Squirrel brains are overlooked delicacy

You'd be surprised -- well, maybe not -- how many squirrel hunters don't bother cooking squirrels' heads.
Aug 26, 2014
Squirrel season is open in Tennessee.

 

 

I'm not sure how the subject of eating squirrel brains came up -- hunting buddy Clarence Dies may have mentioned it awhile back when we were comparing recipes for turkey gizzards.

A lot of folks for some reason don't eat turkey gizzards. They don't know what they're missing. The gizzard is the best part. They're kinda hard to clean and a bit chewy, but well worth the effort.

The same goes for squirrel brains.

You'd be surprised -- well, maybe not -- how many squirrel hunters don't bother cooking squirrels' heads.

They think it's too much trouble for the little bit of brains. That, plus what my kids used to call the "Yuk!" factor.

My wife tended to side with the kids. So, in the spirit of domestic tranquility, I stopped cooking squirrel heads and eating the brains. I guess you could call the decision a no-brainer.

Not to wax too philosophical, but maybe that explains what's wrong with society today: too many folks are too busy to bother with the small stuff and too worried about what someone else might think about them.

I'll bet there are lots of people who would try -- and enjoy -- squirrel brains if they thought nobody would find out.

My grandparents ate squirrel brains. They didn't believe in wasting food, and they didn't mind exerting some effort to get it. And they most certainly didn't give a hoot in a hurricane what anybody thought about it.

I won't attribute it entirely to eating squirrel brains, but the world was a better place back then.

Here's how you do it: When you dress your squirrel, simply skin the head and leave it attached to the body. When you cook the squirrel -- fired, or stewed in dumplings -- include the head.

Once it's cooked, use a knife handle to crack open the skull, like cracking a walnut, and scoop out the brains. Squirrels don't have a large brain -- I'd compare it to the average politician's -- but what little there is, is delicious.

If you've never tried squirrel brains, it's comparable to hog brains.

My new bride, a sophisticated city girl, wasn't particularly keen on cooking squirrels in general, and drew the line at including the heads. She said it was bad enough to cook a rat without having it staring at her.

The kids, of course, sided with their mom. Now they're grown and gone, and my daughter dines in fancy restaurants in New York where they don't have squirrel brains on the menu. She missed her chance.

Over the years my bride and I have reached a compromise concerning wild game: If I shoot it and drag it home, I have to cook it.

That goes for squirrel brains and turkey gizzards.

Some folks don't know what they're missing.

 

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