A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Cooking: How I carve up a squirrel

There are as many ways to gutt a squirrel as there are hunters. I'm not saying my way is the best way, but it has worked for me over the years.

I usually start by putting on a pair of rubber gloves, especially while hunting to keep my hands clean. Start by cutting off the tail. Save it as a trophy or use it to tie flies for fishing. There's a company that will purchase your tail collection for that very purpose. Next cut a slit about an inch above the tail. I sometimes find this cut the most difficult part of the process. Unlike a rabbit, a squirrels hide is amazingly tough. I strongly recommend gutting the squirrel as soon as possible after bagging it, before regor mortis sets in. After that the fir is extremely difficult to separate from the meat.

Put the point of the knife into the slit and cut the fir up to the back of the head. Peel back the fir. I sometimes will use a pair of pliers to help grip the fir. Try not to cut into the meat or you could puncture the organs and make a mess.

Use a pair of pliers to snap the bone above the paws. Finish removing them with a knife. Peel back the fir from the arms and legs, but leave the head attached to the pelt. The fir should come off similar to when you pull your arms from a tight sweater.

Use a sharp knife to remove the arms and legs at the joints. There's no need to cut open the squirrel and get into the organs. I personally think all the meat worth eating is in the arms and legs. Once they are removed the remains can be tossed in one piece and there's very little blood to clean up. If you do chose to eat the entire squirrel, cut off the head and toss the remains. Cut open the belly being sure not to puncture the organs. Clean it out and thoroughly wash the meat.

Wash the pieces and remove stray hair, then thoroughly dry the meat. Get a small sandwich-size zip lock bag and use a Sharpie marker to date it. Toss the meat in your freezer. When you plan to thaw and cook the meat, I suggest soaking it in salt water overnight to remove any gamey taste.

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