Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grilled Whole Raccoon

We have developed a tradition within a tradition, over the last few years, of having some unusual foods along with our traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. This year for Christmas, along with prime rib, I grilled a whole raccoon. We had Dave and Bonnie Kenison visiting and they are always good sports and willing to try anything. The raccoon turned out to be a lot of work and a little traumatic for most everyone, because, ironically, it looked a little bit too much like a raccoon. I enjoyed it for that very reason, but was getting quite a bit of resistance and ultimately had to cut off the tail, head and feet in order to make it look more edible. It was a good lesson in presentation and how it can dramatically impact the desirability of food.

I ordered the raccoon off the internet and got it in a big frozen solid blob. It was not until it was thawing that I realized it still had the head, paws and tail.
The most shocking aspect of it was the tremendous amount of fat
on the back and hind legs. I pulled out some kitchen shears and began to snip and trim away most of the fat.
There was a prodigious amount.
The raccoon sans much of its fat: 
and
and
It sort of looked like a small dog.
Then I put it in boiling water for about 30 minutes. Because I did not have anything large enough to submerge it in, I put it in a large roasting pan,
first on one side for about 15 minutes, then on the other side for 15 minutes.That helped remove more of the fat and partially cooked the meat.
After boiling, I let it cool down, then rubbed the entire outside and inside with kosher salt.
I was able to cut off the head with a combination of scissors and a knife,
but those tools were not sufficient for the leg bones which were too thick to cut through. We did not have a saw with a small enough blade, but I finally thought of our tree trimmer which easily cut through the bones to detach the four feet and tail. I put the raccoon on our outside gas grill with the two outside burners on medium and the two inside burners turned off.
The raccoon was thus only getting indirect heat. Because of prime rib and other items cooking at the same time, I did not have access to a meat thermometer and had to guess when the raccoon was ready.
When it was finished, I let it sit for awhile before carving it. Going back to the preparation stage, several raccoon recipes I reviewed  provided for stuffing. I made a stuffing which included bread crumbs, onions and garlic, but found that I was not able to sew up the gut sufficiently to put all of the stuffing in and keep it there. From the picture below, you can see that I was able to fit in and retain some stuffing and it actually tasted quite good (there was plenty of fat to moisten it up in the gut).
The meat was all dark.
With the head and limbs removed and the meat cooked, family members started to come around a bit. I started to snitch pieces as I carved and was surprised out how unique the flavor was.
Perhaps more than anything I've ever eaten, it did not taste like anything else I've tried. It certainly did not taste like the proverbial chicken, or beaver, javelina or rabbit for that matter. The taste was quite strong,  particularly pieces with a little bit of fat, but it was not  livery, and it did not have the type of gaminess you typically get with venison, yet it had it's own unique after-taste. I enjoyed it quite a bit, as did Dave Kenison, but most everyone else was traumatized enough by the preparation that they only sampled small pieces. However, I think everyone did try at least a small piece. Below, raccoon meat on my plate (to the right) next to some prime rib (to the left).
Andrew photo-shopped a Norman Rockwell picture of a family being served a turkey dinner. He replaced the turkey with a raccoon and my head and Judy's head for the parents in the picture. We sent it around to the family by email and had a fun reaction to it. A picture of the raccoon, in preparation, also made it onto Facebook and got some strong reactions, as you would imagine. To say it was an unusual Christmas dinner would be a vast understatement.
I think this was my most unusual cooking experience. I really enjoyed it, except to the extent that it impacted the desire of others to try it. So much of the eating experience is mental. I would certainly eat raccoon again given the opportunity, but I don't think I'll be ordering it off the internet again.

94 comments:

  1. I got to hand it to you Uncle Bob, I am not sure I would've continued on after seeing that racoon in the roasting pan. That last "norman rockwell" picture really cracked me up!

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  2. Dear Bob,
    We've all read this post now and have just four things to say to you:
    1)ICK!!!!
    2) So THAT'S what happened to our dog....
    3) Can we send you a case of tuna?
    4) EOWW GROSS!
    Sincerely, Stan, Chris, McKay, Ashley, and Megan

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  3. Bob,
    Thanks for letting me share in a truly unique Christmas dinner. I'm sure there are many people in the Ozarks and elsewhere who would have found this to be the most natural thing in the world; but for the rest of us, it was a departure from the norm, and in a very positive way as far as I'm concerned. It turned out ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, and was an experience not to be forgotten!
    David

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  4. I have had some negative experiences in the past with raccoons and am more than happy to see one leave this mortal realm. (look at those teeth!) Even then, I wouldn't have been able to eat it with the head and legs still attached. YUCK!!

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  5. wow you sick ass!! why would you even post something like that on the internet?? my kids get on here! really!!

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    Replies
    1. then monitor your kids, asshat!!!!

