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How to cook burmese python?

Hey guys

Wondering how to cook burmese python. I had some fillets this weekend and hit them with some salt and pepper, lime juice and cilantro marinade and threw it on the grill. It came out super rubbery.

Anyone have any experience with this or some suggestions? The only recipe I've been able to find is one that suggests poaching.

Thanks!

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  1. I suggest a 1-day marinade with soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, scallions, ginger, and honey. Bake it with the marinade and baste occasionally.
    Florida is overrun with them; we need to make them delicious.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JerryMe

      There is not any ethnic market for them, that I know of. I think everyone of all ancestral heritage is equally in fear of them. House pets are snack food. They are truly to be feared.

      1. re: Veggo

        I googled "python as meat" and found snake steaks on sale, actually. You may have my share.

    2. How fun! I have not seen a python set for cooking. Tell us what the meat is like (like is it steakable or done like a regular snake).

      I would think mixed in a jambalaya or an etouffe would be nice. Depending on where you got it, it is bound to have a hint of seafood flavor. You could also spit roast it on the grill after marinating it in a mojo or just with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

      Then there is frying. I would soak it first in some buttermilk over night and then make a mix of flour and cornmeal. You could make a nice tropical sauce that is sweet and sour to serve along side. Yum.

      If you can supply pics...

      1. i will give you lots of wonderful recipe ideas, but first you have to tell me where you obtained burmese python fillets!

        6 Replies
        1. re: madkittybadkitty

          maybe it's the one dispatched after killing the baby in florida. http://www.ocala.com/article/20090712...

          they should allow bounty hunting of those snakes in the 'glades. people are so irresponsible with these exotic species in non-native environments, and they escape or are "liberated" by idiots. then they wreak havoc on the eco-system.

          1. re: alkapal

            Back in April, there was a long New Yorker piece on the pythons and other escaped exotic reptiles/amphibians that are successfully reproducing in Florida's canals and wetlands, It's a tall order to overcome the "yuck" factor, but I hope catching these critters as food will become routine . At present it is costing the state a lot of money to try to control their spread - a food demand would limit that expense and also take some pressure off dwindling edible fish species.

            1. re: greygarious

              I dunno, that approach didn't work with nutrias, which were another pest species touted as food years ago.

              Here in the DC area, there was lots of concern a couple of years ago about snakehead fish showing up in the Potomac. I had several conversations about how we could solve the problem with a couple of Food section features. I eagerly await chowisdom on this python matter.

            2. re: alkapal

              Oh good grief, I agree with you 100%.

              1. re: alkapal

                Dispatched... LOL

                I think they are bounty hunting those buggers. I found a python baking himself on our dock when we lived in FL. If the neighbor (strange freak - who keeps a snake in their little apartment?) did not come to claim him, I may have shot him straight thru the head with a speargun and tossed him on the barby.

                Yep. Tough girl.

              2. re: madkittybadkitty

                Here in South Florida we are over run by the darn things, no problem GETTING them.

              3. The 2-3 times I've had snake, it's been rubbery (I haven't been in charge of cooking it). Makes sense, though, as it's all lean, highly-used muscle. I would go with cooking techniques that are recommended for any lean, tough meat, so grilling wouldn't be high on the list. Braising, stewing, poaching would be the way to proceed.

                For those wondering, the snake I've had has been white meat and mildly flavored, sort of a cross between scallop and chicken with a hint of gaminess thrown in.

                3 Replies
                1. re: weezycom

                  "cooking techniques that are recommended for any lean, tough meat"

                  Hmm, that's exactly why I would think grilling *would* be a good option. If this meat is lean and doesn't have any fat or connective tissue that would melt under slow cooking, it would just get tougher and tougher if you braised it. Or is there connective tissue? Hmm, interesting question.

                  I'm wondering if some of the techniques used for octopus, which is also often tough and rubbery, could be used here. Pounding, marinating, either very quick or very long cooking, but not somewhere in between. Or take a cue from abalone, another often rubbery meat. I think pounding is the solution used there, but I haven't cooked it myself.

                  1. re: weezycom

                    lol, weezycom, i was going to ask if it tasted like "chicken"?

                    1. re: weezycom

                      Eeegh, your description of the flavor captures it well. I took a semi-professional cooking class once upon a time and one theme menu was Tex (quail, rattlesnake and something else - maybe gator, which I did not enjoy any more than the snake). The snake reminded me of a somehow gamy bicycle tire.

