When most people think of raccoons, they think of those black-eyed critters getting in the garbage or ransacking your tent while you’re out hiking. Knowing you have to thoroughly secure everything at a campsite is almost entirely due to knowing what raccoons are and what they’re capable of.
Not many people think of them as food. Maybe a funny little hat in artistic depictions of Davy Crockett, but certainly not on the dinner plate. Raccoons are often shot, trapped, and poisoned because they’re considered varmints, and the chaos they are capable of causing rightfully creates that understanding.
This is especially true in urban settings, where raccoons wander in from the surrounding forests and wreak havoc on your garbage can and drive the family dog crazy. Instead of trapping or killing them, can you eat raccoon?
Can you Eat Raccoon – Is it Safe?
Not only is it safe, generally speaking, but it’s also more common than most people think, especially in the south. Unfortunately, raccoons and their varmint behavior have made them into a sort of food bias animal.
People associate eating raccoons with eating rats and they would certainly frown on someone they saw eating raccoons. It’s a generational thing, and it’s not likely to change much any time soon.
Eating city raccoons would be the only thing considered “unsafe,” mostly because of what city raccoons are eating. Plus, in the city, raccoons are far more likely to have rabies, parasites, intestinal worms, and a variety of other, less savory diseases.
Also, like any other animal, a raccoon is unsafe to eat if it’s undercooked.
What does it Taste Like?
If you’ve ever eaten goose or venison, you will find there are strong similarities there, depending on how you cook the raccoon. It’s a savory meat with a slightly gamey taste to it that’s by no means overwhelming.
You can cook raccoons in a variety of ways as well, though frying them is probably not the best idea. Whether you slow cook it in the crock pot, grill it, pressure cook it, or bake it, the internal temperature needs to reach 165°F.
Raccoons are just like many other animals. They carry diseases that are killed by cooking the meat to a high enough temperature. No matter how you cook it, you’ll find that the meat is pretty good.
Though it’s easiest to compare it to venison or goose meat, some people even compare it to turkey meat or a slightly different chicken, both in terms of taste and texture.
How to prepare one for eating
Raccoons are known for their clean appearance nor are they known for sticking with a clean diet. Cleaning them should be meticulous and thorough. Obviously, you have to skin the raccoon completely.
Hose the raccoon down very well since their fur is often pretty filthy, and you don’t want that stuff rubbing up against the meat. If you want to spice your meat up with the neighbor’s leftover bananas, crab cakes, and TV dinners, don’t bother rinsing it down.
You also need to debone it, which starts by cutting the feet off at the ankle joint.
Once you’re done skinning and deboning the raccoon, go wash your hands, along with everything you used to skin it, and plan to keep using to prepare it.
Best way to cook it
The best way to eat raccoon, especially in the south, is with plenty of BBQ and a pressure cooker. The best part is that since raccoon meat is pretty good, you don’t have to do anything wild and crazy to the meat.
- Quarter the raccoon
- Coat all of the meat in cooking oil and add salt & pepper
- Sear the meat in a skillet
- Place the seared meat in a pressure cooker
- Set it to 10lbs of pressure
- Cook for an hour and allow the pressure to completely release
- Shred the meat off the bones
- Cover the meat in your favorite BBQ sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- Garnish it with your favorite vegetables (onions, pickles, and cole slaw go good with a raccoon).
Of course, there are other ways to go about it. Slow cooking it and steadily raising the internal meat temperature to 165°F, is considered one of the best options.
Though society and culture have slowly but surely ostracised the idea of eating raccoon meat, that doesn’t make it true. Raccoon meat is delicious, and if you allow the naysayers (most who haven’t tried raccoon before) to point you in another direction, it’s your loss.
However, a raccoon isn’t immune to disease and parasites, so you should always be sure to thoroughly cook the meat and ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165°F. It’s very similar to hunting and eating squirrels, in terms of meat preparation.
It may not be the most popular thing in the world to eat, but raccoon meat is certainly worth your time. Since they are also pests, you get to kill two birds with one stone while you’re at it.
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