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the joy of cooking....raccoon!

alkapal Jan 14, 2009 04:07 AM

yes, the (really) other dark meat is having a renaissance, of sorts. the first edition of the cookbook "joy of cooking" had recipes for raccoon. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/59566.html

what happened to make this ring-tailed critter abandon the american table for the woods, and cute cartoons? http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/r/raccoon.asp

now, you don't have to worry so much. raccoon is back .......on the table, in the crockpot, on the grill!

will you be on the raccoon-wagon?

and ... is possum hiding for any good reason? there are plenty of other "dark meats", right?
(aka: will "possum" be the new "raccoon"?)

  1. Will Owen Jan 6, 2011 11:18 AM

    I've had it just once, and fifty-some years later would love some more. My dad hunted squirrel and rabbit (this was in Illinois, where both of these critters get really big), and my mom's standard method of preparing both was a kind of fricassee that wound up making its own gravy - quite savory and delicious. So one night Dad's invited on a 'coon hunt, and comes home with a young one, though of course still a good bit bigger than your average rabbit or squirrel. He hadn't dressed one out since he was a boy, but remembered how to do it, and Mom subjected it to her standard small-game recipe. Oh, it was SO good! I can still smell and taste the depth and richness of that dish.

    There was an old guy in Evansville, Indiana that a boss of mine knew - this was when we lived in Nashville - whose specialty was barbecued raccoon, done very much off the books in his back yard. Charlie kept going on about how amazing it was and how he'd try to get some next time he went up there, but that somehow never happened.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen
      ospreycove Jan 7, 2011 03:54 AM

      One thing you hear off and on is, in Louisiana, Nutria is quite tasty; I have no experience with Nutria; other than it is herbaceous and destroys the levees with its nests. Anyone ever eaten Nutria; and how does it compare to 'Coon?

      1. re: ospreycove
        Will Owen Jan 7, 2011 10:04 AM

        If it's strictly herbaceous it might be less interesting, since 'coons are omnivorous, like their bear cousins. But it would be fun, I think, to try more of the animals that other cultures eat routinely. I recently read a piece about a Central American restaurant somewhere, can't remember which or where, that prepares and sells guinea pig. And of course there's the cavy and the capybara, both cooked and eaten in their native habitat and both reportedly delicious.

        1. re: Will Owen
          ospreycove Jan 7, 2011 10:23 AM

          Also on Roatan Island, Honduras the "Royal Rat" named so when the Queen of England visited and ate the Garafuna a local rat used as food. When I was in Roatan, I could not find it on any menu, but they were everywhere, resembled a muskrat only more plump and with a nice coat of fur.

          1. re: ospreycove
            Johnny West Jan 7, 2011 05:10 PM

            I never noticed them on Tiger Island but then
            I wasn't looking and was only eating MRE's.

            1. re: ospreycove
              alkapal Jan 8, 2011 05:42 AM

              the nutrias have nice fur, too.

              1. re: alkapal
                Johnny West Jan 8, 2011 05:52 AM

                As do coon - saw a gal in Madigan the other day
                and she was wearing a raccoon coat, full length;
                you don't see that everyday.

                1. re: Johnny West
                  alkapal Jan 10, 2011 02:38 PM

                  knew a gal in college with a full raccoon coat. thassabigcoat!

      2. l
        lemons Jan 6, 2011 05:36 AM

        My late ex-MIL roasted it with sweet potatoes. They're rather fatty, at least the cornfed ones from the edge of the Illinois prairie. Not bad, but not something I eve3r craved.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lemons
          Johnny West Jan 6, 2011 09:48 AM

          That's why we roasted on a rack.

          My bud in Iowa runs a trap line and will put in an order
          for a couple of coons for next year. I'm not sure if the
          season is on at present.

        2. b
          beevod Nov 12, 2010 06:00 AM

          The last raccoon I had tasted like chicken.

          8 Replies
          1. re: beevod
            alkapal Nov 12, 2010 06:39 AM

            ;-). next fast food chain: coon fil-a!

            1. re: beevod
              Johnny West Jan 5, 2011 07:16 PM

              No, not really. Coon taste like coon. Its best to get a young coon;
              skin it, make sure you get any latent hair off it, scrape off fat the
              best you can, soak in water and picking spice and then bake on
              a rack until tender. My wife will take the leftover coon and simmer
              in BBQ sauce and then serve on a burger bun. Good eatin.

              BTW, if you get old coon, parboil for about 45 minutes first.

