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Thread: pan fry squirrel or shoe leather?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    pan fry squirrel or shoe leather?

    I like to squirrel hunt and like to eat them too.

    Unfortunately my culinary skills when it comes to pan frying the treetop whitetails is poor.

    I hear a lot about pan frying them but don't know the method or recipe that doesn't end up rivaling shoe leather for texture.

    Can anyone give me specifics on how to?

    How much oil? Seasoning? Temperature? Time? etc..

    thanks
    vmthtr@charter.net is NOT my paypal addy

  2. #2
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I've never had luck pan frying them either.

    I grill them on a pretty hot grill, searing them mostly...then to the crockpot they go.

    I've thought about using a pressure cooker, but never followed through.


    edited: I moved this thread to the cookin' recipes area

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    You can experiment a little. We used to brown them and then just slow cook them in a little water. Otherwise they are very tough little buggers. One of my favorites is a squirrel stew. I had a friend back when who's mother was from Poland and could really cook.
    In our early 20's being lazy guys we would take her the squirrels. She would skin, butcher them, make stew and freeze it in plastic bags. Wow was that good. I like to add home made dumplings to squirrel stew. I don't have a recipe, since I haven't had any to eat in quite a while. I would just google generic stew recipes and substitute squirrel for the other meat. And remember it takes longer to cook. Enjoy. Let us know about your progress in it. I think that squirrel is one of the best eating critters ever. The only problem is that they are little and thus labor intensive.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Lightly dredge in flour and spices, Fry to golden brown, put in pressure cooker for 10 minutes , absolutely tender..

    I quarter them also before frying.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I tried backing them and rabbit and they where always very tough. My wife's grandmother made me rabbit and squirrel fried like chicken. The best I ever had . She used a cast iron skillet filled 1/4 to almost half way full of oil or shorting. Let it get hot. my wife always checks the temp by putting a little water on her finger and flicking it over the skillet. If it pops loudly it's hot if it only makes a little noise it's not hot enuf. Take a few eggs add a little milk and add salt pepper garlic powder onion powder or what ever spices you want . Dip your meat in the egg mixture then dip in flour. You can use a regular skillet if you don't have a cast iron. Then just fry untill golden brown. You can add the spices to the flour instead of the milk egg mixture if you like the breeding a little spicey both ways work.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jniedbalski View Post
    I tried backing them and rabbit and they where always very tough. My wife's grandmother made me rabbit and squirrel fried like chicken. The best I ever had . She used a cast iron skillet filled 1/4 to almost half way full of oil or shorting. Let it get hot. my wife always checks the temp by putting a little water on her finger and flicking it over the skillet. If it pops loudly it's hot if it only makes a little noise it's not hot enuf. Take a few eggs add a little milk and add salt pepper garlic powder onion powder or what ever spices you want . Dip your meat in the egg mixture then dip in flour. You can use a regular skillet if you don't have a cast iron. Then just fry untill golden brown. You can add the spices to the flour instead of the milk egg mixture if you like the breeding a little spicey both ways work.
    Your wife's grandmother and mine must have learned from the same teacher. My grandmother treated them the same way. The only advice I would add is experiment to figure out how to cook them just 'done' and not over-cooked and make sure if you are going to fry squirrel to only use young ones. If it's a big 'ol red squirrel with a gnad sack the size of an unhulled black walnut, best save him for the crock pot. Otherwise, you'll be chewin' until your jaws are sore.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Another way is to stuff the chest cavity with sausage, wrap in bacon and bake at low temp. for a couple hours.

  8. #8
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    I have never seen a squirrel big enough to eat. I have baked rabbit brushed with vegetable oil and Italian spices. I might give that a try.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  9. #9
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    Marinate first, use something with some acid(wine, vinegar, beer...), flour, pan fry in 1/2 inch of oil until the thickest part reaches 165 f for temp. It will not be as tender as chicken but good eats! Drain off most of the fat and make a pan gravy and mother it!