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    2. You must be a hillary supporting idiot

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    3. You must be a hillary supporting idiot

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  6. Time for a better internet filter (no dead raccoon pictures). I respect your position if you are a vegetarian. If not, then I'm not the only one that is sick.

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  7. Thanks for allowing me to peer into what I am up against if I cook a raccoon. I had this meat some years ago and I really enjoyed the taste. I wanted a switch from the usual thanksgiving turkey and ham for the holiday, now I'm not sure after seeing it....

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  8. If nothing else, it made for a very memorable Christmas dinner, one that we'll never forget. However, my wife has asked me not to cook anything unusual for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year - so maybe that's your answer.

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  9. In regards to the 1st Anonymous commenter: you're worried about your kids seeing THAT on the internet? Surely you are aware that there is much, much, much, much, much worse out there???

    Anyway, I don't think I'd try this, but it's definitely interesting.

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  10. After much prodding by my kids, my wife has relented on the Christmas ban on weird meat. It looks like iguana and nilgai antelope will be on the menu. Should be fun.

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  11. Think raccoon gang will eat your children someday

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  12. You are a complete asshole! Why on earth would you cook a racoon with the full body intact? You ignorant SOB.

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  13. Thank you for educating me, linguistics and all.

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  14. Your are welcome, Bobbbbby. Tshhhhh. Seee... I am knocking at your dooooorrrrr. ^_^

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  15. That's awrsome..lol

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  16. I'm not a vegetarian, but I feel sick when I look at this. And don't let your children look at this. Just imagine the kid who saw the hero of his(her) favorite tale in such a way. No comments. Delete these pictures, PLEASE.

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    Replies
    1. Why should he delete the pictures, anonymous? It is his blog.

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  17. Bravo! Very interesting. And to the people who dislike this so much... well, change the proverbial channel. We live in a free country and if a guy wants to try raccoon meat then God bless him!

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  18. Bravo, Steve. It will be a freak country, if you think so. Bob can eat it, but he scares children with these horrible pictures...

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    Replies
    1. Than don't show the kids the pictures. Quite simple.

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  19. We dislike Bob so much. He hates animals, because they raped him in childhood. God bless him! One minute... What is God?)

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    Replies
    1. So, everyone who eats an animal that isn't "normal" is only eating it because they hate animals as they were raped in childhood?

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  20. omg i love this!!! it was a total train wreck for me! I no longer eat meat, eggs or dairy for that matter, but found this so fascinating!! Kudos to you (and your family!) for being so 'brave'!

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  21. Yes! Bob looks so bravely :))))))))))))))))))

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  22. Bob ate a dick of that poor raccoon, as seen on the eighth picture

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  23. i hope, someday a racoon will attack you in the wild and eats your dick off you fucking wanker! leave those animals where they belong and eat proper meat like cow or pig, chicken etc. If you want ill send you my adress so you can send me your pets cuz i dont wanna know where they'll end up..

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    1. Hey Anonymous, you are a feeble ignorant moron. Proper meat? Do you know where your cardboard box house is? Pound sand up your ass you retard.

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    2. You're a fucking retard. If you could read he meant Racoon aren't meant for food, unlike your moms fat cunt. Die you piece of shit.

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  24. ......what if it was a dog after all? It sure looked like one!!!!
    Are you mentally ok?

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    Replies
    1. Obviously not. He's dead behind the eyes.

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  25. Disgusting. My husband and I rehabilitate and release wildlife and raccoons are the most intelligent, playful, sweet and loving creature I have ever come across. They act very similar to a young child in terms of intelligence and playfulness.

    My children will grow up respecting wildlife, not cracking jokes about them and bragging about the "weird meat" they can eat.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations, you are to be commended.

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    2. Good for you Bob on your attitude toward all the people who have so rudely commented on your post. People used to hunt, and grow food. Many still do. They eat what there is. Not everybody goes to a supermarket to get fed. Lucky you who can. But if it ever comes down to it, you'll be the first ones to starve. :)
      We'll all have to learn to live without your criticisms. Boo hoo. We won't miss you. Neither will the raccoons.

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    3. Yes, it's called being civilised, Kootenay Brown.

      Any cultures who hunted treated the animals with respect and thanked the Earth for her sacrifice.

      We are talking about some grinning psycho who 'ordered it on the Interent' and decided to post his gratuitous pictures all over the Internet, thus foisting in upon those who have taken offence (as seen by the swathe of negative comments posted).

      This. Is. Just. Wrong.

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    4. Moon, I figured there was so much gratuitous flesh on the internet, I'd just add to it, being civilized and all. And thank you for foisting your comments, I'm sure no offense was intended?

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  26. You are fucked up

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  27. Wake up Bob! Wake uuuppp! Take a congratulations! You're a star! You must try to eat cheeks of your family members. It will be more tender delicacy for a real meat fan.

