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.