By Josh Boyd
Few things spell down-home value quite like squirrel hunting and country cooking. Combine these two elements together, and you are looking at the makings of a fine afternoon. Cooking up a heaping helping of fried squirrel and gravy is perhaps the best possible way to put the perfect exclamation mark on an autumn day spent pursuing bushytails.
Fried squirrel and gravy is a savory dish that is reminiscent of bite-sized country fried steak, with perfectly golden biscuits thrown in for good measure. This is a dish that is sure to have all that partake clambering for seconds, and is only limited in portion size to the number of squirrels that a hunt yields.
Gather Your Supplies
Before actual cooking can begin, you will need to gather all supplies that will be needed. Outside of basic kitchen utensils, much of what must be prepared will center around procuring all of your ingredients.
* 3-4 squirrels, cleaned, deboned, and cut into pieces
* 2 cups of buttermilk
* 2 cups of all-purpose flour
* ⅓ cup of cornstarch
* 1 tbsp. of salt
* 1 tbsp. of pepper
* Oil or bacon grease
* 2 cups of whole milk
* Preferred biscuits
Preparing the Squirrel
The first step will be to prepare the squirrel for cooking. Clean and dress your squirrels, cutting all meat into pieces of the desired size. Once you have removed this meat, it is to be rinsed with cool water, and placed into an appropriate size bowl. Cover the squirrel with buttermilk and place it into the refrigerator for a minimum of one-hour.
Readying the Squirrel for Frying
Take a gallon size Ziploc bag and place the flour, corn starch, salt, and pepper inside, while saving 3-tablespoons of the mixture for later use in your gravy. You can personalize your breading mix by adding any other spices you choose. Remove your meat from the buttermilk, and allow it to drain slightly. You will now place the meat into the bag and shake, coating the pieces of squirrel completely. Take these pieces out of the bag, and lay them on a plate for 10 minutes to let the coating set.
During this period of time, preheat your frying pan. You may use your favorite choice of cooking oil, but for some added flavor, bacon grease makes an excellent choice. Heat ½ to 1 inch of oil until it is hot, and then add the pieces of squirrel one at a time. Covering your pan will help the squirrel cook thoroughly, making it tender. Continue frying on both sides until all meat is golden brown. Place the cooked squirrel onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Cover your plate with foil to keep the meat warm while you are preparing your gravy.
Preparing the Gravy and Biscuits
Every family has their favorite biscuits. This might be as simple as throwing frozen biscuits in the oven, or as involved as preparing grandma’s special biscuit recipe from scratch. However you choose to prepare your biscuits, now will be the time to place them into the oven.
While your biscuits are baking, drain all but 2-3 tablespoons of grease from your frying pan. Heat the remaining grease, and evenly sprinkle the previously mentioned flour mixture into the pan. Stir for 2-3 minutes until the flour starts to brown, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir to loosen all cooked on breading from the squirrel, to include in your gravy. Slowly pour the milk into the pan, and continue stirring until the gravy thickens.
Assembling the Final Product
Once your gravy and biscuits are ready, it will be time to assemble the final product. Whether you like your squirrel on top of your biscuits and smothered with gravy, or set separately on your plate, you will be sure to have a delicious meal awaiting you.
A Meal Fit for a King
Perhaps the only thing that beats sitting on a stump while anxiously waiting for a fox squirrel to appear at a tree’s fork, is bellying up to a serving of squirrel and gravy at the day’s conclusion. Be prepared, however, as you will likely find yourself taking on more than your share of hunting camp cooking duties, as soon as your fellow hunters get a taste of this delectable dish.
The versatility of squirrel and gravy adds heavily to its appeal. Whether you are looking for a hearty breakfast dish, much like biscuits and gravy, or hunting for the perfect way to top off a wild game dinner, squirrel and gravy will fit the bill.