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The other dark meat.
January 14, 2009 11:20 AM   Subscribe

The meat is almost ready to be boiled, except for one thing: Although its head, innards and three paws have been removed, it still has one. That’s the law. "They leave the paw on to prove it's not a cat or a dog,"
posted by 445supermag (105 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, good thing that paw is on there. Because eating a cat or dog would be gross.

[NOT VEGETARIAN...BUT SOON WILL BE]
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2009


But if it is a puppy all the paws are removed? What year did dog make it into the Joy of Cooking?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:26 AM on January 14, 2009


As Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up: when I lived on the east side of Detroit I frequented this small but fabulous fish market/deli in the neighborhood. At a certain time of year (Spring?) when raccoons were apparently in season, they'd post a big sign on the front door - WE HAVE COONS!

The sign re-appeared every year, so I guess they never got many complaints about it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:28 AM on January 14, 2009


Related.
posted by swift at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2009


The ultimate organic meat? Most of my interactions with raccoons have been getting them out of my trash, or watching them gaze at me, children-of-the-corn style, from a dumpster.
posted by boo_radley at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd eat raccoon (and if you believe Garth Turner, we'll all be eating it, and squirrels, once the economy collapses). And Toronto could do with a few (hundred thousand) less raccoons, anyway.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:34 AM on January 14, 2009


What year did dog make it into the Joy of Cooking?

I think it was the year of the Fire Tiger.

Incidentally, the one paw thing is incorrect, at least where I grew up in Tennessee and Alabama. You leave the paw to show that it is not a possum. Possum is too greasy for roasting.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Their hands -- their little, nimble, probing hands!"
posted by Rhaomi at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


My parents used to live in rural New Hampshire, and hadn't thought of coon as a potential foodsource until their neighbors came by to say hello. The neighbors explained that they often hunted raccoons, but that the animals occasionally fled onto other peoples' properties; would my parents mind if the neighbors' hunts led them through my parents' yard? My parents, being reasonable and frugal people, didn't have a problem with that. They assumed you hunt raccoon like you hunt most other mammals -- at a distance, with a rifle.

As it turns out, the preferred method was for the neighbors to chase after the raccoons with dogs, until the dogs had gotten the coons up a tree. At that point, the neighbor would climb the tree, and shoot the raccoon in the head with a pistol. A loud bang, then a raccoon body dropping from the tree branches to the ground with a thump. The neighbor would shimmy back down the tree, pick up the raccoon, and head home.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:36 AM on January 14, 2009 [28 favorites]


I used to hunt racoon, and I must say that I find two things about your story, Greg Nog, astounding. One, I never hunted anything (except for the most dangerous game, tigers with lazer beams) with a pistol. Second, racoons kill dogs and people. I would not get anywhere near an angry, frightened, treed racoon. Your parents' neighbors are morons.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:40 AM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Mmm... American bush meat. This doesn't bode well to get Africans to stop eating endangered apes and stuff like that.
posted by GuyZero at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2009


see also Where the Red Fern Grows.
posted by Quonab at 11:43 AM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Too tough for me. I had one tear it's way through my chain link gate. It bent a 1/2 thick aluminum bar. I had to hammer it back into shape using a vice. Yeesh!
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:44 AM on January 14, 2009


I never claimed they were smart people, but I surely would not argue with their determination.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:45 AM on January 14, 2009


That's funny, in China they leave the paws on sides of meat to prove the it is (the more expensive) dog meat.

As Dave Barry says, I'm not making this up
posted by afu at 11:47 AM on January 14, 2009


"Raccoon meat is some of the healthiest meat you can eat," says Jeff Beringer, a furbearer resource biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
So the man's a tad hirsute - they have to put this in the story?
posted by exogenous at 11:50 AM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Tip to hunters: Plenty of fat raccoons in Seattle.

They have no fear of man.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2009


Greg Nog: Your post is totally awesome when set to the tune of Yakety Sax. And modified to end with the neighbor disappearing up the tree and emerging a few moments later pursued by a pistol-weilding raccoon.
posted by The Bellman at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2009 [14 favorites]


Would i eat a raccoon if i had the choice of beef, chicken, fish, crustacean, lamb, veal, duck, rabbit, pig, deer, liver, brain, thymus gland, vegetable, arby's , diary, grain, artificially created junk food, or mysteriously ambiguous japanese product? No.

Would I eat a raccoon if I was in the woods and starving? "You betcha."
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2009


> Second, racoons kill dogs and people.

People? Really? I'd like to know more about this. Years ago I was at a keg party where I overheard two friends arguing over who would win in a fight - a human or a raccoon. The guy pulling for the raccoon finished up by saying "Not only would the raccoon beat the human, the raccoon would KILL the human!"

