Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Family Style Snake

   As I have said before, most of my snake eating has been while I was camping out and the most I ever had to feed during those times were two. The main way I fixed the snakes during those times was just draping it over a stick and roasting it over the fire. I have been to a few snake roundups where folks cooked up a lot of snakes to feed the crowd but even there it seemed like the main way they fixed it was to either BBQ it or add it to chili. You can also just fry one when you're at home just like fried chicken and serve it with mashed taters and a side of veggies or even have one instead of bacon to go along with your eggs for breakfast. All of the above are great ways to fix one but if you want to be the hero of your family and friends and you happen to live in a spot where you can get your hands on a nice Timber Rattler, try this one.

   First off you're going to need a nice size Timber Rattler. Timber Rattlers are the largest venomous snakes in the United States and are mostly found from eastern Oklahoma to New York. We just happened to have a place outside of Henryetta called Tiger Mountain down home that was crawling with them. For a family meal you're going to need one at least four feet long and five would be even better. One that size should be at least three to four inches thick across the body. You will have better luck if you hunt for one on the south facing slope of a hill and be sure and watch for rock out cropping because the like to lay on the top of them to soak up the sun and they tend to make dens back under them. They are also a powerful snake so if you don't have a snake pole, make sure you have a stout stick to hold its head down. When you spot one, if he's coiled up just rake him out with your stick and push your stick down on top of his head. Don't beat on him with your stick cause all you're gonna do is burse the meat. Once you have his head down you need to cut it off pretty quick before he flops around too much. If you want to and you're as crazy as Stanley and I used to be, let him start crawling away and just grab his tail and give him a good hard flick, kind of like snapping a whip. That will break his neck most of the time which is a lot quicker and cleaner than trying to saw off his head with a pocket knife. Either way you kill him don't worry if he keeps flopping around for awhile, that's normal.

   Once you get him gutted and skinned (save the hide, it makes really nice belts and hat bands) you're going to want to coat him with a good dry rub. If you have a rub that you like you can always just use it, I kind of like this one:

     DRY RUB:

     1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

     1/4 cup smoked paprika

     3 tablespoons black pepper

     3 tablespoons coarse salt

     2 teaspoons garlic powder

     2 teaspoons onion power

     2 teaspoons celery seeds

     1 tablespoon dried dill

     1 tablespoon dried oregano

     1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

   Once you get him rubbed down good, coil him up on a plate, cover him with some plastic wrap and stick him in the fridge while you make some sauce to dip him in.


     2 cups of ketchup

     1/4 cup of cider vinegar

     1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce

     1/4 cup packed brown sugar

     2 tablespoons of molasses

     1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

     1 tablespoon of your dry rub

     1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

   Use a pot that wide enough and deep enough for you to loosely coil the entire snake and still be able to completely cover him with oil. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees and deep fry the whole snake until the internal temp is around 165. Remove and let the excess oil drain.

   The most impressive way to serve is to set the bowl of dipping sauce in the middle of a large platter and surround it with a mound of french fries then coil the snake around the outside edge. Everyone can either dip their pieces in the sauce or just put a piece on the plate and pour the sauce over it, either way is good. For those of you who live out west, this works just as well on diamond backs. Enjoy!