                      I also found the snake texture "interesting." Like skate wings, the muscle fibers are not what we're used to from more common proteins.

                    2. First you need a very, very long meatloaf pan

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: HotMelly

                        HotMelly, you made me laugh out loud with that comment about the loaf pan! Made me think of the 'I Love Lucy' episode where she is attempting to make bread, and makes too much dough. She puts the bread in the oven, and when she goes to take it out, the bread and loaf pan is as long as the kitchen! As long as a python, at least.
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLdf8W...

                        1. re: HotMelly

                          A 10 ft piece of aluminum Gutter with end caps!!!

                          1. re: KiltedCook

                            Aren't you the creative one! Kitchen McGyver!

                          2. re: HotMelly

                            Hotmelly wrote:

                            >>First you need a very, very long meatloaf pan.

                            Nonsense, everybody knows you should coil the snake up and roast it on a PIZZA pan! ;)

                            Yes, I'm in north Florida, and they're a nuisance species further south.

                          3. Can't comprehend why anyone would want ro eat anything like a reptile! Is there something wrong with me??

                            Perhaps I could understand it if a body were all alone on a deserted island, desperate, hungry, and had to eat whatever is available, or could be caught, to keep body-and-soul together,

                            But in this "land-of-plenty", with supermarkets buldging with appetizing, wholesome, affordable foods.....why (uggh) snakes!!! ???

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: Lisbet

                              What better way to eat green and local??? AND wipe out a pest in the process... but yes, the yuck-factor is high.

                              1. re: gourmetloveaffair

                                Unfortunately, if you look at MANY things we eat on a regular basis (oysters, lobster, octopus) there is a fairly large yuck-factor with them as well. We just happen to know that THEY taste wonderful. I am looking for ways to cook them because we do need to get rid of them here in the everglades. Gator is WONDERFUL, so why not snake?

                              2. re: Lisbet

                                You will find many folks disagreeing with your assessment of supermarket foods as wholesome and affordable. Responsible stewardship of the environment would suggest that we use edible nuisance species as food to replace some of the more intensive use of natural resources required to raise livestock. People already eat alligator - you can buy it in Whole Foods. Supermarkets commonly sell pig ears and snouts in their offal section. (I have never had these and will admit to a major "yuck" reaction, but if they were served to me, I'd be "game" to taste them.) It's all in your outlook - if you were on your desert island and saw a snake and a crab (never having seen either species before), which one would you try first?

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  Le'me know when they start packaging rat and mouse tenders....maybe shrews, too. We also have too many stray animals (cats & dogs) that are an environmental nuisance, or hazzard. How adout insects?

                                  I know that there are numerous cultures in the world, but I sure wouldn't want to adopt their dietary customs when it comes to meats.

                                  1. re: Lisbet

                                    Rice field rats in the rainfed rice areas of Burma are really good. The Burmese won't touch rats that live close to humans, but trap those out in the rice fields. And it makes all kinds of sense: the rats are responsible for substantial losses of rice. Snake is a part of the diet in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam: I liked every snake dish I ate there.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      how was the snake prepared? Any recipes for us?

                                      1. re: weezycom

                                        You may have missed what I posted below: I've had a lot of snake in Vietnam simmered quickly in soy, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, touch of sugar, bit of lime juice - served over stir fried vegetables. They're often stir fried in a wok as well. The quick simmering was my favorite, however. The only variable was that the smaller snakes are cut cross-wise, leaving a lot of bones to sort through. It's easier with large snakes where you can get clean fillets (I have no experience filleting snakes and would love to get my hands on some Florida - Burmese pythons to be able to learn).

                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        Same idea, I guess as squab vs. pigeon. No one would eat a city pigeon, I don't think. But squab, due to a better diet than city scraps, is delicious.

                                    2. re: Lisbet

                                      How about gator meat? YUM!

                                      The super markets may be bulging, but I will take my own catch or quarry over the prepackaged stuff any day!

                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                        I.... love..... alligator. The meat is just so sweet and delicious! Why would anyone have chicken sausage when they can have alligator sausage?

                                        1. re: kubasd

                                          it's a little tough, though, don't you think?

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            If you have tough gator meat a Jaccard tendorizer is priceless for home use. When I was working in Fl we could get gator alreay needled. Not tough at all.

                                            http://www.jaccard.com/

                                            1. re: Fritter

                                              Y'alls use that thing before or after y'alls kill the gator?

