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30 responses to “On Cooking Squirrels”

  1. maria

    i would never have thought that squirrel could be hunted – interesting post

  2. maryann

    Memories of my brothers cooking up squirrel are running around my head. They braised them in tomato sauce. Interesting. Not much meat for the effort..but if I had to survive in the woods I’d consider it good eating :)

  3. Brook

    Thank goodness there’s somebody else who recognizes the squirrel as great eats!

    People think I’m kidding when I tell them I prefer squirrel to venison. But it’s the truth. Squirrel is one of the most versatile game meats around. Plus, of course, in most areas, bag limits are generous, and the treerats are plentiful.

    Thanks for a great story.


  4. Josh

    I’ve been trying to get back up and squirrel hunt for some years, but I’d been handicapped by the lack of a good, solid spot… until now. I love squirrel, and you are right about the derogatory comments. Also, I’ve been eyeballing the clan o’ bushytails in my own backyard, living in the gigantic walnut tree. Could I replace the almonds in the recipe with walnuts?

  5. emilie

    so our local tree squirrels would not be good eats? the recipe sounds like a tasty treat to go with our mild fall weather. I think I’ll try it with the more readily-available chicken. thanks!

  6. cathie

    My husband brought in a flying squirrel, expecting me to do something with it! No internet then; I made up a way to cook it. He ate with relish; I loved the gravy!!

  7. Ryan

    The colors are just eye popping! Hank, every post you make just blows me away.

  8. Jeff

    Well! You learn something new every day. I didn’t know others knew how good squirrel tasted. I grew up on a dairy farm in central Michigan.
    As a boy, in the late ’60s, I couldn’t wait for the school bus to drop me back off at home. I would race upstairs; change my clothes; grab my dad’s 22 from the gun cabinet; and jog right past the barn and back the lane. “Back the Crick” was my wonderland and it was full of fat, corn-fed Fox Squirrels. They were fast and cunning. Always watching you from the opposite side of the limb or branch and hardly ever offering a good shot.
    Sometimes it would take me a week or two to have enough to make a good meal. But those fat corn-fed squirrels were so incredibly great tasting. Way better than chicken or rabbit. Rabbit seemed rubbery and tough compared to squirrel.
    As long as we cleaned it, my mother always cooked everything me or my brothers ever harvested. Sometimes she would mix several things in to feed us all (11 kids.) I don’t remember how she cooked them, but your way sure looks tasty.
    You know your stuff Hank.

  9. Kevin

    I HAVE to try this. Really. I know someone who bags them regularly, and [brace yourself], leaves them for the local cats. I must request a few to give squirrel a go.

  10. Heather

    I knew squirrel would taste like a nuttier rabbit! I just knew it. Did you ever see that funny youtube with the squirrel melt lady? Gold, I tell you.

  11. Beverly

    Well, I’ve raised, harvested, and eaten my own chickens and meant to do the same with rabbits (till a neighbor’s dog got in and killed ‘em all).

    For as many squirrels as I have raiding my bird-feeders, I could eat ‘em for a month and not run out! And I would, too…if I could shoot a gun inside town limits. Well…and if I were a hunter. Oh…and if I had a gun. [sigh]

    I really enjoy your site…I’ll be back!

    Good Eats!

  12. matt wright

    A wonderful blog. This is my first time visit, and certainly not my last. Squirrel is great – much underated, mainly I think because people see it as a fluffy rat.

  13. Sam Sotiropoulos

    I have never eaten or hunted squirrels but this posting has made a believer out of me. I have heard of squirrel pie, but I really did not know that squirrels were such a popular game meat until reading this post.

  14. Mike

    I stumbled upon this site after I’d already started squirrel dinner in a crockpot. The weekend before I’d made a squirrel cobbler (the recipe is in the L.L. Bean wild game cookbook) and it was very good, but I wanted to try something different (it’s also Thursday and I don’t have much time to cook on weekdays, as I work in NYC and live in NJ). Will report back. . .

  15. Mike

    Well, the squirrel was very tasty in the crockpot (lightly browned pieces with one can mushroom soup, vidalia onion, red wine, carrot, sour cream last hour). BUT the bones nearly ruined it. Long-period crockpot cooking dissolves the ligaments that hold bones together, and squirrels have many, many tiny ones. I should have remembered this! (Or listened to my wife!) I will either roast them whole from now on or stick with the recipes that require the meat to be removed from the bone before combining it with other ingredients.

  16. Mike T.

    Squirrel season usually is during deer season i always take a .22 or .410 and there have been times, i was able to make squirrel stew for the whole camp. (i’m drooling again)! — Mike T.

  17. Korgan

    I’m in Arkansas for another 6 weeks and live in a quiet city full of oak trees, and there are dozens of squirrels around. I’m thinking of catching some, but an article I read online about rabies is putting me off. But if and when I do, I plan on making a squirrel stock in our slow cooker. I imagine that would be the easiest and most delicious product of squirrel.

