Author Topic: Squirrel Stew - Yum!  (Read 16417 times)

Offline ModernSurvival

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Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« on: September 20, 2008, 10:53:14 AM »
I have mentioned squirrel stew on the show a few times and have been asked in more then one email how to make it.  This is my own way to make squirrel stew and was an adaptation from my grandmaw's regular stew.  I did my best from memory and with some adaptation I came out with a heck of a good stew.
 
She died when I was 9 and I did not start hunting till 13, there were squirrels everywhere and we had tons in the freezer.  Mostly we roasted them in browing bags and that was good but I always wanted stew, none of the adults cared to bother so I just got out the stuff and this is what I came up with.  You can also do this with rabbit or hybrid your stew with half of each. 
 
Note you are not gonna see a lot of cups or this or teaspoons of that like most male self taught game cooks I just cook by eye and taste.
 
First I really recommend soaking your squirrels in salt water over night.  It helps tenderize them and if you used a shot gun really takes away the blood shot too.
 
Next I can't be bothered to bone squirrel meat.  What I do is quarter them, when stewed long the meat practically falls of the bone anyway.  I "quarter them"  cut off the front legs and shoulders as units, then the same with the back legs and then cut the back bone just behind the ribs.  You could do away with the ribs but I leave them on for flavor if nothing else.
 
I then roll the pieces in flour.  I use about 8 squirrels per pot but if I am making stew I am making a BIG pot.  4 would make a more typical pot of stew for many folks.
 
Then take your stew pot and add some oil, a chopped onion, some chopped garlic and 6-8 strips of bacon cut in large pieces.  (the bacon was my addition to add "fat" we used pork in deer sausage so this seemed to make sense).
 
Saute down the onions and garlic a bit then add the squirrel and brown it well.  Once that is done add about half water and half beef stock or broth to the pot and begin to simmer the squirrel.  I add a bottle of beer now too.  Add your seasonings here I use some organo, black pepper, salt and two bay leaves.  You can use what you like and expirment.  Simmer this way for about say 1.5-2 hours depending on how old the squirrels are. Old ones can be really tough.  By simmer I mean keep a lid on with some space to let off some steam and use just enough heat that you barely get some boil.  Keep an eye on things add water if you need to and don't let it burn.
 
Now add carrots and celery, I like big pieces about large enough to fill a spoon.  Simmer about an hour more.  Then add cubed potatoes about the same size as the carrots and celery and simmer about 30-45 minutes more.  Again add water if you get low. 
 
Now at the end mix up some flour and water in a glass, mix it real good so you don't have any lumps and then stir it into your stew to thicken it. 
 
I don't have any measurements again I just do it all to eye and to taste but heck if I could do it back at 13 anyone can.  I have had a ton of compliments on my stews (squirrel, beef, lamb or other wise) and this is basically what I do for all of them.
 
I have done some substitues that are really nice too.  Like I roast my deer bones in water to make stock and use that instead of beef stock, much richer and nicer.  I also have made this stew with deer meat and it is amazing though you can add your carrots and celery right away and don't have to cook the meat as long.
 
Hope you like it,

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2008, 03:44:00 PM »
How does roadkill taste?  Is it extra tender?  =-P

SwampMonster

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 08:39:05 PM »
Tell you what, will make it better, a good Roux, the trinity, and rice. I have been working on a batch of Pheasant and deer gumbo. so far im 5 hours into it and its still not quite right.

Swamp

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2008, 05:49:58 AM »
Mmmm...   Squirrel Étouffée...  Squirrel Gumbo...  Squirrel Jumbalaya...  (*drools*)

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2008, 02:59:54 PM »
How does roadkill taste?  Is it extra tender?  =-P

Ha, you laugh but I know people who don't discount fresh roadkill.  Yes, they're hillbillies & so am I, but if it's fresh what's the diff? I have never tried it yet but you never know...

Sorry for the derail, back on topic.

Sounds like a great recipe.  I mostly eat tree rats chicken fried, make some gravy with the drippings & serve with biscuits.  Hillbilly heaven ;D Srsly!


Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2008, 03:13:13 PM »
I have never passed a deer killed on the highway that looked intact without checking to see if it could be salvaged.  Most times they are old and bloated but if fresh the go in the back of the truck.  Now I just don't see though how a squirrel or any small critter that got the splat could be very useful though.  I know people do it but then people eat head cheese, scrapple and tripe too. (gross)

Offline Joe

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2008, 07:50:56 PM »
I think it should be noted that in a tough situation, roadkill could be a real Godsend.  I mean, no trouble hunting, no report from a gun, no cost, and no storage.  You just whip out the KABAR and cut off a chunk.  The family eats tonight!


Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 08:43:37 PM »
This is interesting. Thanks for the info! Now I just need to learn how to clean animals after killing them. No one ever taught me. I have seen instruction manuals, but I tend to learn by doing.

