Cooking with Rocky — A Rodent Recipe Thanksgiving Feast!

November 24, 2008 | By | Comments (18)


Thanksgiving is all about family and friends — enjoying the day with the ones we love. To his dismay, however, the Grump has discovered that many of you are leaving one member out — the one that lives in your attic. This Thanksgiving, let’s all make a point to invite our squirrelly friends to dinner. Or better yet, let’s make them the dinner.

Now, I realize that some of you less fortunates have never enjoyed the privilege of dining on native squirrel. How sad. Not only is the meat delicious (just ask Bear Grylls), but it’s a completely renewable, self-sustaining resource. Fact is, squirrels reproduce faster than we can eat them, thanks to all the people who set up bird feeders and end up feeding our furry, flea-bitten friends instead. By consuming more squirrels, we are being good stewards of the planet and leading the way to a more diverse and satisfying dinnertime experience.

At this moment, you’re undoubtedly asking yourself: “How do I prepare squirrel?” Well, to the squirrel itself, you say, “If you’re not tender, I’m using the blender!” (High-protein squirrel shakes are ideal for body-builders, athletes, and, well, your cat.)

To the cook in your house, you say, “I just found a whole lot of tasty squirrel recipes on the Grumpy Gardener!”

Now, in the interests of full disclosure and mainly to avoid a lawsuit, I admit these recipes come from Backwoods Bound (, where you can find a whole slew of delicious Rocky recipes — Bacon-Wrapped Squirrel, Cajun Squirrel, Chicken-Fried Squirrel, Squirrel Cacciatore, Squirrel in Cream Sauce, and Squirrel Stew. The one I’m going to present here, Squirrel Creole, is gamey enough for the football crowd, yet tailored to the refined palate.

Of course, you wouldn’t dream of serving a dish like this unaccompanied by the perfect wine. Scott Jones, food editor and wine expert at Southern Living, recommends a full-bodied Syrah. Try Yellow Tail — an excellent expression of dark fruit and spice, and at around 7-8 bucks a bottle, it’s a Grumpy Best Buy.

Squirrel Creole
~ 4 squirrels, cut into pieces
~ 2 tbsp. canola oil
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1 green pepper, chopped
~ 1 medium onion, chopped
~ 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
~ 2 cans(14.5-oz) tomatoes, chopped
~ salt and pepper to taste
~ 1 cup brown rice, uncooked

Season meat pieces with salt and pepper, lightly brown in oil

Combine remaining ingredients and mix well

Spoon into large casserole dish, arranging meat pieces on the top

Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender enough to fall off the bone.


Thanks, Backwoods Bound! If only you’d been around to advise Miles Standish at the first Thanksgiving, a lot of innocent turkeys might have been spared. And our attics would be a whole lot quieter!

But, Grumpy, My Grocer Doesn’t Stock Squirrel! What, Oh What Shall I Do?

It’s hard to believe, but many supermarkets (obviously in the pockets of Big Turkey) fail to offer squirrel. This is not a problem for hunters, however, and it should not be for you. Did Miles Standish go to Publix for his turkey? He did not.

If unenlightened local ordinances prevent you from discharging firearms at suburban wildlife, try a squirrel trap. I find sunflowers seeds and peanut butter to be excellent bait. If they don’t work, try an electric line squirrels can chew through the short out all the power to your home. No squirrel can resist that!

Many home centers carry squirrel traps. The one I recommend is the Havahart trap, which should really be named “Have-Some-Sweet-Taters-And-Cornbread-With-Your-Squirrel” trap. Go to to order your trap. If it doesn’t come by Thanksgiving, don’t despair. Rocky will be glad to join you for Christmas.


  1. Joy

    Well y’all know squirrels are GAME animals, it’s illegal to shoot OR TRAP them (including in the havahart trap!) Without a permit from your Game Warden if it’s not squirrel season. If you have a hunting license AND it’s squirrel season, go for it! (If tree rats in your yard are bothersome, destroying stuff, etc., the AL DCNR will permit you to trap ’em based on “wildlife damage conrol”. I’ve been told that they *really* don’t wanna know what you do with them after you trap ’em tho… Of course you release them humanely and relocate them, hahahaha). Hey, when you find an injured deer or fawn or squirrel and call the Game Warden to pick it up, you don’t think he really takes it to the “wildlife hospital”, do you? (grin)

    December 2, 2008 at 4:19 pm
  2. Joy

    Well y’all know squirrels are GAME animals, it’s illegal to shoot OR TRAP them (including in the havahart trap!) Without a permit from your Game Warden if it’s not squirrel season. If you have a hunting license AND it’s squirrel season, go for it! (If the little treerats are bothersome the AL DCNR will happily permit you to trap them tho. They really don’t wanna know what you do with them after you trap ’em tho… Of course you release them humanely and relocate them, hahahaha).

