Imagine this – while en route from your custom tree stand, you step on a rather large rattle snake. In self-defense, it whips around and bites you on the calf of your brand new snake boot. After you dance around like a ballerina, your own self-defense mechanisms kick in and following thousands of years of instinct for self-preservation, you dispatch it. Now, if you follow an “eat what you kill” philosophy – exceptions being household pests; insects, flesh eating zombies; and fire ants – you are now contemplating its consumption…..awesome.
I am sure you are now thinking what I was thinking after husband number 2 (“H2”) tossed to me a headless 6ft rattlesnake and requested that I “fix it for dinner.” After examining “dinner,”( while my children tugged upon its coiling tail and rattled its buttons in curiosity), I asked myself, “Where does one start? It has no legs; no shoulders, and just where is the stomach anyway?”
After engaging the neighborhood veteran to assist me, I learned a few things. Snake heads should be removed along with an additional 2-3 inches behind the head. This is done to ensure that the venom sacks are not left with the meat. Long after decapitation, the snake head will continue to be venomous. Be sure to bury the head deep in the ground or in a place where your pets (and curious children) will not be able to access it later. Next, make an incision lengthwise down the belly and peel the skin off much like one would a sock. Make a second incision, opening the gap in the muscle to remove the internal organs. Rinse well and cut into approximately 4 inch sections. Other than the ballerina maneuver, the entire process is fairly quick and from capture to pan ready, should not take more than perhaps 15-20 minutes.
Once you have wowed your friends and family with your phenomenal rattlesnake butchering skills you now to have prepare it in such a way that will leave them with a positive view of rattlesnake meat. I have found that deep frying is usually the best method for preparing rattlesnake meat. However there are many recipes online that do not require deep frying. If you do not have a recipe handy, I provided both a bake and a deep fry recipe for your enjoyment. As a side note: If you prefer a zestier flavor, any of the seasonings can be exchanged for a spice that is more to your liking. Use your own best judgment on the amount of seasoning you should add. When in doubt, treat the meat as you would chicken.
Rattlesnake Surprise (because it is always a surprise when someone tosses you one):
1 deep fryer or skillet used for frying
Vegetable Oil (enough to cover meat while frying)
1 prepared rattlesnake
1 cup of milk
1-2 cups flour (depending upon size of the rattlesnake)
Garlic Salt (1-2 tsp)
Everglades Seasoning (1-2 tsp)
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
Mix garlic salt, everglades seasoning, salt and pepper with the flour.
Mix egg and milk.
Dip the sections of rattlesnake meat into the milk/egg mixture, and then roll each piece in the flour mixture. Drop into the deep fryer and cook until golden brown or about the length of time one would cook chicken.
Remove from fryer onto paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Lighter fare (Bake) Option:
If you prefer to bake: Substitute the egg/milk mixture for nonfat plain yogurt.
Substitute seasoned flour for your favorite seasoned breadcrumbs (be sure they are well crushed)
Dip the meat into the yogurt and then roll the meat in the breadcrumbs.
Spray the baking pan with oil and then bake as one would chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally so that all sides are brown and thoroughly cooked.
Length of time in the oven is determined by the size and amount of the meat you are preparing. Again, use your best judgment. When in doubt, treat the meat as you would chicken.
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