Selected North Georgia Varmit Meals
(Ya'll can click on the pictures for some sound clips.)
Submitted for your consideration
by Mary Ellen (Shiloh) Yoder:
My Mama always said: "If it grows hairs on it, ya'll can eats it."
Possums and Taters by Mary Ellen Yoder:
Mary Ellen says:
" First, catch a possome. This is good fun activity on a Saturday night. Espeshially after some drinkin ....."
" Clean yer possome:
A good size possome can reach 9 pounds and provide a family decent meal.
Possomes are much harder to kill than rabbits which are a snap to kill with a sharp blow behind the neck with a stick. Once ya'll kill it, remove head, tail, and feets at the knees. Possomes got stink glands under the front legs and in the small a the back which should be removed when it is cleaned and skun. The fat is not strong flavored or smelly but some fancy cooks remove all the body fat to make the meat less greasy. But Daddy always said that a little grease is great body lube."
8 sweet or reglar taters
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups sorghums syrup
a pound a bacon from the Piggly Wiggly
Skun the possome and remove the head and feets. After ya'll skun it, be sure to wash it thoroughly. Freeze overnight in a refrigerator. It's not always cold enuf outside. When ready to cook, peel the taters and boil them in salted water along with the butter and sorghum syrup. At the same time, stew the possum tender in a tightly covered pan with a little water. Sometimes they have an odor. Arrange the taters around the possome, strip with bacon, sprinkle with some fancy spices or just pepper, and brown that bad boy in the oven. Baste often with the drippins.
Mmmm mmmm good.
Serves about 4.
Mary Ellen Yoder's Woodchuck Stew:
" Woodchuck, called groundhogs by some Yankees, should be cleaned and skunned just like possoms. My uncle Ralph calls them Yard Rats. The blood should be drained, and the inerds removed. When hung for 48 hours, they are ready to the skunned and cooked.
Chuck meat is dark, but mild flavored and tender. It does not require soakin; however, many people like to soak it overnight in salt water. If the chuck is caught just before he begins his hibernatin time, there is a fat layer under the skin. That ya'll can remove and render it down in a fryin pan to make good cracklins. Try to take out the scent glands in the small of the back and under the front legs. Parboil the meat of older critters; cook by recipes callin for chicken, rabbit or general wild varmit."
1 big chuck
2 onions, sliced, and some okras
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Vinegar and water
Salt and pepper
Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into chunks. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain, wash, and wipe off. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boilin water. Add one sliced onion, the okra, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour. Serve with fresh collard greens.
Roasted Coon and Sweet Taters by Mary Ellen Yoder:
1 coon, dressed
2 red pepper pods, (whole peppers)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp sage
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 large sweet taters
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
" Remember to clean up the coon first, removin all the sent glands like possom and chucks. Stinks up the kitchen if ya don't...."
Place the coon in a large pot with the peppers. Cover with water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove coon from the pot and place on a rack in a roastin pan.
Pour the lemon juice on the coon. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and sage.
Place the taters in the pan around the coon. Add 1 cup of water.
Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger.
Sprinkle on the sweet taters. Ya'll can use sorghum syrup instead of brown sugar.
Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until the meat is crisp and brown.
Broiled or Fried Squirrel by Mary Ellen Yoder:
" Squirrel is one of the finest and tenderest of all wild meats. It's flavor is mild, rarely gamey. There is no need for soakin, and seldom any need for parboilin unless they're old. They should be cleaned as soon as possible after shootin, but ya'll can wait to skun 'em til they're ready to be cooked."
Clean squirrels and rub with salt and pepper. Brush with bacon fat or lard and place on hot broilin rack. Broil 40 minutes, turnin frequently and bastin with drippins every 10 minutes. Serve with gravy from drippins and season with 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice.
Make sure all the hair is cleaned offa the squirrel. Cut it up. If it's old and tough, put it in the pot for about 15-20 minutes. Salt and pepper it. Cover with flour and fry in a cast iron skillet on a medium fire until brown and tender. This is a real sweet meat. Ya'll can smother a squirrel just like a chicken. Serve with fresh greens and baked taters.
