Slow Cooked Raccoon and Gravy

My Vortek tuned Gamo Shadow 1000 puts out 16 fpe at the muzzle and is quite a tack driver. I took a nice raccoon at 43 yards and like nearly everything I kill, had to try eating it. Slow cooking in a crock pot is a sure fire way to cook almost any kind of meat, and coon was no exception.

I cooked up the front legs and shoulders as well as the back legs. I was careful to remove the scent glands in the armpits as well as in the back legs. The meat was soaked in salt water overnight to draw out excess blood. Now that the meat was chilled, it was easy to remove the excess fat. A couple inches of beef stock was added to the crock pot, then the coon meat followed. A few good shakes of cajun seasoning was added for extra kick. After several hours at a low temperature it looked really good:

Slow cooked raccoon
Slow cooked raccoon

When the meat begins to draw away from the end of the bones, you know the meat is going to be melt in your mouth tender. I then removed much of the broth in preparation for gravy making:

This is going to turn into an amazing gravy
This is going to turn into an amazing gravy

The cooking juices go into a pan where they are brought to a boil. As they are heating up, I prepared a corn starch slurry by mixing corn starch to cold water. This is what makes the gravy thick. Stir it into the boiling broth, then reduce the temperature. It’ll thicken and look like this:

Homemade gravy
Homemade gravy

So how does slow cooked raccoon taste? A lot like the best beef roast you ever tried. The texture of the meat is better than beef or venison. I’d say raccoon is my favorite wild meat that I’ve tried so far.

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Cajun Squirrel and Rice

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare squirrel for the table (I probably say that about every recipe I share). You’ll need a crock pot, some squirrels, beef stock, cajun seasoning, and a dirty rice mix.

I remove the rib cages and use the rest of the squirrel for this recipe. Set the rib cages aside for making soups. Season the meat well with your favorite cajun seasoning. I favor the Big Lots one myself. Place the meat into the crock pot and cover halfway with beef stock. Set the heat on high and allow it to cook until it falls off the bone when poked with a fork.

Fall off the bone goodness!
Fall off the bone goodness!

At this point, follow the directions on your dirty rice mix. I use this one, it only takes a few minutes to prepare:

Cheap, fast to make and full of flavor!
Cheap, fast to make and full of flavor!

While the rice is cooking, remove the meat from the broth. You can debone and add it to the rice, or serve whole on the side. I like to drizzle the spicy broth over the top of the rice and squirrel before serving for extra flavor and kick. Enjoy!

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Pulled Whistlepig

Groundhogs are common airgun quarry. They are a pest species, and as such, many are shot and left for the coyotes. It’s a real shame, because if you prepare them right, they are darn tasty!

Tender meat, easily mistaken for beef!
Tender meat, easily mistaken for beef!

Begin by cleanly harvesting with a headshot. This will keep the meat from being tainted and having that gamey taste everyone talks about. Remove the feet, skin it out, remove the head and entrails, and rinse well. Trim away excess fat, and remove all the scent glands found near the back legs and armpits.

Soak the carcass in salt water overnight. Discard water. Pat dry. The meat is ready to cook, or for even better flavor, allow it to age a couple days more in the fridge between 32*F and 38*F.

Preheat your oven to 200*F. Add some beef stock to a dutch oven. Better than Broth or beef bullion cubes and water can be substituted. Dry red wine can be added for additional flavor. I add enough liquid to cover the meat. Place the lid on the dutch oven and put in the oven. You’ll want to start this early in the morning, I recommend at least 8 hours at 200*.

After at least 8 hours, remove the dutch oven and pour most of the liquid out. This can be saved to make gravy. I leave about a quarter to half inch of liquid in. Turn the oven up to 250*F, throw on your favorite seasonings, replace the lid, and throw it back in for another hour or two, or until the meat readily falls from the bone.

Debone the meat, serve with gravy, BBQ sauce, or steak sauce. Add your favorite side dishes. Your stomach will growl the next time you see one of those pesky whistlepigs!

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