                                        2. re: Lisbet

                                          I would much rather eat snake (meat from a vertebrate) than bugs like shrimp, crab, crawfish, snails(escargot), scallops, mussels, etc. Same goes for organs and offal....

                                        3. Hey all - thanks for the replies. So to be clear, no one has any actual experience with cooking python, right? And we're divided on whether slow cooking methods or grilling are hypothetically best?

                                          It came from the Cambridge location of this place: http://www.savenorsmarket.com/

                                          And it came vacuum sealed as filets, maybe 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: captainspacefood

                                            I like your sense of adventure. How about popping the thicker piece on the grill, fry the thinner pieces and take the other filet and do that yummy Thai style braise someone was suggesting. A boa trilogy.

                                            I have cooked rattle snake.

                                            Do not forget to post what you did and the taste/texture details. And pics if you can manage it. OK??

                                            1. re: captainspacefood

                                              aww, shucks. i thought you had a row with your neighbor with the python pet and decided, HA, so there!
                                              to be honest, the only snakey things I have cooked and eaten are pretty tame - buttermilk fried rattlesnake, and lots of grilled unagi. I'm not entirely sure, but I would treat a big snake like a big lean fish. We all know swordfish and tuna get really dry when totally cooked. I like everything raw (except maybe chicken), but I'm not totally sure about eating python raw.
                                              What about an oil poach, which is really good for big swordfish-like fish? 1/2 small pot EVOO to just a bare simmer, flavor with whatever you feel like. I personally wouldn't grill unless you slice thin and baste a lot.

                                              1. re: madkittybadkitty

                                                Oil poaching sounds like a terrific idea.

                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                  Ooh - if you're going that route - how about snake baked in parchment? with a little olive oil, lemon and some shallots...maybe ginger?

                                              2. re: captainspacefood

                                                I've had a lot of snake in Vietnam simmered quickly in soy, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, touch of sugar, bit of lime juice.

                                                1. re: captainspacefood

                                                  OK, no experience with a large snake, but many years ago I had a piece of a much smaller water snake cooked by the campfire in NE at a camp I attended. The snake was caught by a counselor in a swamp we were trekking through, gutted and packed in clay (skin on) that was placed in the coals. In my dim recollection, it cooked for some time as the fire burned down. When it was dug out of the coals, the skin was peeled back revealing a long muscle that separated cleanly. Counselors cut it up and some of the more daring campers ate a piece. I recall it was not bad. No seasonings, much smaller snake... but it might give you some ideas..

                                                  1. the burmese python may be in greater supply soon, as a food item. the florida wildlife commission is just starting a pilot program to allow certain herpetologists to hunt, capture and kill the invasive snakes on state land: http://www.winknews.com/news/local/50...
                                                    http://xml.orlandosentinel.com/sfl-ne...

                                                    get out your machetes, folks!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        I've never cooked a snake but did eat some grilled rattlesnake on a backpacking trip years ago. However, I confess that I am intrigued by the notion of finding delicious ways to reduce invasive species populations.

                                                        Here in the DC area, when snake head fish were discovered in the Potomac, I kept wishing the Post food section would do a piece on ways to prepare. Get those local puppies on the menu at upscale dc joints and we could overfish them out of existence!

                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                          That is the hope for lionfish which are destroying reef systems and have no predators. They taste OK but are very expensive to get to the table.

                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            Even the biggest sharks avoid them, only a large moray eel, if it catches the fish by the head will eat it as well as the lethal stone fish. Swollowing it head first keeps the spines against the fishes body. THEY ARE DESTROYING THE REEFS EVERYWHERE.
                                                            We snorkel off Key West every March and see less and less of the beautiful variety of fish. These monster lion fish swim around you with impunity and they defend their 20000 eggs nests. We need a bounty, I would love to get my hands on some fresh meat.

                                                      2. If youre finding any meats tough and rubbery try cooking it in a Pressure Cooker. end of problem.

                                                        1. It's all heavily used muscle and it is lean. I would think you would either have to grill or saute it quick and rare so it doesn't get too tough or you would have to braise or stew it so that it eventually gets tender. I would try one then the other.

                                                          I guess you could grind it and make sausage or something.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                            that i like! snake sauseeeege! put it on pizza too!

                                                          2. I wonder if snake meat could be smoked. Smoked eel (as it is sold and served in Holland) is delicate and delicious.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                              I THINK a problem may be the darn snakes are just SO strong. Eels swim, they don't smother their food. Still, I would be willing to try it. Getting away from rubbery and tough seem to be the main things to overcome.