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  28. Bob,

    I am amazed at all of the hypocrites and their disparaging remarks. for the non-vegetarians, where do you think your food comes from? Have you never slaughtered and prepared your own chicken, duck or hog? Have you never attended a pig roast? In my view NO ONE, including children, should be allowed to eat any meat dish until and unless they have honored the source of such food by experiencing the entire process. Children would be better human beings for know where their food comes from. They would have a much better understanding of why humane slaughtering practices are important. If they decide based on these experiences that they prefer not to eat meat, good for them. But folks, enough of the hypocrisy. And thanks, Bob, for the very informative article!

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    1. I share your sentiments. In our society, most kids don't realize that a chicken had to die to make chicken mcnuggets. I think you can have greater reverence for life when you have to slaughter an animal to eat it and then really realize the full consequences of what your diet entails. Thanks.

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    2. Well then, it's a shame you ordered yours on the Internet, Mr Great White Hunter.

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  29. Wow. That's some gnarly looking animal. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. These images are disgusting and just the kind of imagery and the kind of presentation slave owner used in the south to describe the way a black mans flesh burnt from a tree. Why is it that man ( particularly men who believe they are the "chosen") consistently and under every guise want to prove their masculinity and dominion over every living thing - I accidentally found this blog and I can only say probably upon deaf ears; I WANT YOU TO COME BACK AS A RACCOON OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

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    Replies
    1. Now I'm a racist for eating raccoon. The world is full of crazies and it is abundantly clear I'm not the only one.

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    2. but you are the one who published these pictures :/

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    3. LOL! How in the WORLD do you go from preparing/ eating raccoon to slavery?! Where is the correlation?!

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    4. Never mind him, Bob...it is gross and I wouldn't eat it, but I don't judge you. As for that left wing moron's ranting....I have no words for the stupidity.

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  31. Bravo Bob, I am a hunter and trapper. I have and will continue to trap and eat raccoon. To all of you who don't like Bob for trying raccoon, tough - get over yourselves. This country has become such a bunch of whiney tree hugging brats, that are completely out of touch with where your cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches come from. If you don't want to eat meat, then don't.

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    Replies
    1. you're wrong. you're a pithecanthropus!

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    2. Bravo to you that you trap, hunt and eat raccoons. Do you also allow them to suffer in the traps for days before you check on them. Wow I'm sure you think you're the next Daniel Boone!!!

      Oh, and by the way.... I do like to eat meat, and I'm very aware of where it's coming from.

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    3. Why don't you go screw yourself you troll.

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    4. Trapping piece of shit. I hope you die in the most brutal way possible. Uneducated, inbreed, piece of shit.These right wing fucks think they know everything. You fucking brain washed cunt. These are the assholes who turned on the news and think what they see is real. You're just a fucking slave to the Jews you retarded jackass. Go hang yourself, the whole world hates you.

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    5. Better than Rosetta Stone for learning French.

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  32. I wonder what's next for you...Whatever it is, I trust you won't share it with the world this time. This is sick and disgusting.

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    1. Isn't it crazy what they allow on the internet nowadays? I suggest you get a real good filter.

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    2. Bob,
      I hope your next meat adventure is with a penguin. Those tuxedo looking ice dwellers have it coming to them.

      Feast on!

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    3. I don't know that they have it coming to them, any more than a chicken, a pig or a cow has it coming to them, but polar bears, arctic foxes and sharks seem to enjoy them. I assume that they probably taste okay.

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  33. Bob has the smile of a true masochist.

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  34. You're all being stupid. It is somewhat gross looking. But hey, it's not a Dog, it's a wild animal.. Let people eat what they want (as long as it's legal, a Chinese place around where I live got busted for selling cat meat)It's fine. Stop acting like he's eating a pet.

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  35. Most Americans are in denial of the fact that meat comes from REAL LIVE ANIMALS! Heads, paws/hooves, and tails. They just walk into the supermarket and buy the "prepared" result of the slaughter that was done to insulate them from the reality that they want to hide from. To all of you that are disgusted by the reality of being a carnivore, You are hypocrites! If you can't stand to see the butchering, then give up your turkey or prime rib! You are the ones with a problem!

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  36. I only hope to see someday a wholly grilled holder of this blog. Eating raccoons is disgusting.

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  37. Your civility and refinement are truly heart warming. I hope you will enjoy me when I am fully grilled, although I hope to be a little tough and grizzled, I'm sure you'll still enjoy.

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    1. congrats! your brains already grilled :|

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  38. Agree with Anon post from Aug 28.
    I'm a vegetarian who was looking for cute raccoon pics and came across this site–the irony of which amuses me. I was a bit disgusted, sure, but if Bob still had an appetite after the preparation of his meal, that's more than fine with me. Besides, I kept reading and looking, right?

