Appalachian Wednesday–Squirrel Season

Opossum--Don't Eat
Surely you didn’t think I’d post a cute squirrel picture.

As the days get crisp and the nights downright chilly; as the leaves begin to turn and the sky seems bluer each day; as I begin to crave “fall” foods my thoughts turn to–fried squirrel. With gravy.

It’s been a looong time since I fried a squirrel. Not since high school. But man it was good. Dad or one of my brothers would get a couple of squirrels and skin them out. Typically, we figured one squirrel would feed two people (these are big, West Virginia squirrels). You cut them up much like a chicken, except with four legs and no breast. Okay, not that much like a chicken.

Then I’d parboil the meat to tenderize it. Once it was tender, I’d roll it in flour, salt, and pepper and fry it in oil. Bacon fat would be even better. Once the meat was fried I’d mix some flour into the drippings, whisk in some milk, season it, and serve the whole mess with mashed potatoes. And maybe some green beans. Oh, and biscuits.

Of course, it helped if you’d spent the summer working in the hay-field and planned to spend the winter chopping firewood and hauling hay to cattle through deep snow.

One of Appalachia’s stereotypes is that we eat a lot of opossum. I just want you to know I only ever knew one person who ate opossum and he quit after he discovered his hound dogs wouldn’t touch it. Squirrel on the other hand–now that’s good eating.

10 thoughts on “Appalachian Wednesday–Squirrel Season

  1. I haven’t eaten squirrel yet but my Grandma was a squirrel hunter and now I have her gun! My dog has killed 2 possums recently but she didn’t eat them, so apparently they’re not too tantalizing! So glad it’s finally fall, though the mountain leaves aren’t looking as spectacular this year.

  2. Mom

    On my “death bed” I’m sure I would still be able to eat squirrel (or at least sup the broth) and gravy! Nothing better, but fixing it sure does dirty up the kitchen.

  3. Raised by an Appalachian subsistence farm family in central WV, we harvested a lot of game to supplement our food supply – snapping turtles in the summer, squirrel in the early fall, rabbits, quail and whitetail deer around Thanksgiving time. Properly harvested, handled and prepared all of it is delicious, nutritious, and NOT loaded with growth hormones. BTW… I make some awesome squirrel and dumplin’s.

  4. Aunt Pat

    My neighbors keep promising that I will get a mess of squirrel from them as soon as a few more leaves are off the trees. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

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