              I do the same with bear roasts; parboil, then roast with juniper berries,
              red wine and a bit of vinegar - then add onions, potatoes, and
              carrots like a pot roast.

              I never ate possum but my hunting bud says they're good.

              1. re: beevod
                deet13 Jan 5, 2011 07:46 PM

                IMO, there are some similarities to greasy chicken texture-wise; but other than that, raccoons tend to taste a bit like what they usually ate, or where they lived.

                Unless, after hunting, you accidentally left the musk glands on too long. Then it tastes like raccoon and rancid butt.

                Sometimes you gotta learn the hard way...

                1. re: deet13
                  Johnny West Jan 5, 2011 07:51 PM

                  I grew up in Iowa and hunted coons almost every weekend after our football and basketball games. These coons lived in the cornfields and hardwood Turkey River bottom. They were no city coons eating cat, dog food or garbage. Never had a problem with musk glands with the ones we skinned. What we couldn't eat had no problem giving away to the old timers. Those were the days, my friend.

                  1. re: Johnny West
                    Johnny West Jan 5, 2011 08:00 PM

                    Oh, eh! I remember that old story from last year - we left the feet
                    on because it makes them easier to carry.

                    This one time we ate muskrats per a recipe from the Iowa
                    Conservationist. I almost lost it.... never again. BBBJW

                    1. re: Johnny West
                      deet13 Jan 5, 2011 08:01 PM

                      Here in Florida, most of the local raccoons are either swamp dwellers, or are living out of the dumpster of the Chinese take-out joint next to us. The dumpster raccoons amuse my son to no end.

                      The swamp raccoons can get pretty big (and mean); but the meat has the taste of swamp water, and they're a real pain in the butt to hunt.

                      I refuse to eat the ones I see digging through the Chinese take-out's dumpster. I have to imagine that those would probably taste like a sweet and sour hobo...

                      1. re: deet13
                        Johnny West Jan 6, 2011 01:12 AM

                        I understand.

                        Coons do get mean, especially when more than humans are hunting them.
                        I've had friends try to make pets of them but it never works.

                        I understand the mountain man preferred to eat skunk more than coon and

                        1. re: Johnny West
                          ospreycove Jan 6, 2011 03:33 AM

                          I haven't had a braised Raccoon in a long time. I never cooked it myself but I gave fresh killed 'coon to an old timer who braised it for a couple of hours in a spicy tomato sauce. I remember the meat was dark and it was tasty in the wild boar catagory.

                2. b
                  blonde Nov 7, 2010 06:28 AM

                  I wish this post wasnt so old, i have never replied before so i am hoping this is still monitored. you cannot believe how surprised i was to find posts when i googled cooking raccoon. My husband and his family have hunted coon for generations and he has one uncle who has prepared this. recently we started making jerky out of all the things in our freezer that i didnt want to deal with(rabbit, duck, turkey) so far everything was great(wild turkey takes some seasoning). In any case I though "why not coon", well since we were going to try this we had the uncle come over to give some guidance and decided to cook 1st and make jerky with later batches. My 1st try is in the oven now and I cant wait for the result. I was surprised by the comments on cooking scavengers-around here coon are basically corn fed, which made me think -what better eating could you get? I'll let you know in a few hours.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: blonde
                    alkapal Nov 12, 2010 05:52 AM

                    well.... how was it? (corn-fed coon. they are spoiled!).

                    ps, in my neck of the woods, "wild turkey" IS the seasoning -- at least a couple of shots, straight up.

                    1. re: alkapal
                      mucho gordo Jan 7, 2011 10:56 AM

                      <<ps, in my neck of the woods, "wild turkey" IS the seasoning -- at least a couple of shots, straight up.>>
                      ....with a beer (preferably a dark one) chaser. It's 'the only way to fly".

                  2. The Chowhound Team Jan 14, 2009 05:05 PM

                    Hi Folks--Please keep your replies confined to the merits of racoons as food. Other discussion of racoons is off topic on this board. Thanks!

                    1. f
                      foodperv Jan 14, 2009 08:29 AM

                      the main problem for us here in massachusetts (and i am guessing here when i say in very human populated areas) our coons have a very high percentage of rabies

                      1. v
                        vtnewbie Jan 14, 2009 07:47 AM

                        If you've ever smelled possum cooking, you won't eat it. I triple-dog dare you.

