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the joy of cooking....raccoon!

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/...

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

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"?)

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  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: alkapal

          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.”

          http://archives.chicagotribune.com/20...

          1. re: KTinNYC

            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....
            coon: http://lh5.ggpht.com/_7V2i3iMrrkc/SGM...

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

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

            1. re: alkapal

              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

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

        3. re: HaagenDazs

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

        4. 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. 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

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

                1. 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. 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. 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

                        well.... how was it? (corn-fed coon. they are spoiled!).
                        http://www.amazon.com/Raccoons-Ripe-C...

                        ~~~~~
                        ps, in my neck of the woods, "wild turkey" IS the seasoning -- at least a couple of shots, straight up.
                        http://www.bbqandbourbon.com/2009/04/...
                        ;-).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          <<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 last raccoon I had tasted like chicken.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: beevod

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

                          1. re: beevod

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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
                                      possum.

                                      1. re: Johnny West

                                        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. 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

                                  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. 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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

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

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              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

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