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2008, 08:24:13 AM »
ColdHaven, I bet you could find an instructional video on YouTube.  I found a great series about rabbit snaring/cleaning.  =-]

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2008, 12:38:05 AM »
When it comes to skinning game there is none easier than a rabbit.  In fact it is the animal that most all of us that hunt first learned to clean.  Ask around around and see if you can go on a rabbit hunt or just watch someone clean a rabbit.  If not find a local rabbit farm that sells to the public and ask them to show you how.  Then take the rabbit home and cook it.  Rabbit is wonderful meat that does not have a strong taste and can be prepared in as many ways as chicken.  One of my favorite meals is still rabbit slow cooked with onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic served in a gravy over rice.  Squirrel has a simular taste, they may require a longer cook time however since they can be a little tough.  Roughly the same cleaning technique that is used on the rabbit will work on squirrel.  The younger they are the easier they are to clean.  Racoon, once you are taught how to clean them, taste very good as well.  Racoons have scent glands that must be removed before cooking to keep them from tasting strong.  The great thing about Rabbit, Squirrel and Racoons is that they are everywhere, they are easy to clean, they repopulate rapidly and they are legal to shoot in most states for a very long season.  They can also be harvest with the most basic of firearms, a .22 rimfire or shotgun is all that is needed to legally harvest them.  Brand new reliable shotguns and .22 rifles can be had for under $100.  If you were to look around in newpapers, garage sales etc., you could find a .22 rifle and a shotgun for under $100 for both.  Just make sure that if you don't know guns that someone that does checks out the weapon for safe function and also that you get trained on its safe and effective use.  Anyone that has any survival plans at all should at a minimum own a .22 rifle and a shotgun.  The bullets and the shells are relativley inexpensive and when stored in a cool dry place will last for decades.  I have a lot of guns, but when I hunt small game I don't even use my big 12 guage pump or autoloader anymore.  I use my 20 guage single shot shotgun, a gun I paid $50 for used but was brand new.  The gun is so simple that I could teach almost anyone to safely and effectively use one in 5 minutes.  When I'm not using a shotgun for small game I carry my Ruger 10/22 rifle.  It is probably the best made .22 for it's price that you can find.  When I practice shooting I don't launch 100 rounds of .300 Win Mag in a days time.  I probably couldn't move my shoulder for a week after that and it would cost at least $100 to do so.  I use my .22 to practice good shooting technique and I just verify function and scope settings with my large rifles using just a few rounds.  I can fire 100 rounds of .22 for about $2.  The economics and torture on the body from recoil just makes too much sense.

The recipe posted by ModernSurvival is making me hungry.

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2008, 07:47:53 AM »
Thanks for the info. I will look up on youtube to see if there are any videos that could help. Its the kind of thing you wished your father had taught you, but he never did. I remember going on one hunt when I was younger than 10, but they only gave me a BB gun.  :-\ I don't remember how they cleaned them. I read some instructions on cleaning squirrels, and it seemed rather easy. I want to learn on smaller game first. No sense in wasting a deer. I am sure I could shoot and kill one, but what then?   :o I might ask around to see if anyone I know hunts. It is getting to be hunting season soon around here.

I will definitely use Jack's recipe when I finally learn how to clean them properly. Thanks again!

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2008, 08:38:24 AM »
There are three may ways people skin squirrels.

1.  Make a cut across the back and just cut the skin from the meat with a sharp knife.  Once you work enough of it off you can just stand on the tail and pull the back side out then cut the tail (inside the skin), then stand on the head and do the reverse, you cut through the neck inside the skin as well.  This is the fastest way and if you head shoot with a 22 etc the way to go.

The problem is many times with a shot gun enough damage is done that the guts open up or you pull the critter in two with that technique, which sucks.  So you use the other two ways.

2.  Make a noose and hang the animal by its head and neck, cut around the neck and start working it down just like a mini deer.

3.  With two nooses hang by the back feet, cut around the ankles and down the legs and again just like a mini deer.

Stick to sniping with a 22 and method number one is much easier and much faster and will get a LOT less hair on the meat. 

Here is a video using sort of method one above  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjSKmDCy-8U but it will show the problems when a round opens up the belly. (warning quite graphic)

Here is another method I will try on the next peach thief that bites it in my back yard.  He just doesn't show the last part (the back legs) but it should be easy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66AVwthXgMA

The thing about skinning a squirrel is everyone does it they way they were taught and there are many ways.




Offline Beetle

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2008, 09:33:40 AM »
I have never passed a deer killed on the highway that looked intact without checking to see if it could be salvaged.  Most times they are old and bloated but if fresh the go in the back of the truck.  Now I just don't see though how a squirrel or any small critter that got the splat could be very useful though.  I know people do it but then people eat head cheese, scrapple and tripe too. (gross)

Don't forget Haggis...

Offline ColdHaven

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2008, 01:06:01 PM »
Thanks for the links and the info. Any further questions I have I will ask in thread about hunting/cleaning/ect. Thank you!

