Cleaning, preparing and eating squirrel
My son, Jed went on his first successful squirrel hunting trip last fall. He was 8 years old and I want to instill in him the notion that we don’t waste what we harvest. Therefore, I showed Jed how to clean a squirrel.
Aftrewards, Jed and I thought it might be a good idea to show through a step-by-step series or pictures just how easy squirrel cleaning and preparing can be.
When my daddy, Ed Sr. taught me back in the late 1960s, I vividly recall Dad describing squirrel skinning as follows, “Ya got to take off his shirt first then take off his pants.” I don’t know exactly where my dad learned this technique but, I’ve heard it is quite well known with the old timer “Hill Folk back east.”
First, lay the squirrel on it’s back.
The first thing to do is make a cut at the base of the tail, between the tail and the rectum. It’s imperative that the cut goes through the two tendons just under the vertebrae that make up the tail bone. Continue the cut on each side in a V pattern about one-half inch around the hind quarters.
Then, firmly step on the tail up near the base and grasp the hind legs firmly and pull slowly but steadily “taking off the squirrel’s shirt.” Start the front legs out but don’t pull them out all the way just yet.
Once to this point, turn the squirrel around and step in the partially removed hide as close to the head as possible. There will be a V piece of hide on the stomach side of the body Grasp the V part of the “shirt” and as you firmly stand on the other part of the skin near the head, firmly pull the rest of the skin down to the hind just beyond the last joint in the legs. Now you can cut and remove the feet and skin at the joint.
Next, remove the rest of the skin so that only the carcass remains.
If it weren’t for the loins, the internal organs of the squirrel wouldn’t need to be removed. However, for it’s size, a squirrel has substantial loins and they are worth removing from the carcass. Split the carcass similarly to how you would a deer.
At this point the process is just a matter of getting as much meat off the carcass as possible. I personally do not like frying squirrel on the bone so I de-bone every piece of meat before I continue. Here’s what I have when I’m done with the cutting up part.
After a quick rinse in cold water, the meat can be prepared numerous ways. My momma likes to pressure cook squirrel. I simply chunk it into bit size morsels and bread with my favorite seasoning.
Then, for me, the breaded chunks go into the fry pan until they are a dark, golden brown!
Once out of the pan…a little Sweet Baby Ray’s and it’s down the hatch!