Saturday, August 25, 2012

we butchered us some squirrels today!

Squirrel season started in the great state of Tennessee today, and Jaybird plucked off a couple quarter pounders (dressed weight). We gave thanks for the lives of these creatures before we started hacking away at their bits.

I will probably stick to a tried-and-true method for cooking these bad boys up, like stew or a crock pot recipe. I've read that there are ways to minimize the gaminess (like adding acid, such as citrus), but I would like to try squirrel encompassing its full flavor palate first before resorting to flavor-minimizing techniques.

We calculate the total cost per pound to be about $1.20 since we got a quarter pound per animal at approximately $.30 per shotgun shell. It took us about 25 minutes per animal to butcher, and this was our first time (thank you YouTube for your video educumacation), so I'm sure that can be cut way down. Once fall rolls around, Jay can start using the .22 (since the leaves will fall, thus making it easier to see prey), which should drop our ammunition price down to approximately $.01 per kill. Of course, this is not taking into account our time spent butchering, preserving, and/or cooking said meat, or all the fun times Jay spends stalking through the forest, but folks, that's half the fun!

I bought some carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion at the Devil(Wal)-Mart today (no, I haven't stopped shopping there yet, despite my outcry at this Pre-Packaged Insanity Mecca). I feel like a complete outsider when I'm behind someone in line, and someone is behind me in line, that both have their carts full of every pre-packaged food under the sun, with nothing in the way of fresh vegetables of fruit, or even meat or dairy products that are not pre-cooked, pre-breaded, pre-fried, or pre-microwavable for that matter. I know, what a snob I am! Here I am, declaring the virtues of "local food" when all we've done today is kill a few lil' squirrels. I know killing and preparing food like this is not everyone's cup of tea, but let me tell you, it's fucking awesome and you should really try it!

Non-bloody capture for the queasy among you. (Note: don't look
at the rest of them if you take issue with animal butchering.)

Honestly, I don't know how the dog gets in every picture. (He really
wanted to investigate the kills, but was Angel Dog and heeded
our commands to not swallow one whole.)

Prepping area. Courtesy of the Appalachian Fair 2012 flyer insert.

One down. One to go.

Happy butchering!

A little more than half a pound. Fresh bushytail headed for the freezer!


  1. Tree rats, but they taste good if you boil them then fry them up real nice. I remember spitting out shot when I was little.

    1. Most of the recipes I've seen call for dredging the meat in flour first, too. I think we lucked out with no shot in the harvested meat!

  2. awesome.. right on guys.. Good to see that David Farmer knife, i gave you all, getting put to good use.. Squirrel's are definitely good to eat..

    Mike and Jocelyn

    1. It worked like a champ, Mike -- super stoked on that knife. I tried using my Henckel's filet knife first, but it wasn't sharp enough to get through the fur.

  3. Replies
    1. When does the season open in VA? I liked this much better than butchering chickens because I didn't have to deal with any guts, lol. Although you're supposed to check the squirrel liver to make sure it isn't diseased, but these guys appeared quite healthy, so we skipped that step this time. We also didn't save the pelts, so we were somewhat wasteful with everything but the meat -- baby steps. :)

    2. I can't remember what Bradley said about squirrel season --- I think it's coming up. However, I did check with our state wildlife folks and they told me that we can trap rabbits on our own property at any time of the year. Might be true of squirrels too... (Not true of deer, though.)