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Raccoon recipe

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I was browsing through a soul food cookbook borrowed from the library this evening only to be startled by this peculiar recipe. Apologies to the better informed, I'm just an ignorant city gal and am curious to appease this mis-education.

Dolly's Delicious 'Coon from Sylvia's Family Soul Food Cookbook

1 5-lb raccoon
3 large onions
1/4 lb fatback
2 tbs red pepper flakes
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp Accent (optional)
2 cups chopped onion

You simmer the raccoon for 6 HOURS! before baking it for another hour.

2 questions:
1) Has anyone tried this or some other raccoon recipe? and please describe the taste.
2) Are there other unusual meat recipes out there? (Not the more common alligator, snake, horse, roo or usual game.)

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  1. Well, I trust Sylvia -- it's a great cookbook! The old Joy has a single recipe, much shorter in duration.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S.

      The old Joy of Cooking also has prep instructions for possum and maybe some other woodland critters. If my memory served me correctly, they recommend keeping the possum in a cage for 10 days, feeding it milk, before you kill and skin it.

      Does anyone else remember the Garrison Keillor show a while back where an actor impersonating Ross Perot was leading a cooking show on how to cook raccoon? It was hilarious!


      1. re: ChefElias

        A cautionary note:
        Some raccoons carry rabies. Same for possums. Not sure if the disease is transmittable after the animal has died, but why take chances with a fatal disease.

        Wild mammals should be left alone. If there is a nuisance animal nearby, call a professional (board of health, animal control, or state fish and wildlife office). If you ever have physical contact with a raccoon, skunk, possum, bat, or other wild mammal, see a doctor immediately.

        Back to the chow...

        Link: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies...

        1. re: Val Ann C

          My understanding is that the only possums with rabies have been infected in a lab with a huge megadose. Possums in the wild are not rabid. (This info courtesy of a possum rescue expert.)

          I have never cooked or eaten raccoon, but there has been one in the neighborhood that I wish someone had baked or fried or ... any preparation at all would have been fine with me.

        2. re: ChefElias

          back in the days when everyone was single, a couple of guy-friends of mine who hunted would clean out their freezer every once in a while and bring the ducks, elk, venison, pheasant, etc. to me and we would have a huge feast and invite everyone we knew. most of my recipes came from the Joy. no racoon, though.

      2. It tastes a lot like bear. Which is similar to pork. Racoon is not as greasy. It has been 50 years since I ate any though.

        1. My grandfather probably has some in his deep freeze, but certainly goes to some racoon dinner every year (and also certainly has squirrel in his freezer).

          He said it tastes more like slow cooked brisket, and that while caring for my grandma, fed it to her telling her it was beef.

          1. e
            Elaine (Snutteplutten)

            I attach a link to a long recent article on the history and pros and cons raccoon eating - if you go all the way to page 7, there's some "varmint" recipes, including one for roast raccoon.

            Link: http://riverfronttimes.com/issues/200...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Elaine (Snutteplutten)

              Terrific article. I especially liked the description of the Larry Forgione meal. It's one of the few instances when I preferred hearing the description rather than eating the meal myself.

              I try to be open minded enough to try anything once, but varmint may be beyond the pale for me. Loved reading the description though.

              1. re: Pupster

                I agree, although I was tempted to try beaver based on the write up. Don't think I'd find it in Brooklyn though (no lewd remarks, please :)!)

            2. See if you can find a copy of Eat Like A Wild Man, 110 years of great Sports Afield recipes, compiled by Rebecca Gray. I have a copy and have given copies to friends. If it has fur, fins or feathers, there's a recipe for it here.

              1. You might enjoy the recently published book by Elantu B. Veovode called "The Contented Poacher: Tales and Recipes from an Epicure in the Wilderness".

                It has information on catching, field dressing, and cooking all sorts of critters. Including the helpful raccoon tip "--don't ever follow a raccoon into the water--they'll climb on top of your head and try to drown you."

                Link: http://meglioranza.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: Tom Meg

                  Also never stand under a tree that a raccoon is up he'll pee on you!

                2. Oy weh! Doesn't sound Kosher to me. What is the source of the 'coon, roadkill or farm-raised? If'n it only weighs 5 pounds, the dressing percentage is awfully low. Try armadillo instead.

                  1. Soak in milk overnight, dust in flour, brown and braise untill fork tender(add vegies like a beef stew). I did muskrat for a civil war reenactment and it reminded me of a heady chuck roast

                    1. recipe looks good except it is missing vinegar. you will essentially parboil the racoon until it becomes tender. Then put it in a roasting pan spooning the liquids on occaisionally. It will tast like pork, tough not as greasy. We put barbeque sauce on ours as it finishes roasting. We have this for thanksgiving as the season opens Nov 1. Also anyone that says they eat possum are usually mistaken. an opossum has is oily with a foul taste. I have never known anyone to actually eat it, but have known many that lie about it.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jswee10

                        It used to be possible to buy raccoon in some of the markets in Chinatown, NYC. They also sold armadillo...haven't seen it in years, probably because of law enfortcement...I doubt these were farm raised animals...I also suspect that some of the venison sold was not farm raised....as for the possibilities of rabies in possums, a rabid possum was trapped in NYC a few years ago, according to the papers.

