from his recycled bike hat business in Portland, Oregon. Shaun is a “wilderness living” expert and a wealth of information.

On a previous ride he taught me and another friend about edible plants. We picked some stinging nettles and steamed them over a camp fire. The cooking neutralizes the stinging part of the plant and they have a really nice mild flavor.

Stinging nettles

My fingers were tingling for hours after picking these

On this trip Shuan found a squirrel that had just been run over by a car. He knew it was fresh because it was still warm and we were riding in fairly cold weather (about 50F). So he grabbed it, threw it in a bag and when we got back he gave us all a lesson on cleaning and cooking a squirrel.

Fried Squirrel

Road Kill Squirrel

Fried Squirrel

Ingredients

Fresh squirrel
Egg
Seasoned flour
Oil for frying

Preparation

Butcher up the squirrel into chicken like pieces
Heat skillet with some oil that can handle high temperatures (ie. peanut oil)
Mix the egg in a bowl
Dredge the pieces in the egg then the flour
Throw it in the skillet and fry until done

I don’t remember how long it took, maybe 20 – 30 minutes depending on the heat of the oil. Everyone present had at least a taste. I think the general consensus was that it tasted like chicken.

*Disclaimer: Obviously this is a wild animal precautions should be taken. I don’t advocate eating squirrels, I just thought it was worth a try once and I had a professional along who knew what he was doing. He actually said that if you gut the squirrel wrong, the contents of the digestive system could contaminate the meat and make you very sick. So be smart, hire Shuan to butcher your squirrels for you.

Oh and if you really get into eating squirrels you can always try squirrel melts:

6 Responses

  1. That video tops it off nicely. “Put his tender little butt in there.” Awesome.

  2. I found some cheese that was flavored with nettle recently. I was curious, so I picked up a small wedge of it, and it was quite tasty indeed. Apparently they use nettle a lot in England to flavor soups and whatnot. I’m not sure if it’s the same variety as the stinging nettle you guys tried, but it’s interesting to know about.

  3. Some older copies of The Joy of Cooking have directions on how to dress game (including squirrel).

    I remember the first time I got into nettles, nasty! I’ve heard you can wash with baking soda to neutralize the acids.

  4. Looks like amazon has reproductions of the first edition of the Joy of Cooking from 1931. And you are right, it has squirrel, raccoon and opossum. Wikipedia makes it sound like those recipes are in their because the book was published during the great depression.

    That’s interesting about the nettles. I wish I had known that when I had picked them. It looks like there are a lot of folk remedies for nettles including, mud and saliva.

  5. Coalton, IL (near Nokomis) was famous for being almost stray cat free in the 1930s from people eating cats. Once they are butchered, hard to tell them apart from rabbits.

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