2 Squirrels feed 2.
(by popular request)
Skunk Skillet Stew by Mary Ellen Yoder :
" I kilt a skunk a last year durin fur-bearin season that was diggin round in the undergrowth. I shot it square in the back of head at 15 yards with my bolt action Marlin 881 .22 long rifle. I told my man Cyril I really wanted it mounted because they make beautiful mounts. But he said we should cook it up and mount each other instead. Good idea, honey cheeks.
If ya'll shoot a skunk just right at the base of the skull and back of the neck he won't spray, or ya'll can get 'em like Uncle Ralph does - traps 'em and drowns 'em.
Here in Georgia we can kill skunks durin small game season with a gun, but when it comes to trappin we have to wait until fur-bearin season which is December 1, I think. I always use gloves when I picks 'em up... most of our skunks here where I live are smaller body'd but still good eatin. Ma always said: " If it grows hair on it, ya'll can eats it."
(A sensory entree really appreciated by the outdoors type)
Two adult skunks, skunned, de-boned and shredded like pork. Carefully save the scent glands under the tail and set aside.
¼ cup melted lard, ¼ cup butter; 2 cups finely chopped celery; ¼ cup finely chopped collard greens; 2 cloves garlic, finely minced; 1 bay leaf (optional); 2 carrots, chopped; 2 tablespoons flour; 2 cups beef broth; ½ can beer ; 3 or 4 good shots a Everclear grain alcyhol (corn likour or Vodka works); 2 ripe, red tomatoes; 1 cup chopped okra; 1 can black-eyed peas from the Piggly Wiggly, drained; salt and pepper to taste; some lemon juice; ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While waitin, drink the resta the beer, and one or two more.
In large skillet, brown skunk well in lard and butter; add okra and carrots and stir until lightly browned. Sprinkle with flour. Add broth as needed when mixture starts to brown. Stir to dissolve brown particles. Add remainin broth, Everclear, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, salt and pepper. Place in oven, cover and bake three hours. Time enuf for some outdoor lovin.
Strain gravy, pressin as mucha cooked vegetable mixture as possible through sieve. Bring strained mixture to boil. Add lemon juice, nutmeg.
Carefully puncture scent glands and add their juice to mixture. Simmer five minutes. Pour sauce over skunk. A real treat for the outdoor-lover. Or just yer outdoor lover. Ya'll know what I mean. Serves at least four.
Muskrat Pie by Mary Ellen Yoder:
" Skun and clean a young muskrat and remove the scent kernels under the front legs and in the smalla the back. Soak overnight in water seasoned with a handfula salt. In the mornin wash, rinse, and wipe the animal dry. Skrat meat is nice and pink...."
Put the meat in a large pan, cover with fresh water, all tied together, an onion stuck with a clove, 10 peppercorns, and salt to taste. Cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender, skimmin the broth from time to time. Remove the meat and reduce the cookin liquid over a high flame to about 1 quart. In the reduced liquid cook until tender 2 onions, sliced, and 1 ½ cups each raw potato cubes, chopped celery, and chopped carrots and okra.
Remove the meat from the bones and cut it into small pieces. Put the meat in a deep bakin dish and add the cooked vegetables. Strain the juice and reduce it to at least 1 cup. Add 3 tablespoons whatever wine ya'll got (if ya'll don't have any wine use a half a can a beer) and stir in ½ tablespoon flour mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the sauce over the meat in the bakin dish. Top with 1 cup mushroom caps, cooked in butter and drained, and cover the top with some flaky pie pastry made with butter flavered Crisco. Wet the edges and press em carefully around the rima the dish. Cut several gashes in the pastry to allow for the escape a steam. Brush with melted butter and bake in a hot oven (425° F.) for 10 minutes, or until the crust is brown.
Serves about 6.
Country Fried Beaver by Mary Ellen Yoder:
" Skun and clean a young beaver. Since ya'll are gonna skun it anyhow, I think it's a bit silly to shave yer beaver just for this. Espeshially yer legs. Unless ya'll ready did. Ya'll be removin the scent glands from the smalla the back and under each front leg between the ribs and shoulders anyways.
