Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Cook a Skunk.


I don’t know if you will ever need or want this information, neither do I know how a French chef became an expert on the topic. Here they are, however - instructions on how to skin and cook a skunk , from What to Eat, and how to Cook It (New York, 1863) by Pierre Blot. The preliminary instructions are generic to a few other delicacies.

Opossum, Otter, Raccoon, Skunk, Woodchuck, Fox, etc.
We cannot say that we have had much experience in cooking the above, but all these animals are eaten by many persons in different parts of this and other countries. We have eaten of all of them except the raccoon, and we must say that we found them good.
It is well known that when our soldiers retook possession of Ship Island, they found plenty of raccoons on it, and ate all they could catch. One day we happened to meet a sub-officer who was there at the time, and enquired of him about it. He said he had never eaten any raccoons before, and did not know that they were eatable; but now he would eat them as readily as rabbits, as they were quite as good.
The best time to eat either of the animals enumerated above is from Christmas to the 15th of February; squirrels also are not good in warm weather.

How to prepare them.—As soon as the animal is killed skin it, take the inside out, save the liver and heart, and wash well with lukewarm water, and a little salt, in and outside; then wipe dry with a towel, put inside of it a few leaves of sage, bay leaves, mint and thyme, and sew it up. Hang it outside in a place sheltered from the sun, such as the northern side of a building; leave it thus five or six days, then take off and cook.

How To Skin A Skunk.
We were hunting one day in New Jersey, northwest of Paterson, with a friend and two farmers living there, when one of them shot a skunk. We asked him how much he could get for the skin. He said it was not worth-while to take it to town, but that he would eat the animal, as it was very good.
We thought at first that he was joking; but putting his gun and game bag to the ground, he looked at us earnestly and said, “Gentlemen, you seem to doubt; I will show you how it is done.” We soon saw that we had been mistaken.
He made a fire, took hold of the skunk by the head with one hand, and with a stick in the other, held the skunk over the fire. He burnt off nearly all the hair, taking care to avoid burning the skin, commencing at the hind legs; then, -with his hunting knife, he carefully took off the bag containing the fetid matter, and skinned and cleaned it.
We then examined the stunk, and although it had not been washed, we could not find any part of it which had smell, and if we had not seen the whole operation, we certainly would not have thought that it was a skunk, the very name of which is repulsive.
The following week we dined with the farmer, ate some of that identical skunk, and found it very good.

8 comments:

srhcb said...

A friend who is half Chippewa/Ojibway says that his grandmother claimed to have cooked and eaten skunk. He does remember her cooking porcupine, which he said was a pretty good, rather sweet tasting meat.

Lapinbizarre said...

Brillat-Savarin lived in Boston & NY for three years in the mid-1790's, a refugee from the Revolution, and left some remembrances of rural American cuisine (I recall something on hunting and cooking the wild turkey). Wonder if skunk was on the menu.

Emma said...

You never know when this will come in handy :)

Les said...

I've always read skunk and raccoon should be parboiled before roasting. I wonder how 'ripe' the meat would be after hanging for a few days or if it would remove the gaminess.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks, all, for your comments. there are no skunks in Australia, so I probably wont ever get the chance to try it (I think I am a little relieved!) I doubt there is a woodland critter that hasnt been eaten at some time or other. I will see what else I can find out about skunk-eating.

Les said...

Have you ever seen Camp Cookery by Horace Kephart? I have my grandfathers well worn and noted edition. Kephart has many recipes for unusual game. I sort've get the feeling the guy would skin and eat most anything that moved and could be shot or trapped. The book included everything you need to know about supplying a camping trip, setting up kitchen, how to dress and preserve game pluse recipes.

I don't know if I've ever sent you the link before but here goes:

http://books.google.com/books/about/Camp_Cookery.html?id=CFwEAAAAYAAJ

Shay said...

Camp Cookery is available at archive.org.

http://archive.org/details/campcookery00kephgoog

The first problem with cooking skunk is of course how to kill it without setting off the odiferous defense mechanism.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Les and Shay for the links. I dont really fancy skunk even if it is de-odorised!