  10. #10
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    brine in 50/50 salt sugar for a day or two if you just want to pan fry.
    helps the drying out/toughening.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I have never seen a squirrel big enough to eat. I have baked rabbit brushed with vegetable oil and Italian spices. I might give that a try.
    It's akin to the quail situation. Better have a dozen or more, else they aren't worth the time and trouble, IMHO. I only eat the back from the ribs to the rear legs and the rear legs. The dog gets the front half raw. He seems to like the arrangement.
    Last edited by Hannibal; 01-06-2018 at 07:57 PM.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
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  12. #12
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    Always cut them up, par boiled for a few minutes, then fried like chicken. Ok.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    These are Central Wisconsin Squirrels. Plenty of meat on em.
    Attachment 211244

    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I have never seen a squirrel big enough to eat. I have baked rabbit brushed with vegetable oil and Italian spices. I might give that a try.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I throw them in a microwave pressure cooker and the cook them fried/breaded/baked even (hotwings) tender better than chicken ,just kill lots they go fast

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy GEOMETRIC's Avatar
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    My aunt aunt use to parboil them first. She wouldn't let you bring a rabbit in the house but she loved squirrel because her husband liked squirrel.(my aunt was sort of eccentric) She ate them, head & all. You can't feed a family of 4 with one squirrel but they are as big as most game birds, bigger than many. The way my family cooked them & the way I cook them is to first cut them up & soak them in salt water a couple hours, then fry them in batter like fried chicken until brown. You can eat the young tender ones at this point if you like. Then in another large cast iron skillet, saute onions, bell peppers, mushrooms & whatever else you like. Make gravy in the pain with the squirrels, lots of gravy, then add the veggies, cover & cook on low heat until tender. That usually takes a couple hours. Serve over grits or rice. Rabbits & marsh hens (clapper rails) are good the same way.
    Last edited by GEOMETRIC; 01-06-2018 at 08:30 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GEOMETRIC View Post
    My aunt aunt use to parboil them first. She wouldn't let you bring a rabbit in the house but she loved squirrel because her husband liked squirrel.(my aunt was sort of eccentric) She ate them, head & all. You can't feed a family of 4 with one squirrel but they are as big as most game birds, bigger than many. The way my family cooked them & the way I cook them is to first cut them up & soak them in salt water a couple hours, then fry them in batter like fried chicken until brown. You can eat the young tender ones at this point if you like. Then in another large cast iron skillet, saute onions, bell peppers, mushrooms & whatever else you like. Make gravy in the pain with the squirrels, lots of gravy, then cover & cook until tender. That usually takes a couple hours. Serve over grits or rice. Rabbits & marsh hens (clapper rails) are good the same way.
    I knew a man who would skin-out the head of squirrels and once cooked in a pressure cooker, he'd eat the brains and eye balls.

    I'll stick to the back and back legs.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy brewer12345's Avatar
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    I usually braise them, stew them or make squirrel pot pie. The last goes quick in my house.
    "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." - the Baron von Munchausen

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Braze what you can. Slow cook in a bit of water and cover to keep moisture in, pot cover or foil. Bacon wrap is OK too.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Mama was born in New Orleans, raised in west texas. I grew up eating squirrels. Grandpa was pretty good at it. He taught me a few things, momma too.

    Don't pan fry that tree rat, slow and wet is the secret.

    Momma would make Roux, tomatoes gravy, oyt 2 cut up squirrels down in that stuff and let it simmer from 9 am till supper time. Served with either rice or mashed taters, your choice of veg it is a meal fit for a king. Flavor, texture, gravy, it has it all. It is one of my favorites, but I have not had any in 20 years. I hung up my guns and get by with store bought chicken.

    Slow and wet keeps it from cooking too fast which turns it into shoe leather.
    Keeps it from drying out. Heat slowly breaks down the long muscle fibers until you get to where you pick up a leg bone and half the meat falls off back into the pot. Where at our house it was perfectly acceptable to take the spoon and fish it back out.

    The only thing better than squirrel cooked that way is to mix it up, add rabbit, venison, grouse, duck, whatever is available.

    But it has to have at least 1 squirrel in it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Hannibal my sister brought a friend home for supper one night, Squirrel was on the menu. She did fine till she saw mom go look for and find a head, and start sucking bits out of it. At which point she kind of lost it.

    Did not help when dad pointed out that it was out of her woods that I found those particular squirrels. She did admit though that the flavor was awesome.

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