    December 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm
  3. Lianne

    Leftover cold turkey still gets my vote. Okra would make the turkey better.
    I still have my doubts about the squirrel. I’ll let you know how I feel about the squirrel vs. leftover sweet potatoes, dressing, and turkey in 2-3 more days of it.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:50 pm
  4. Grumpy Gardener

    Anyone who would make such an ignorant, biased comment about okra has no business judging squirrel cuisine. For your information, okra is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, including that part where the Grump resides. You can fry it, steam it, sautee it, boil it, grill it, stew it, bake it, and broil it. It’s ALWAYS good, missy! And it’s great with squirrel!

    December 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm
  5. Allison

    This sounds almost as gross as eating boiled okra.

    December 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm
  6. Grumpy Gardener

    But the flaming fur would have been a lot of fun!

    December 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm
  7. Jeff

    Grumpy – you got the story mostly right about the church turkey disaster. It would have taken a pretty big squirrel to take the place of that turkey!

    November 30, 2008 at 9:07 pm
  8. Grumpy Gardener

    Thank you for your kind offer. You should know, however, that the Grump is quite discriminating in his tastes and demands only the finest USDA Prime Aged sunflower seed-fed squirrel.

    November 29, 2008 at 7:44 pm
  9. Squirrel Hell

    Dear Grumpy..I once offered to send you a replacement for Rocky but I see replacements have arrived.The offer still holds if you wish more of those furry little varmints to add even more fun to your yard.They are watching and waiting for the bird feeders to go up!They should be just right to eat soon!

    November 29, 2008 at 6:45 am
  10. Grumpy Gardener

    Exactly! Plus, you won’t be so grumpy.

    November 26, 2008 at 5:10 am
  11. Even Grumpier

    If one gets enough of a head start with the Syrah, they ought to be able to tolerate the squirrel!

    November 26, 2008 at 12:20 am
  12. Grumpy Gardener

    A friend of ours agreed to cook a 22 lb. frozen turkey for a church dinner. Naturally, it took about 7 months to thaw. Unfortunately, she forgot it was in the sink for about 8 hours, making it hazardous to eat except if you’re a dog, because dogs can apparently eat anything. And I mean anything.
    Anyway, she had to throw away the first turkey and buy a second fresh turkey for $40. She put it in the oven, but didn’t use one of those cooking bags and forgot to account for all of the juice and fat that accumulates. The fat overflowed the pan, dribbled out of the oven, onto the floor, and then caught fire. What a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday!
    Squirrels, on the other hand, are much leaner than turkeys. To my knowledge, they have caused only gunfire, never an oven fire. We’ve all been urged to tighten our belts during these tough, economic times. But for Thanksgiving, for this one special day, I say let’s loosen our belts and belt down some squirrel and Syrah! It’s the other white meat.

    November 25, 2008 at 7:05 am
  13. Layanee

    My squirrels are not quite ready for the pot. I am feeding them sunflower seeds by the pound and they should be ready for eatin’ pretty soon. Never tried squirrel before but I’m sure it tastes like chicken. Thanks for the recipe!

    November 24, 2008 at 7:00 pm
  14. Gardening With Confidence

    Boil that grin right off his face! He ain’t nothing but a rat with a big tail.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm
  15. Lianne

    Ewww. I just saw a squirrel hop by the window. Bless his heart.

    November 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm
  16. Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden)

    Seriously, my cousins and uncles considered squirrels (and deer and rabbits) to be food. I never could bring myself to try anything from the wild like that…but, I was a finicky eater.
    We now have an over population of all of those critters…and we (gardeners) complain about the bandits!

    November 24, 2008 at 4:24 pm
  17. Grumpy Gardener

    So then I take it you would not welcome a round-up of our favorite hamster recipes?

    November 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm
  18. Lianne

    I just threw up a little (okay, a LOT) in my mouth.
    Big props to SL editors for not including this in the Thanksgiving or Christmas issues. I’m certain it would’ve made a beeee-auuuu-tiful presentation (per standards), but I think I would’ve canceled my subscription on the spot.
    p.s. This may sound delicious after 6 days of leftover turkey.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm

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