    This is where meat comes from. How is the consumption of meat "better" if it comes from a grocery store with packaging that spares you the sight of fur, paws, heads?

    I'd rather eat this raccoon than an animal subjected to the miseries typical of the cattle or pork industries.

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    1. Brianna, I don't think eating meat from a package that spares the head, fur and paws is better. I do think that occasionally in peoples lives, however, they need to be reminded that something was killed to give them that meat, whether it was a raccoon or a chicken or cow. I think part of the outrage that people have toward this sort of thing is the fact that they no longer have that association.

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  39. Came across this while looking for a raccoon skull to help identify a poor mangy animal that is floating about on facebook. I too found it hard to look at your pics but viewed your raccoon in a pan with morbid shivers. "I" wouldn't have been able to eat it either but the plate presentation was ok (as I gag) lol. My hunter husband knows better to hand me anything with head, beak, feathers, fur, tail, flopping or squawking and I don't apologize for it rofl! I'd share this with the hubs but not brave enough to handle the FB backlash with my rescue buddies. I've favorited you, you are like the the Steven King of Cruisine :). Thanks for the Twilight (OLD twilight) moment.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to hold down your dinner. That would have been hard to handle as well! Lots of people live in a bubble, not realizing how horrible the animals they are eating look, and I'm talking about chickens and cows. Our current animals of choice in the popular culture, fed a diet they were not born to eat, bred to be fat (so they can't fly, like turkeys and chicken), cooped up in small pens. Now that is really gross. But it is okay because all we see is a tray of fat chicken breasts at Costco, or a nice plastic entombed turkey with the gizzards at Albertson's, heart and liver in a bag inserted inside. But you are right, the anonymous backlashers do like to have fun.

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  40. I think I just vomited in my throat. That's disgusting.

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    1. Ano - you vomited in your throat? Now that is disgusting!

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  41. BIATCH BOB!
    YUCKY!

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  42. That's so fucked up I wonder if that falls under the animal cruelty act

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    1. Are you talking about the trapper that trapped the coon, or the person who cooked it? Or are you talking about Zacky Farms that raised the chicken in a pen that it could not move around in, then slaughtered it on an assembly line, or the poor sod that cooked the chicken breasts and thighs in some hamburger helper, figuring it was made out of congealed soy beans. I'm glad its got you riled up.

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    2. Or that's not cruelty, that's how you humanely kill an animal. Shooting a raccoon and eating it for 'the fucks' is just fucking disgusting and so is hunting. It has no purpose. God's creations and the souls he put into them aren't your fucking game to be playing.

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    3. I'm a little concerned about your soul and God as well. So much "f...ing". I think anger is also a sin isn't it. Perhaps I can work on the gluttony thing and you can work on the language and anger. The world will be a better place.

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  43. Never. They eat garbage and are lousy with parasites.

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  44. Given a chance people would want to try tasting human flesh of different races ... I wish that day won't come

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  45. In this comment thread are a lot of people who just found out where the pretty looking meat on their plates comes from. Yup, even a slice of steak starts out with 4 feet and a head.

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  46. Your all retarded. I bet at least half of you cannot figure out the error in my first sentence. Have you ever seen lambs, chickens, ducks, cows, goats being processed so that they may one day enter the mouths of your fat disgusting faces?

    Take a look at yourselves before you judge Bob. Just because you're more 'used' to seeing the preparation of normal animals for food does not make him a bad person -- it just proves to the world that when all you retards die off, the average american IQ will rise.

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    1. The words 'American', 'IQ' and 'rise' all in the same sentence? Now, THAT is funny.

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    2. you're* all retarded

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  47. Before calling others retarded or whatever.. we should think if eating meat is humane or not. I think this link has very good explanation on what I wanted to say about this point - https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120213132818AAFMJUD

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  48. Bob, Raccoon is poor man's Prime Rib from Centuries. There is no other meat so rich and flavorful in the woods of America than Raccoon. Thanks for cooking in California. You have set a new trend for California cooking.

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  49. Wow all of this over a piece of meat and I'll be willing to bet at least 85% of these dummies eat beef,pork.chicken or another type of meat so just shut up and pick better battles.

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  50. Wow all of this over a piece of meat and I'll be willing to bet at least 85% of these dummies eat beef,pork.chicken or another type of meat so just shut up and pick better battles.

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  51. this is gross... i hope you die from dysentery...

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    1. The anti-people on this post are a pretty grim crowd. I'll wish for you a nice veggie burrito at Chipotle.

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  52. Bob I loved ur post have always looked at trying other animals to eat and how to prepare them. those people have no clue on how to servie if the shit got rough. all they know is hoe to go to the supper market and get there food. we will be the servivers at the end of the day!!!!! the weak will parish couse they can only eat from the market!!!!!!

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