Raccoons are seldom viewed in a good light in most urban areas with most considering them as a nuisance and dirty wildlife. However, these furry critters can also be cleaned and eaten, and used as a food source should the time ever come up.
Everything You Need To Know About Eating Raccoon
These pesky creatures are known for causing destruction and rummaging through garbage cans, making trapping and removing a priority in most areas with large raccoon populations.
Eating raccoon may sound a bit extreme for some, but the raccoon is considered a staple in some parts of America and would make any survivalist jump for joy should they happen to come across one in the wild.
Cleaning and cooking a raccoon is straightforward, and the fur can be used for many other valuable things. Let’s take a look at this peculiar choice of meat and the various factors you will have to consider should you ever have the opportunity to eat one in the wild.
Is Raccoon Meat Safe To Eat?
Historically, the raccoon has been a feature on a Southerner’s dinner table, but the creature hasn’t featured much in recent years. You must avoid eating any city-dwelling raccoons as they tend to carry parasites, rabies, and various other diseases due to their eating habits.
Raccoons will eat almost anything but tend to favor water creatures such as water clams, crayfish, frogs, fish, and snails. When they ingest these particular creatures, the toxins they carry from the polluted water transfer to the raccoon, which could be passed on to a human.
The only way that you can eat a raccoon safely is if you make sure you cook it at the right temperature and for the right amount of time.
What does it taste like
Raccoon meat is said to taste quite delicious. Their tender meat can be compared to the red meat of a turkey or chicken. It has a musky taste with a pungent smell before and after cooking. The meat is best cooked over a flame or roasted.
How To Clean a Raccoon
Raccoons are notoriously dirty animals, inside and out. To eat them safely and avoid any of their pathogens, you must make sure you clean them up properly. The sanitation of the meat you eat is essential, and raccoons are no exception.
When it comes to the fur, you should always wash, comb, and rinse it before starting to process the animal. A raccoon’s fur carries all of the dirt and debris they scamper through, so sometimes, hosing it down in some water is a good idea.
It’s easier to get debris out of wet fur. Get the fur nice and wet and give it a good brush from the front to the tail. This can be done using your fingers. Make sure that you always wash your knife and hands before proceeding with the rest of the preparation.
How To Cook Raccoon
Preparing the Meat
Removing the skin is a simple step and will be similar to skinning any other furry creature. Check out a few of my other articles for the “How-to” process.
Once you’ve removed the skin and you’ve got a clean carcass, you’ll want to split the carcass in half, starting from just below the shoulders and taking it along a line through the rib cage to the tail. Getting through the ribs will be tricky if it is your first time, but practice will make it perfect.
Ensure that you don’t cut too deep when it comes to the abdominal cavity, as you don’t want to pierce any internal organs. Any fluid that spills out of these organs will contaminate the meat and produce a foul smell.
It is important that you check these organs for any signs of disease. If the liver shows any signs of disease, the whole meal could potentially be ruined. Check for cysts that look like large grape-like clusters, white spots, or suspiciously large organs. These could all be signs of an infection or parasite.
Organ meats are nutritious, often more nutritious than muscle meats, pound by pound. Most organ meats provide a good source of numerous minerals, including many B-vitamins, iron, and zinc, with notable exceptions for triple (intestines) and brains.
Once you’ve butterflied the carcass correctly, you can remove everything and proceed according to your needs. Ensure you remove the anus and chop off the tail, as these parts aren’t particularly tasty. You can also cut off the head and paws at this stage as you won’t have much use for them. Leave the hind legs as they will still provide some meat.
Rinse off the insides and outsides of the carcass and make sure you remove any traces of bodily fluids.
Cooking the Meat
Now that the meat has been processing, you can go about cooking it. Raccoon meat is considered wild game meat and needs to be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F to reduce the risk of infection.
An easy way to cook the meat is simply over an open flame. Once processed, raccoon meat can be treated like any other meat and rotated over a flame until you achieve the desired cooking, providing that the internal temperature reaches the correct number.
Is Raccoon Roundworm Airborne?
When it comes to raccoons, roundworm is the main thing you have to worry about.
This disease is caused by a parasite called Baylisascaris procyonis, also known as roundworm. The parasite larvae cause issues as it travels through the animals’ muscles and organs and leaves them with a loss of muscle control. The severity of the infection depends on how many of the eggs were ingested as well as where the larvae move to.
Serious infections are rare, but on the odd occasion that a human was to contract a severe case, it can be fatal. Raccoons are the primary hosts of roundworms, housing the parasite in their organs.
A roundworm egg will only develop once it has entered its host’s body, but the egg can survive years in soil, sand, and water.
Raccoons will shed millions of the eggs in their feces, and it will take about a month for the eggs to develop into their infectious stage. People may encounter this parasite through direct contact with the raccoon droppings or by touching an area that has been contaminated by it. Always make sure that you clean your hands before touching your facial area or eating when exploring places that raccoons may inhabit as there may be some infected animals nearby.
Raccoon Meat Nutritional Value
Raccoon contains 217 calories per 85 g serving. One serving (85g) contains 12 g of fat, 25 g of protein, and 0 g of carbs. Raccoon also contains 3.5 g of saturated fat.
When prepared and cooked correctly, the raccoon will make a very tasty and nutritional meal that any survivalist would be grateful for. This furry critter’s meat can be used for sustenance, while the fur can be turned into a layer of warmth should you need it.