Squirrels can be a tasty source of protein, and they can be prepared with vegetables or with grains. They can be grilled, baked, fried, or stewed, and in this article, we will go over how to grill squirrel for dinner.
How to Prepare a Squirrel
You will probably be starting from scratch, so we will go over the proper way to dress your squirrel after it has been trapped or shot. The first thing you’ll be doing is to soak your squirrel in salt water overnight in the refrigerator. This will help to clean and also to tenderize the meat. You will then need to remove the skin from off of your squirrel. The hide is typically tough, and you’ll need to have some kitchen shears, a small, well-sharpened knife, a tray, and a trash can nearby. You’ll want to begin by taking your shears and cutting off the feet and the tail first. Then you’ll need to remove the head. It has been advised that people refrain from eating the brains, even though they are often considered to be a delicacy among some people in Appalachia.
Your shears should have a notch on the upper part of the blade just below the handle that is referred to as a bone cutting notch. You can place the squirrel’s head there in that groove to easily cut it and to remove it from the body. When that has been done, you’re ready to remove the skin. This can be done by using one hand to grab the skin that hangs loosely about the center of the back. Take your other hand and make a two-inch cut that will be perpendicular to the squirrel’s spine.
Take your fingers and work the skin loose from the meat in every direction. When you’ve finished, pull as hard as you can, and you will find that the majority of the skin will come right off. You may have to use your fingers or your knife to carefully pry any skin off that is still sticking to the body of the animal. Your next step will be to gut the innards. If the squirrel is male, you will need to remove the penis and the testicles first. Afterward, grab the stomach with two fingers by the squirrel’s middle, and cut a small slit perpendicularly in order to open up the guts.
You will then want to open the slit with two fingers, and run your knife, with the blade facing up and away from the guts, from the lowest part up to the neck. This method will help you to avoid accidentally slicing open any of the squirrel’s viscera. With your knife, you can then open up the rest of the body cavity by splitting the pelvic bone. Once you’ve done this, you can easily remove the entrails with your fingers. The easiest way to do this is by starting at the neck and pulling the entire membrane that encapsulates the guts in one sweeping motion.
You should inspect the liver to make sure that the squirrel was healthy and is, therefore, safe to eat. The liver should be a dark, vibrant red. Anything else — especially spotted or off-colored livers — indicate a sickly animal that should be discarded right away. The liver, kidneys, and heart can be kept and prepared with the rest of the meat. Next, you’ll want to look for a gland shaped like a triangle on the back of each leg where the two large muscles come together. You can cut these with your knife before digging them out with your fingers. You’ll find two more of these behind the elbows, with another one hiding in each armpit area. These are their scent glands, and these can leave a strong smell and a bad taste if you leave them in.
Next, you’ll want to thoroughly wash the meat. If you did pierce the scent glands or the entrails in the dressing process, you can always just wash the mess away. You’ll then want to remove the legs first, before cutting them into two pieces at the joint. Take your shears and snip off the ribs, the neck, and the hips. You’ll also want to cut away the flap of flesh over the torso. All of these removed pieces can be used for making stock, and you now are left with the meat for grilling out.
Squirrel has a taste that is close that of a rabbit, and, like many other types of meat, it has been compared to chicken but with a gamier flavor. To cook, set up your charcoal grill to a low setting. Great Grillin has many different grills available, and you can find more about their products here. Drain the meat, and add salt and pepper to it. Cook the meat over the grill, and turn it over from time to time. Do this for about an hour until the internal temperature reaches 145º, and your squirrel meat will be done.
You can also fry the squirrel in olive oil after dipping it in flour, eggs, and seasoning, cooking it on each side for 10 to 12 minutes. You can make stew by adding salt and pepper to taste, adding 1 bag baby carrots, 1 can corn, two cans stewed tomatoes, 3 potatoes, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 onion, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and by boiling from 90 to 120 minutes.