Saturday, November 5, 2011

Redneck Gourmet

Sizzling Snakes

   Now don’t let anyone fool ya, snakes are good eating! They even have fancy restaurants that will charge you an arm and a leg to get a taste of one. Of course us poor folks have known that they were good eating for years. I got my first taste of one down in Okeene, Oklahoma were I used to go rattle snake hunting with my uncle. Most of what you got down there was barbecued which is really good but you have to have a BBQ to make it. More of what I’ve eaten over the years has been out in the wilds and BBQ’s are kind of hard to come by when you’re back packing. I reckon you could carry along some BBQ sauce and do it over a camp fire but most people don’t really think about packing that kind of stuff.

Snakes can be all kinds of meals because they come in all different sizes. If you catch a small snake it will make a good appetizer but you can make a whole meal out of a big one. A few things to keep in mind. Number one: snakes bite, all snakes bite and even the non poisonous ones can make you sick if you get bite to many times. I found that out when I was catching snakes down home for the school. Number two: even after you’ve cut the head off a poison one the head can still bite. I found that out the hard way during the rattle snake round-up one summer. Number three: some of the snakes have really strong sent glands so if the stink when you catch them you need to wash the off quickly and often, don’t let the smell get on the meat.

The best way to clean a snake is to cut the head off and then hang it from a tree or bush by the tail. Cut around the tail and then split the skin from the tail down being careful not to cut into the guts. Pull all the guts out (save the heart it’s good as a raw snack while you’re working on the rest) and you can then get a hold of the skin at the top and peel it off.

The down and dirty way to prepare snake is to just find a long branch with several limbs on it. You can thread the snake on to the limbs and lean it over the camp fire to roast it. Be sure and turn it several times to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. If you’re in a place with trees and you have the time you can use branches and leaves to build a smoker over your fire and smoke it. This works best on big snakes and the meat will last several days. I’ve done this a few times and it turned out really well but mostly when I got to the snake eating phase I was a little too hungry to wait that long.

If you have a pot and there’s water close by and you can find some wild greens they make a really good stew. I used some mesquite leaves, limbs and fruit from a prickly pear cactus and made a really nice stew from a six pound western diamondback one time. Of course if you want to try this at home you can add the good stuff like taters, onions, celery, maters and what every spices you like. Be sure and cut the snake into chunks about two inches long.

Also if you’re home be sure and try the BBQ method. Just use a good dry rub or BBQ sauce and lay him on the grill