Note: Once the animal is done skunin:
'skrat, chuck, beaver, coon, or varmits may be cooked in the same various ways."
2-3 lbs beaver steaks ½ inch thick
Bacon grease ( OK with cracklins)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 medium onions
1 can cream a mushroom soup from the Piggly Wiggly
1 can or ½ lb mushrooms
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a zipper bag or 2 quart tupperware and shake until mixed. Then put in beaver and shake until well coated. Save remainin flour. Cut up the onions. Melt enough bacon grease in the bottom a fry pan to cook the onions and beaver. Fry onions and floured beaver in bacon grease, turnin often and addin more grease as needed. Place beaver aside.
Combine soup and mushrooms in fryin pan. Dissolve 2 to 3 heapin tbsp a seasoned flour in 2 cups cold water. Add to soup mix and simmer 5 minutes. Add beaver and onions to mix and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
Creamed Quail Casseroll by Mary Ellen Yoder:
" Small birds like quail and baby pigeons are usually not worth pluckin the whole bird like it is with a chicken. There just ain't enuf meats anywhere else on the critter. I calls it " breastin", which leaves ya'll with the breast meat. Cleanin quail this way is fast and easy.
Take the kitchen shears and cut the wings off the bird. Ya'll could just yank em off, but some of the breast meat might be pullt off too. Put the wings in the paper bag. (Note: It's good to clean up as ya'll go, otherwise feathers can gets everywhere and make quite a mess that takes much longer to clean up at the end)
Remove the head by either yankin it off with yer hands which involves puttin the head between yer index and forefinger whilst holdin the body of the bird in yer other hand, twistin and pullin. Makes a cool poppin sound when it comes off. Or ya'll can use the kitchen shears and cuts the head offa the base of the neck.
Flip the bird over so that the breast or underside of the bird is facin ya'll. With yer thumb and index finger pluck the feathers from the breast. Yank em out quick like. Make sure yer hands are dry, otherwise the feathers will stick to yer hands.
Where the breast bone meets the back it forms a point. Put both of yer thumbs on that point and press quick like to break the skin.
Insert yer thumbs about one inch and pull the body in half.
This will separate the breast from the back.
Clean out the guts, pellets (if it was shot) and wash with cold water.
Place the cleaned bird in the pot and do the next one."
8 quail breasts.
1 can cream a chicken soup from the Piggly Wiggly.
1 tablespoon a butter.
Salt and black pepper, to taste.
¼ cup of milk.
¼ cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced.
Brush the quail breasts with a small amount a butter and brown in a casseroll pot in hot oven.
Cream together the soup, butter, seasonins and milk. Pour over browned quail breasts.
Sprinkle with the thinly sliced mushrooms. Ya'll can crush some Ritz crackers on top too.
Cover and bake at 300°F for a bit less than an hour.
Bobcat crock pot stew by Mary Ellen Yoder:
" In Georgia, bobcats are called by the Department Of Wildlife as both game and furbearin varmits. So huntin and trappin can go on durin reglar seasons. Now bobcat meat is white and mild. As long as it's a younger animal you shouldn't a had to tenderize it all. My smartalex hubsand told me once that it tastes and smells like reglar pussy only gameyer. The only real meaty parts are the back straps (tenderloyns) on each side of the backbone and offa the front shoulders and rear hams.
Carefully skun the animal because you can sell the pelt for about $45- $150 dependin on the condition. Trapped and bow hunted ones fetch more cause there ain't no firearms damage."
Carefully remove all meat from bone and cut into bite sized pieces. Place in a smooth surfaced skillet with butter or bacon fat, salt, pepper and garlic or whatever you like to taste. Cook gently, turnin often until done. Throw in potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, okra and green peppers and some water and wurchester sauce. Slow cook it to well done (to avoid trickynosis) about 6 hours in the crock pot. The meat looks and shreds like pork when it's done.
" No livin' varmits or humans was kilt or maimed in the creatin' a this page.
The dead ones were already."
" Make sure all wild meats are from healthy animals."