                        1. re: EricMM

                          Since I had mentioned armadillo in this post....they have recently discovered that armadillos are the reservoir for leprosy in the US.....a large number of them, if not the vast majority, are carriers of leprosy. I definitely do not intend to try armadillo now....

                          1. re: EricMM

                            I recall hearing about armadillos carrying leprosy as far back as when I was a small child.

                            1. re: perrottwilliamson

                              armadillo is susceptible as its body temperature is very close to that of humans. other mammals are a few degrees warmer - just enough to put them out of danger.

                        2. re: jswee10

                          I killed & cooked a possum last Christmas. I was told to remove as much fat as possible when dressing it, as the fat was the source of any 'off' flavors. Far from being oily or greasy (I baked it) it was actually a bit dry. We called it 'tree duck' because that's exactly what it tasted like.
                          I assure you I am neither mistaken, or lying.

                        3. We once had a raccoon get drunk as a lord when we put many little plastic tubs of beer out to trap slugs in the back yard. The raccoon found all of it and had a major party, drinking all the beer and eating all the slugs. He was staggering around the terrace at 3 AM bumping into furniture; we were awakened and thought we had a burglar. Never realized we could have eaten our intruder...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Querencia

                            heehee -- saw the same thing in the FL Keys years ago -- we were drinking rum out of pineapple "glasses" -- one of the guys chucked his in the dumpster when he was done, where it was promptly devoured by a raccoon. Poor guy staggered across the terrace where we were sitting, scrabbled his way up a palm tree, and promptly fell out of the palm tree into the sand at the edge of the terrace before shaking his head and weaving off into the brush, apparently unhurt.

                            He might have been pretty tasty, having been marinated in rum and pineapple juice from the inside out....

                          2. It's better than bear, but that's not saying much. The most palatable rendition I've had is a buttermilk brine with lots of salt, peppercorns, thyme, and a bit of sage, for 48 hours. Dredge in seasoned flour, fry until browned, then finish in a 350 degree oven until tender. But really, that's a lot of work for a dish most folks won't appreciate.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Not as much work as porcupine ...

                              I quite like the line 'I assure you I am neither mistaken nor lying' ... I may have to borrow it.

                            2. I'm surprised so few people eat raccoon, given that they're basically everywhere and eating them would cut down on the population. (Same goes for Canada geese.) I'm vegetarian, so I have no interest in eating any meat, but I would actually find that totally valid from a sustainability point of view.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: piccola

                                Maybe when vegetarians start eating kudzu?

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Kudzu is to vegetarian cuisine as raccoon is to omnivore cuisine. Perfect, Veggo.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    Well, I'd heard that kudzu was more like chard and raccoon was more like second class bear. Anyone like to stand in for kudzu?

                                    1. re: ErikaEsau

                                      If kudzu tastes like chard, sign me up!

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    Not opposed to that either, but it doesn't grow here. I do eat dandelion and other "weeds" though.

                                2. I had to laugh when this thread surfaced. Two years ago a family of raccoons fell from the chimney into an unused fireplace in my living room in a cloud of soot. After much hysteria and a visit from county animal control, they left. When recounting the drama to my very Cajun man who was in the Middle East at the time, he asked, "well, did you eat them??"

                                  Apparently my reaction to that idea made him more evil than usual and he asked his sister to send me a recipe for cooking raccoon. She didn't realize it was a joke and included instructions on how to skin, etc. I live in the suburbs of Wasington, DC and we just don't eat raccoons!!

                                  1. My understanding is that raccoons are good eating. They have a good deal of fat to them. They are considered quite clean although they are predators. They are omnivores but primarily carnivores.

                                    I'm not surprised that the recipe calls for it to be braised. They are very active animals and would need low and slow cooking to tenderize them, I would think.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                      IME carnivores (other than fish) do not taste good.

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        That's my understanding too. even though I have heard that raccoon is good.... don't know...never tried it.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          there are an awful lot of people who eat raccoon -- in this day and age, I have to believe that they wouldn't do it if it was bad.

                                          Andrew Zimmern just did a show from Gullah country in South Carolina -- raccoon was the main dish of the episode, and he kept talking about how good it is.

                                    2. you have to go out and get a wild one not a dumpster rat. then gril it with your favorite bbq sauce. cleaning can be rough but it's like anything less fat better for sauce ect.

                                      squirel is best "chicken fried then braised in gravy(bechemel)

                                      the main reason for long cooking is gamieness(liver flavor or other wild stuff like acorn taste in a squirel)

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: hill food

                                          Wouldn't that eliminate the pinch of courage flavor? The cowardly lion told us that's what gave the muskrat his musk.