                        1. r
                          RosemaryHoney Jan 14, 2009 06:25 AM

                          Racoons are still available for sale on street corners in North Baton Rouge. A few years ago, I passed a man sitting on a lawn chair under a sign that said "Coons for sale. Skins. Meats" everyday on my way home from work. I finally stopped one day and he showed me his products. $10 was the average price for a coon. He recommended stewing it "much like armadillo", which I've also never cooked. Anyway, I was back in Baton Rouge about 3 months ago, and he was still there! (BTW, yes, I know it's illegal, but those of you who know North Baton Rouge know the law enforcement is not focused on this sort of violation).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: RosemaryHoney
                            beevod Jan 14, 2009 07:35 AM

                            It's now on the menu at Per Se.

                            1. re: RosemaryHoney
                              slopfrog Jan 7, 2011 04:47 PM

                              I shot an armadillo that was digging up the yard when I was younger. I was working for a woman who wanted it dead. Her dog later got to it and tore it apart. I gotta say, the meat was whitish and reminded me of pork. The thought of cooking one crossed my mind, but they are uglier than a mud fence after a hard rain.

                              I have heard of older hispanic people here in Florida eating them. They go hunting for them frequently.

                              If I want swamp vittles, I'll stick to gigging frogs, my own self.

                            2. Caralien Jan 14, 2009 05:26 AM

                              Is this part II of the post on eating scavengers?

                              One relative had possum once, and said it was one of the worst meals he had ever had. If it were on a menu, I'd probably try it, but I don't think I'm going to go out of my way to cook it (or raccoon) at home. Raccoons scare me, and regularly fought with our cats at my parents' house (the cats survived, fortunately).

                              1. HaagenDazs Jan 14, 2009 05:10 AM

                                I've never had raccoon or possum but the stories I've heard from some old-timer folks is that if you shoot a raccoon and skin it you should leave the (black) feet on so you can tell the difference between it and a possum. Raccoon is more desirable and thus more expensive...

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: HaagenDazs
                                  KTinNYC Jan 14, 2009 07:22 AM

                                  I thought you left the feet on s that you could distinguish between raccoon and cat? I thought I had read that somewhere.

                                  1. re: KTinNYC
                                    alkapal Jan 14, 2009 07:25 AM

                                    people in the south don't eat cats. at least the AMERICAN "south".

                                    1. re: alkapal
                                      KTinNYC Jan 14, 2009 07:35 AM

                                      I know they don't eat cats but could an unscrupulous raccoon seller try and pass off cat as raccoon? I was responding to HaagenDazs' post where s/he said that old timers leave the feet on so you can tell the difference between raccoon and possum.

                                      ETA: I knew I read this somewhere. From an article in the Chicago Tribune; "John Wilson stepped into the massive refrigerator at his home in northwestIllinois and removed a long plastic bag. Although clouded with ice, there wasno hiding its gray and pink contents – the paws, the limbs, the head.
                                      “This is one of the jumbos,” Wilson said, holding the bag up forinspection. “We leave the paws on so people know they’re getting a raccoon,not somebody’s house cat.”


                                      1. re: KTinNYC
                                        alkapal Jan 14, 2009 08:04 AM

                                        kt, well, to (somewhat) quote bubba gump, "unscrupulous is as unscrupulous does." this applies to raccoon sellers, wall street tycoons, used car salesmen, (some) lawyers and (most all) politicians.

                                        but, as to confusion of cat 'n coon: they do have similar looking skeletons superficially (though the leg structure is different) -- and the size is similar, too -- for larger domestic kitties!!
                                        cat: http://www.infovisual.info/02/067_en.html
                                        coon: http://lh5.ggpht.com/_7V2i3iMrrkc/SGMo8jELlEI/AAAAAAAAA-Q/UjHAF8u-Ng4/IMG_0325.JPG


                                        ahhh, the things i do on chowhound....;-).

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          KTinNYC Jan 14, 2009 08:47 AM

                                          We all have to sacrifice for chowhound. I now have a search in my computer for "selling raccoon meat leaving feet". God only knows what this will tag me as by big brother.

                                    2. re: KTinNYC
                                      Caralien Jan 14, 2009 08:46 AM

                                      KTinNYC: You keep the tail on the rabbit to distinguish it from a cat. Their skeletal structures are incredibly close.

                                      1. re: Caralien
                                        alkapal Jan 14, 2009 08:52 AM

                                        wascally wabbit: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/museum/zoology/skeletons/2013B.JPG

                                        for your dining (er, VIEWING) pleasure: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                                    3. re: HaagenDazs
                                      jswee10 Dec 26, 2009 04:37 PM

                                      a racoon carcass and pelt look nothing like a possum. The feet are not left on to tell diffence between the two.

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