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2008, 10:05:06 PM »
To skin a rabbit, I have found that if you just grab the skin on the back, and pull it in two directions, it will just peel off, no knives needed. Then slice into the abdomen, to get to the innards. Grab the back legs (could be front, it usually takes me a few rabbits to remember) and give a quick throw, holding onto the legs. The innards will mostly come out via inertia and gravity. Then you just have to do some finish work.
I usually can gut and skin them right after they are shot, and it only takes about a minute. Take a bag to put them in to keep them clean.
Rip

Offline Joe

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2008, 10:30:01 PM »
Definately an interesting method RIP.  I can't wait to try it out.

Offline archer

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2008, 09:55:41 AM »
I've watched videos of how to skin, but am looking for somewhere to get hands on experience. I saw a post on Craigslist selling rabbit meat so I will be contacting them and see if I can watch/learn from them. Thanks for the links Jack!

Offline wcff3431

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2008, 05:31:29 PM »
squirrel oh boy oh boy wheres it at i want a bowl oh by the way do you have any rabbit gravy.
oh yeah by that way fresh road kill is great fresh RK deer i will not pass it up.

Offline Beetle

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2008, 10:37:11 AM »
I throw the meat after you skin them in a ziploc bag with water and salt in it, helps draw the blood out.

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2008, 11:58:42 AM »
I throw the meat after you skin them in a ziploc bag with water and salt in it, helps draw the blood out.

Any particular type of salt? What is the mixture? I like the sound of this idea.

Offline Beetle

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2008, 09:04:19 PM »
We would sit around the fire at Elk camp cleaning Rabbits shot around camp (usually more Rabbits taken than Elk lol). We cleaned them almost exactly in the manner Riptombstone describes, they peel apart like artichoke's. Then we cut them up, place them in a gallon size zip lock bag half full of water and a couple spoonfuls of salt. We then let them sit overnight in the cooler soaking in the brine, the next day just BBQ them up. We didn't have any special salt just the iodized used to season food. Works good. Jack eluded to the salt trick in his post above, maybe he has something to add. Never did eat squirrels just plinked them, but I'm sure it's the same concept.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2008, 09:12:28 PM »
I throw the meat after you skin them in a ziploc bag with water and salt in it, helps draw the blood out.

Any particular type of salt? What is the mixture? I like the sound of this idea.

Pretty much just like Bailey said.  Doesn't really have to be a certain amount of salt because you're going to wash them off again really well anyway before cooking them.  Squirrel is done the same way, cut 'em up, soak 'em & cook 'em.  I like to soak all my small game over night, but that's really a personal choice I think.

Offline Joe

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2008, 04:37:02 PM »
I really like this idea of kind of hunting for small game to eat while out on larger hunting expeditions. 
It reminds me to brush up on my wild herbs.  Maybe a person could gather some herbs and throw them in with the rabbit/squirrel/brine solution.  Might reall help the taste as well.

Offline Beetle

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2008, 09:00:56 PM »
That's a great idea Joe along with some mushrooms...

Offline Joe

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2008, 09:04:30 PM »
Herbs, dude, not "herb".

 ;D

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2008, 01:33:37 PM »
I have never passed a deer killed on the highway that looked intact without checking to see if it could be salvaged.  Most times they are old and bloated but if fresh the go in the back of the truck.  Now I just don't see though how a squirrel or any small critter that got the splat could be very useful though.  I know people do it but then people eat head cheese, scrapple and tripe too. (gross)

Don't forget Haggis...
Haggis is great when done right and its fresh! I had some in Scotland a few months back, oh and some black puddin' which is like a bloodclot sausage. Delicious! Its really not so bad if you think about it, i mean, really think about it...Its mind over matter. That is, if you don't mind...it don't matter!
Bon Apetit!
-Ras

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2009, 06:34:07 AM »
Quote
How does roadkill taste?

Like food.  Especially when you are really, really hungry.  One of the best meals I ever had at the time.  This isn't the thread for it but maybe I should post a recipe for un-fresh roadkill.  So you can do it right.  Don't want to stray from yummy squirrels subject here though. 


I grew up hunting squirrels with my grandfather in East Texas. Crockett to be specific.  We generally wrapped them in foil and cooked with lemon butter on the grill in their own juices.  Grandma would make squirrel dumplings too.  The 12 acre strip of hardwoods is still there today, spared as a "streamside management zone" on what is now my parents' tree farm.  I get to teach my twin sons to hunt there in the same place that I learned.


D.

Offline CFG

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2009, 01:32:40 PM »
What's the news on fox squirrels now?  We don't even have grey squirrels where I live and I won't shoot the red ones b/c I heard they were endangered at one time and they are still relatively rare in AL.  But they are large and slow by comparison. 

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2009, 01:38:24 PM »
Fox squirrels are wonderful for eating.  Reds ain't in danger of anything!  The only downside is they are quite small.  I don't think anyone could tell the difference in the taste of any of the three.  We have mostly foxes around my house in DFW and almost 100% grays and reds up in Arkansas.

Offline Roswell

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Re: Squirrel Stew - Yum!
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2009, 09:08:12 PM »
any other tips on hunting squirrels?  that recipe looks tasty