                                      1. I googled recipe raccoon and found this site:
                                        It had this list of recipes: they even links directly to the recipe. The links to the recipes didn't flow through to this posting... sorry.
                                        Bar-B-Q'd Raccoon

                                        BBQ Raccoon Sandwiches

                                        Breaded and Baked Raccoon

                                        Coon Meal In A Bag

                                        Coon Stew

                                        Deep Fried Raccoon

                                        Grilled Raccoon

                                        Mississippe Coon Stew

                                        Roast Beast

                                        Roast Raccoon In Red Wine

                                        Roast Raccoon with Stuffing

                                        Roasted Raccoon and Yams

                                        Stewed Coon

                                          1. re: ChiliDude

                                            You don't know till you try it!

                                            There was a raccoon in my neighborhood a few years ago that I would love to have seen cooked by a chowhound ... or anyone at all.

                                          2. In your quest for adventure, beware of animal brains & PLEASE DON'T be inveigled into eating any. They (and other CNS parts) are an exposure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, one of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the always fatal human form of what the media calls "mad cow" disease (which is BSE). More things than one would think have animal brains & central nervous system parts in them. Just this summer, I was appalled to see tripe for sale in a grocery store I frequent. Apparently potted meat has quite a bit in it.

                                            My late father died of CJD, a horrible disease that is an infectious dementia and his only possible exposures seem to have been squirrel brains and goat brains and eating potted meat. (Goats exposed to scrapie,a TSE that seems to essentially jump species as CJD in humans, get it 100% of the time when exposed.)

                                            The researchers Gibbs & Gadjusek wrote of many CJD patients having been "adventurous eaters" as my father was. "Deadly Feasts" by Pulitzer prize winner Richard Rhodes will give you some idea of the risks and dangers that too many do not know about. I also wrote about my dad's case & his adventurous eating in an article in the June 2004 Journal of Histotechnology, Vol, 27, No. 2, page 83.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: perrottwilliamson

                                              Sorry that your father suffered from such a terrible disease. I've done research on scrapie, and am familiar with its effects. However, tripe is the lining of the stomach of a cow. It has nothing to do with the nervous system.

                                              1. re: phofiend

                                                Phofiend, you are right that tripe is the stomach and entrails. But tripe is a much mentioned risk factor and so more and more it seems is even the muscle meat of beef as the variant forms change. (I don't actually eat beef any more and would not even if it was safe given how the beef people tried to take away Oprah's free speech rights.)

                                                Speaking of animal stomachs one has to mention haggis as well and it being the almost certain reason that Scotland has a very high rate of CJD or vCJD.

                                                1. re: perrottwilliamson

                                                  I have read that the risk factors for prions in food include the lining of the digestive tract as well as the CNS. Muscle meat seems to pick up the prions as a contaminant from knives and butchering surfaces.By the way, a much better book than Richard Rhodes's book, and more up to date, is The Pathological Protein. Unfortunately, I forget the author's name. (I am a big fan of Richard Rhodes, but not so much of Deadly Feasts...it was written very early, shortly after the mad cow epidemic, before more genetic information was discovered.) It appears that, at least in humans, prion diseases are genetic. It appears that infectious prion diseases, such as the "mad cow" form of CJD and Kuru, are infectious only to people who have the susceptible mutation. Without the consumption of prions, the disease may eventually appear, maybe for certain if the affected person lives long enough, but consuming the prions "jump starts" the disease in the victims own prions. I'm sorry for the suffering this disease caused your family, but given the circumstances, you are very smart to avoid eating any potential sources of prions.

                                            2. How my husband decided to put up a note on this thread is beyond me. He seems to have been so frustrated with the raccoons taking apart our pond pump EVERY NIGHT that he started fantasizing about eating them. I find this entire thing a bit unappetizing, and I wish he hadn't done this!!! NO way are we going to kill and eat a city raccoon! So I appreciate everyone's responses, but I'd like to bow out of this conversation, before I get queasier! How do I do that?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ErikaEsau

                                                Just don't open the thread anymore. ????

                                                Where I live we refer to decorative fish ponds as raccoon feeding stations.

                                              2. I've eaten raccoon several times. It's not bad at all. As pointed out somewhere above it is similar to bear.

                                                I imagine it would be beyond "not bad" for anybody starved for protein.

                                                Edited to add this tidbit. Just the other day I saw Richard Petty doing a tv ad for B.C. powder. Those L shaped bones on his hat are from a raccoon penis. : )

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kengk

                                                  I'm feeling very good about not wearing hats right now (and so having a complete lack of need for hat decorations).

                                                2. First of all this recipe seems a bit excessive. When prepping the raccoon, be sure to cut off all fat possible and remove the "kernals" or glands (located in the arm pits and inside the hind quarters). Boil for 30 minutes to remove additional fat (the fat is where the undesireable flavor is). Then place in a crock pot or roasting pan and cook like you would anything else. The flavor is close to wild pork, it is very mild and tasty.