A Squirrel Cuisine

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

squirrels in the woods render them prime for eating, but when I get home, ready for a shower and rest, I have already completed most of the game-cleaning chores. All that is left is rinsing the squirrels and putting them in a bowl of water to soak in the refrigerator.

Clean up the meat

More squirrels than not are placed on the dinner table with hair clinging to the meat, which is unappetizing to say the least. Skinning squirrels is difficult, regardless of how you go about it, and hair is easily transferred to the meat. My skinning method, however, handles the problem.

To skin a squirrel, first immerse the animal in a bucket of water. Slosh it around a few times to ensure that the water soaks all the way to the squirrel's skin. This treatment will cause the hair to hold together and reduces the chance of hair contacting the meat while you skin the squirrel.

With this done, make a slit along the hide beneath and at the base of the tail. Cut through the tail, but leave it attached to the back skin. Cut an inch or so further up the back and extend the cut along the squirrel's flanks. With these cuts made, step on the tail and pull on the hindlegs. This will strip the back and belly skin down to the forelegs.

Pull the skin over the forelegs and hindlegs, then cut off the head and feet with a knife. During this process, frequently dip your hands and knife in the bucket of water to rinse off any squirrel hair that could cling to the meat. This method greatly reduces the number of hairs that stick to a squirrel's carcass.

To remove any hair that still adheres to the meat, place the carcass under slowly running water and pick the hair off by hand. Though tedious, this work is necessary if you wish to turn a squirrel into fine eating.

Younger is better

Any squirrel over a year old will probably be tough. A life of jumping around in trees makes them so. But there are recipes designed to make the toughest squirrel tender. While cleaning squirrels, separate the older ones from the young by how easy they skin. The skin of young squirrels pulls far easier than that of older squirrels. With a knife, cut two slashes across the back of the

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