Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beaver Tail and Bacon Baked Beans

I cooked beaver tail once before and found it quite unappetizing. However, I've been thinking about ways to prepare it differently to make it more palatable and even enjoyable. The biggest draw-back to beaver tail is the weird Styrofoam-like texture, and that without any real flavor.   

I decided to try and remedy those problems in several ways. First, instead of boiling the beaver tail, I would cut it into small pieces and fry it with bacon and added smoked salt. The hope was that frying it would break down the texture, even melt it a bit, into something that felt less artificial. Second, the smoky salt and bacon fat would infuse the beaver tail with flavor. And third, I would add it to some baked beans with the intent of making the beaver tail a secondary ingredient instead of the main event. 
Beaver tail on a grill.
This beaver tail was a little smaller than the one I had last time. I heated up our outdoor gas grill to high and put the tail on the grill right above the fire. I let the outer layer bubble up on both sides, but should have left it on a little longer. Portions of the outer tail peeled off, but other portions were tough to separate and I had to resort to kitchen shears and some scraping with a sharp knife to get the inner meat (fat) off. With a longer cooking time, the tail separates more easily. 
The tail has started to bubble and curl. 
Some portions of the outer tail came off easily.
Some portions of the outer layer were difficult to remove.
Pieces of the inner tail meatt had to be scraped off with a knife, like that above.
Using kitchen shears the inner tail meat was cut into small pieces. The tail bone that extends into the tail was difficult to trim meat away from, so I ultimately put it into the pot with the cut up meat. 
Much of the core around the tail bone (bottom) was too difficult to access with kitchen shears or knife. 
Chunks of tail meat. These ultimately were cut into even smaller pieces. 
I diced a yellow onion and put it with a half-pound of apple wood bacon and the sliced up beaver meat into a pot. The stove was on medium heat so that it would not get too hot too fast. I put a little bit of olive oil in initially to provide some lubrication and added bonfire salt. 
Tail meat/fat, bacon and onions.
I cooked it quite awhile, wanting the beaver meat to break-down and crisp-up while at the same time getting it infused with the flavor of the bacon and salt. The melted, crispy pieces of beaver meat were much more enjoyable and this was a big improvement.
Cooked until quite crispy.
Some crispy little pieces we sampled.
The addition of the baked beans was also a positive. Baked beans traditionally have pieces of meat in them anyway and this just adds a little bit more. The sweet of the brown sugar in the baked beans complemented the smoky, fatty taste and it was very good. The Styrofoam-texture was gone, although the texture was still a little crisp and the size reduced. 

A nice bowl of baked beans, bacon and beaver tail meat.
Beaver tail is very fun to cook because it is so unusual. This preparation allows the final product to be edible and less in-your-face because it melds into the texture of the baked beans. 
A breakfast of two over-easy eggs and baked beaver tail beans.

3 comments:

  1. Looks really good. I can picture a trapper on the 1800s eating that

    ReplyDelete
  2. Definitely an improvement over last time, but it sure is a lot of work for a little bit of meat.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This reminds me of the days I use to slip spinach into lettuce salads or chop broccoli into tiny pieces and put it into the casserole to get my kids to eat their vegetables.

    ReplyDelete