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BilletHead

Step by step on how I clean a squirrel

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          @Quillback and anyone else,

  We discussed how to clean a squirrel. So many different ways to do it and all work fine. I find this easy for me and really clean keeping hair off the meat. Sure you may get a hair or two but easy to wash off. I hang my squirrel by one foot. Use a real, real sharp knife. Spay blade. I have my grandpas buck pocket knife. As a family in the mid to early 70's we gave it to grandpa for Christmas. When he passed it went to my dad and when dad passed to me. This knife has been sharpened many times and has a lot of mileage,thumbnail_1105181718a.jpg

          First of all get you a squirrel :) . I took a walk after the rain and this gray took a .25 to the cheek and out the opposite side of the head. A nice one to clean,

thumbnail_1105181446.jpg    Hang and cut through the skin around each leg and then from foot to foot through the vent. Try not to cut into the muscle just the skin,

DSCF3596.JPG  Cut off tail and I use fish skinning plyers to grab skin getting it started. Pull the skin down right to the head and front feet. Use plyers  to pull skin back over the back feet some. This will let you cut off at the ankle joint later.DSCF3597.JPG At front legs pull way down to foot joints. You will also see a few strands of long hair. A good time to grab with your knife and pull off,DSCF3599.JPG Before gutting this is a good time to cut off front legs. Under each leg there is a gland. Again take knife and scrape this off then disconnect leg at joint,DSCF3603.JPG 

I take kitchen shears and split the pelvis bone then open the body cavity exposing the innards. You can either pull them out or leave them hanging. I yank them out. Now i take my knife and go to last set of ribs and make a slice behind them to the meat over ribs like this leaving the side meat on the saddle,DSCF3604.JPG

I then take my kitchen shears and cut down ribs saving the back part of them. A bit of meat on the back and not much on the sides,DSCF3605.JPG

  Shear off at other end of ribs and drop head and skin off. Then cut off rib section from saddle section. Cut off side meat from saddle. Then I take out the little kernel gland from back leg on each side. It is small and I know I have eaten them before but when I found out they were in there I started cutting them out. They are little guys shorter than a grain of rice surrounded by a bit of fat,

DSCF3606.JPG  While still hanging I cut off one back leg then separate the other from the saddle. Into the house to do a quick rinse off. Back and front legs, top rib section, saddle and side meat. Good eats,DSCF3608.JPG Again not the only way but the way I do it,

 BilletHead

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Nice tutorial. I was taught to take the tail off with the "shirt" and then peel the "pants" down from hip to foot. Your way leaves an intact pelt.

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Get'er done! 👍

You end up with 3 more pieces than I do.

I need to get 3 killed pronto so I can try that squirrel pot pie recipe.  Thinking I'll just boil them whole and skip the quartering.  

I never knew about that gland.  Jeeze, cleaning squirrels is a big enough PIA and now there's something else. 😅

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14 minutes ago, Johnsfolly said:

Great tutorial Marty! Clean shot to the head makes that body and front legs look like good eats! Using the scattergun, sometimes lose one or both front kegs😢.

            I am getting infatuated with this pellet rifle(s). The accuracy is phenomenal. As you know the grays don't stand still very long. If I can find and follow with the scope and if it pauses very long it will be mine. I could kill more with the shotgun for sure. I am gaining penitence for sure. 

5 minutes ago, tjm said:

Nice tutorial. I was taught to take the tail off with the "shirt" and then peel the "pants" down from hip to foot. Your way leaves an intact pelt.

       Yea man I have done them that way too. Other than the tail this is just case skinning like you would do for most fur. My first learning method was to make a cut across the back through the skin. Work fingers into cut and pull both ways. I may still be able to do a baby one that way but don't have the strength anymore for an old one. 

14 minutes ago, fishinwrench said:

Get'er done! 👍

You end up with 3 more pieces than I do.

I need to get 3 killed pronto so I can try that squirrel pot pie recipe.  Thinking I'll just boil them whole and skip the quartering.  

          Yes and depending on the way you are going to cook it I have been known to leave the back legs, saddle and trimmed rib section on one piece.  I really would like to leave one spread eagle and pin down like a suckling pig and put in the smoker. Afraid it would dry out and be like jerky :) .  Pat ripped out the pot pie recipe from our Missouri ruralist magazine. Will try that one too,

  BilletHead

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My method is a little tricky, but less cutting and handling. 

Cut thru the tail at the base from the vent side leaving skin on top of tail.  Stick a sharp pointed blade down the back a ways on each side of tail.  Grab squirrel by back legs and stick partially detached tail under boot and pull the hide off to the front legs and head.  Grasp the pants and skin out the back legs to ankles.  I then have a post with 2 nails driven into it about 3" apart.  Hang the squirrel by the pants and gut, clean, remove head and skin, trim.  Then cut the back ankles off.

Grandpa used to make one incision in the middle of the back, insert fingers and pull the skin off to the front and back. 

Gonna have to get a PCP.  Been looking at one that just came out that has built in pump handle.

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Many methods work, I have tried others but still go back to the way I was taught as a kid, which is very similar to JD. I have also tossed them in a 5 gallon bucket of water and skinned them wet.  Keeps the hair off but wasn't worth 5he hassle of skinning a dripping squirrel.  I also have a tough time cooking them in any but 2 ways.  Browned in a skillet and then steamed/simmered until tender.  Gravy from the drippings.  Or for older squirrels I fall back to long cook/boil in seasoned water, pick the meat and add back to some noodles and whatever else you like for a tree rat chicken/noodles.  If I ever won the lottery I would buy my own hunting property, specifically for squirrels.

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Back in College, I managed an open pit BBQ joint.  I BBQ'd a bunch of wild game for a benefit feast.  Coon was pretty good, greasy.  Grandpa used to feast on groundhogs.  Since they are only eat veggies, they taste pretty good.  Squirrels like deer, eating nuts can taint their flavor.

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14 minutes ago, MOPanfisher said:

Many methods work, I have tried others but still go back to the way I was taught as a kid, which is very similar to JD. I have also tossed them in a 5 gallon bucket of water and skinned them wet.  Keeps the hair off but wasn't worth 5he hassle of skinning a dripping squirrel.  I also have a tough time cooking them in any but 2 ways.  Browned in a skillet and then steamed/simmered until tender.  Gravy from the drippings.  Or for older squirrels I fall back to long cook/boil in seasoned water, pick the meat and add back to some noodles and whatever else you like for a tree rat chicken/noodles.  If I ever won the lottery I would buy my own hunting property, specifically for squirrels.

That's how you do it.  With fresh hot biscuits and some sweet corn to stir into the mix.  I've also done squirrel cacciatore that is still spoken of in certain circles.  It's a great wonderfully flavorful meat, that needs the right care.

 

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