                                                              On a positive note, one big one would pretty much fill a freezer. FREE food and helping clean up an environmental nightmare.

                                                              1. re: ronosceola

                                                                There are so many examples of invasive species that, if properly and deliciously cooked, might be eradicated or at least reduced in number. Those pythons plus in my area, snakehead fish and nutria (swamp rats).

                                                                Instead of, or in addition to Cookbook of the Month, we could have invasive species of the month.

                                                            2. I think it would make a good pet food.

                                                              1. Slice into 3 in wide 8 in long strips, REMOVE SINEW COVERING.
                                                                Place strips between two 20 in pieces of Parchment paper and have a 1 foot piece of 2x4 lumber. Pound and pound until 1/4 inch thick. Flour, egg wash, panko crumbs mixed with cayenne, crushed rosemary, garlic powder,salt and lemon pepper, lemon zest was tasty too. GOLDEN BROWN sautteed in butter and olive oil about 3 mins each side, OIL SHOULD NOT TURN BROWN or BE SMOKING.
                                                                You have a great cutlet to each hot or cold .( whatever spices you like use ) We had over 10lbs of meat that was a fresh kill not frozen and it took over two hours with two of us to slice it up and package it for freezing.
                                                                To us python like ostrich takes a good pounding with a 2x4 by 12 inches to make it cut like a good piece of beef, the bird is dark meat the snake is white both have virtually no fat.
                                                                We ground up a good 4 lbs of snake to make meat balls with curry,fresh garlic, fresh parsley and bread crumbs. Then served in a terriyaki and pineapple sauce. We fried them first in lard until cooked slightly brown. If you are health conscious bake them until golden but frying in lard (you can buy a pound of it in any supermarket) is the best.
                                                                GOOD LUCK

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: TastyAnimals

                                                                  You are a godsend. I'm going to try this with half the python I have in my freezer--the rest i'm trying in a variation on Southeast Asian jungle curry.

                                                                  1. re: TastyAnimals

                                                                    My country cousins like to kill them but not eat them. A shotgun blast right in the head. What is left is a lot of tough meat. I have pounded it before but your idea seems a lot better. You really have to wail on it with the lumber I suppose. I have two whole frozen pythons they gave me. We are going to throw a python BBQ party to get it all eaten, We are going to invite Bobby Flay for a python throwdown but we don't think he is man enough for this challange. Anyways....Bon appetite!

                                                                    Do you have a favorite recipe for cocktails with the drained snake blood? I have one quart frozen from my cousins

                                                                    1. re: TastyAnimals

                                                                      Sounds like you really know what you are doing here. Especially about the sinew. Would like to come eat at your house. Sounds delicious.

                                                                      1. I just watched a youtube video from kezie food. The chef scored the meat. And he says score the meat like squid meat. So, basically consider it squid meat.

                                                                        1. Don't know where you're getting the python, but another article on line is saying NOT to eat Florida pythons as their mercury levels are 3 X's that of Florida 'gators - whatever that is.

                                                                          1. We're not addressing the OP's question, how to tenderize the rubbery meat. Grilled snake steak doesn't seem to be working. a) Has anybody tried a tenderizing marinade? b) Pressure-cooking the meat? c) Slow-cooking it for hours? d) Slicing it very thin and pounding it to break up fibers then dredging and frying it?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                              Yes, many, many years ago, when I lived in a village near the Amazon, a 20-30 ft anaconda (head in the grass on one side of a road [one lane each way], tail in the grass on the other side) killed by a lorry was quickly divided up by villagers, tenderized in pressure cookers and curried. But then most things were curried and pressured there, or pressured and boiled for days and days in cassareep to make pepperpot which is dark, black syrup made from bitter cassava - boiling destroys the poison (cyanide I think? ) and with scotch bonnet peppers, clove and cinnamon that is lovely; my favourite though, I think was the iguana which was quite nice; definitely wild and flavourful and tastier than any beef I ever ate.

                                                                              As for why anyone would want to eat wild meat? Like Everest, because it's there, and, so long as it is not endangered (at that time the anaconda and iguanas were not, at least that we knew of - obviously many years ago), they have a much lighter carbon footprint then factory farmed beef or chicken or pork and taste way, way better. Besides, if the animal is dead anyway, like the snake was, why waste the protein?

                                                                            2. Google "python as meat" then click onto Images. Lots of pictures. All disgusting.