  18. Matt

    You know, I’ve noticed that a good number of those hunters that look down at squirrel hunting are the ones that spend thousands of dollars on special dogs, dog training, and fancy engraved shotguns that shoot expensive ammunition, all to hunt birds the size of a 12 year old girls’ fist. I regard them as a sort of throwback aristocracy, with the usual disdain for anything associated with the peasantry . Squirrel hunting could not be better suited for us peasants – delicious table meat that can be harvested with a simple .22 caliber rifle and it’s ubiquitous, dirt cheap ammo. To the aristocracy I leave the fancy engraved shotguns, shooting jackets, tea time and frilly underwear. I’m gonna eat me some SQUIRRELS.

  19. Simon

    My first hunting trip for squirrels was sucessful this year. Only my second ever suqirrel! I brought a potato, onion, some basil salt and pepper and made stew, sheltering from the rain under a huge boulder. I walked out of the forest just after sunset feeling very at peace with the world.

    I’ll be going again soon.

  20. Rufus

    Squirrel pot pie.

  21. Percy

    Just curious, is there a way for people who want to eat squirrel in the western states to harvest the introduced and invasive Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) and Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)? The Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is a state-listed Threatened species in Washington state, I believe a Species of Concern in Oregon, a federal Species of Concern, and has been extirpated from some areas in California. Their populations have been declining, not because of hunting (which has little or no effect on populations), but primarily because of habitat loss, disease, and competition with its more aggressive eastern cousins. The introduced squirrels, which likely have no protections at all in the western states, are concentrated mainly in residential areas, which means they probably cannot be *hunted* per se. Live-trap-and-eat? Disclosure–I am a biologist and not a hunter, although not anti-hunting (wild game is my favorite food). I am lucky enough to have the delightful Douglas Squirrels (Tamiasciurus douglasii, or “chickaree,” “pine squirrel,” “red squirrel”) regularly visit my porch, one of which will take hazelnuts from my hand (she was born in a dead tree cavity on my property). Unlike the gray and fox squirrels of the genus Sciurus, the Tamiasciurus squirrels are much smaller and territorial year-round, so they occur at relatively low population densities. Being somewhat of a squirrel snob, I must say that our Western Grays are really lovely compared to the eastern squirrels–so fluffy and silver, the epitome of squirreldom.

  22. Chris R

    Found your post surfing for squirrel recipes. Looks great – I’ll definitely have to try. If you want a real challenge try squirrel hunting with a blowgun. It has the added benefit of not scaring off the other squirrels in the area and its relatively easy to become proficient with a blowgun.

  23. Virginia C

    My husband just tried your recipe. I have to say I was hesitant to taste it, but found it quite delicious. We are usually vegetarian. We try to live by the idea that if you are going to eat meat you should kill it yourself as to not be disconnected from the process. One suggestion I do have would be to leave out the olives. I would possibly add leeks or scallions instead. My brother, husband and I all seemed to agree that we didn’t care for the olives. However, the rest of the recipe was spot on. We had no idea how to cook this squirrel and braising it was most definitely the way to go! Thanks for a great post! Just a little background- we are just learning about hunting and our dinner came from a squirrel that had been raiding our vegetable garden. Hopefully we sent a message to his friends!

  24. Ray Fiveash

    People, people: It is hard for me to think so many of you have never eaten squirrel. I live in Georgia and have been hunting and eating squirrel since I was about 7 or 8 years old, I’ll be 61 in a few days. Just got home and cleaned 9 that my 10-year-old grandson and I killed this morning, in the woods behind my house, next to the creek. We will clean and cut up in a few minutes. Then we will get busy cooking them for supper tonight.

    Take the pieces and shake on salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper (just a little), chili powder, and just a dab of cocoa, set aside and clean and cut up some collard greens, and start to cook with some water and a couple of strips of bacon. When collards are tender and almost done, heat cast-iron skillet and some evoo and brase squirrel on med. heat turning to cook on either side. When you think it is almost done, take from pan and drop into collard greens. gently stir into greens let cook about 30 minutes on med low heat. Take off heat let it sit 10 minutes to cool just a bit. Get a bowl and pig out. Oh, you gotta have corn bread, too.

  25. James

    A great piece. I’ve spent most of my life hunting squirrels. With dogs and without. It’s probably next to rabbit what I enjoy the most. Deer come in a distant 3rd although with the abundance of them these days and the ruination of the small game ethos in order to hunt from September to December down here… You need to hunt deer.

    My hats off to a fellow small game enthusiast!

  26. Al rodente: Could squirrel meat come back into vogue? | Grist

    [...] are also delicious, mostly because they eat nuts. “ Rabbits — they’re grass eaters. The flavor is milder. Squirrels taste like [...]

  27. frozen fred

    I must be cooking them wrong. Tastes like shoe, and about as tender. Overnight marinade in OJ made it a little more palatable, but seriously, better than venison? And why use a .22 when you have a 110 conibear?

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