Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Jerk" Squirrel

Grilling squirrel isn't as tricky as most people think. If done incorrectly, it can dry out very easily, but the secret to grilling perfect squirrel is no secret at all. As with any lean, "tougher" meat, and squirrels would fall into this category, the trick is to remove as much silver skin as you can without sacrificing too much meat. Silver skin tightens up and becomes chewy when exposed to heat, and will make the rest of your squirrel meat tough. Of course you can't get it all, but get as much as you can-- that white, cloudy or clear-looking film that covers the pink meat underneath. The second rule is to marinate the squirrel for a few hours or overnight in something that has an acid, such as vinegar or citrus. The marinade will infuse into the meat to help keep it moist while on the grill, while the acid will help to tenderize and break down the meat. We chose a Jamaican "Jerk" marinade because it's one of our favorites for the grill. Finally, grill squirrel directly over hot coals just until cooked through and no longer. 

Don't expect it to be as tender as farm-raised chicken. It's a wild animal that spends most of its time running around, and if you know squirrels, you'll know that they can't keep still for long. Squirrel meat has a pleasant "snap" to it. Respect it. 

We hunt fox squirrels in our neck of the woods, the biggest species of tree squirrels-- we believe. They are meaty and provide great table fare. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 4 1/2 hours
Cooking Time: 5 minutes each side
Ingredients:
- 2 squirrels
Marinade Ingredients
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of ground allspice
- 1 serrano chili pepper, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of fresh peeled ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt


1. Here's how you break down a squirrel. Cut legs off at the joints. Cut the body in half just below where the ribs end. Cut off or keep the belly flaps (there are probably better words to describe it) as you wish. 

Then with a very sharp, pointy knife-- like a filet knife-- carefully remove as much of the silver skin as you can to free up the muscles underneath for a more tender end product. Don't remove so much that you're throwing away good meat though. 

2. Next, combine marinade ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and spoon out some sauce into a small container, like 1/4 cup, for dipping later. Pour the rest of the marinade in a zip-lock bag and add the squirrel. Massage the bag to evenly distribute marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
3. Prepare grill. Cook squirrels directly over the coals, about 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Do not overcook-- this will dry out the meat and make it tough. Cooking time will depend on the size of your critters. 
4. Crack open some cold beer and chow down with your bare hands! Grilled squirrel makes good beer food. 

You will need napkins. 

2 comments:

  1. Very clear described post. And you know, you share a valuable post since it is very rare to found any recipe or post about squirrel. Many people will be benefited by your post.
    Thanks
    Superfood | Kevin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the nice comment, Kevin. We hope to add more squirrel recipes in the future.

      Delete

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