A few years after that I was telling this story to a different friend, a small Korean woman in her 20s. When I finished up with the "KILL the human!" punchline she thought about it for a minute and replied that she was pretty sure the raccoon would take her out.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:51 AM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd rather eat beaver.
posted by isopraxis at 11:53 AM on January 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm sold - where can I get some tasty coonmeats around the DC area? I'm all about finding new and interesting animals to devour. I wouldn't mind trying dog or cat either, if it was available... or ortolan... or longpig...
posted by FatherDagon at 11:53 AM on January 14, 2009


Lacking Subtlety, you'd rather eat your diary than a raccoon?
That's so .... emo
posted by mannequito at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2009


until the dogs had gotten the coons up a tree

I was playing Scrabble with my dad once when I was a kid. On his turn:

"OK, 'treed.'"
"Treed?"
"Yeah, the past tense of 'to tree.'"
"What do you tree?"
"Raccoons! It's how you hunt them -- you tree them with dogs. We did it all the time when I was a boy."

He then showed me that I had 'quotient' and let me play it for the 7-letter bonus. I always liked Scrabble after that.
posted by JohnFredra at 11:58 AM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Okay, so I did a bit of Googling trying to find a news story about a raccoon killing a human. I haven't found one yet, but I did come across this story in Pravda about a pack of raccoons attacking pets and people. The story itself is unremarkable, but the photos and captions seemingly randomly placed throughout the margins are great:

"Peaceful raccoons"
"Hellish hairy sea monster cast ashore"
A photo of a bunch of soldiers pointing machine guns at a basset hound
"Loud and attractive Girls Aloud"
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:59 AM on January 14, 2009


The only way a raccoon can kill a person is by giving them rabies.
posted by ryanrs at 12:02 PM on January 14, 2009


I've eaten alligator, rattlesnake, frog and plenty of other creatures rarely served on American tables. I'd eat raccoon, were it served to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:04 PM on January 14, 2009


Yeah, this was spointed out to me by my wife after a raccoon tried to assasinate my cat in broad daylight and I chased it with a hammer.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on January 14, 2009


Okay, so I did a bit of Googling trying to find a news story about a raccoon killing a human.

Yeah, I didn't have any luck either. This search is an interesting way to get hundreds of accounts of animals killed by raccoons though.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:06 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm not sure if this counts, but I seem to remember an old Twilight Zone episode where a coon drowned Buddy Ebson as they battled in a pond by climbing onto his head.
posted by digsrus at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2009


I'd like to know more about this.

It's less amazing when you reflect that people get killed and mauled by dogs every year. Raccoons are fast, agile, nimble, vicious, and downright goddamn brilliant animals. I doubt the human death rate is more than rare, because most people are smart enough not to corner one. They either shoo them away or shoot them with rifles. But men have been killed by catfish, no joke, so a raccoon wouldn't surprise me a bit.

There's a fantastic book about Southern sub-culture you should read if you're so inclined called Noodling for Flatheads that has a chapter on coon hunting. In that chapter, he describes the story of a couple of coon hounds that chased a raccoon into a nearby pond during a hunt. The raccoon simply kept swimming in the pond, just out of reach, until the hounds got tired, then swam over to them one at a time, climbed on their backs, and drowned them.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:12 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Heh. On preview, I'm pretty sure Buddy Ebson was not in my story.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:13 PM on January 14, 2009


We're here to help you take out the trash.
posted by sperose at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


All animals of a certain size* are, in my view, totally acceptable to eat. Why a rabbit and not a raccoon? Might need a little more care than a steak, but why should those sum'bitches eat my trash and not end up smoking on my barbecue? My bet is that lovingly prepared, it's delicious. I'm in for a game cookout.

*Save, for sentimental reasons, dogs, cats, ocean mammals and all primates.
posted by kosem at 12:15 PM on January 14, 2009


I'll never understand why cuteness seems to be the deciding factor in what animals are not "ok" to eat. Raccoon, chipmunk, adorable kitten from cutenessoverload, boa constrictor, whatever. Serve 'em up. As long as it's not my neighbor's pet it's fair game.

The fact that raccoons live on garbage is only gross until you remember that the average American hamburger grew up living knee-deep in his own shit.
posted by bondcliff at 12:17 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brits are eating squirrels with wild abandon.

What a funny picture this puts in my head.
posted by amro at 12:18 PM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I was served raccoon once, at a BBQ in Arkansas. I was given an arm.

Now, I'm a fan of anatomy. I have a copy of Gray's on my toilet tank for light reading. For the longest time, I *studied* every chicken I ate to see how the parts lined up. But when I saw that arm, with the hand on the end, and it looked *exactly* like a human arm, I blanched a little.

So they gave me something less identifiable. It's gamey meat. I'd say that 'coon:beef::duck:chicken.
posted by notsnot at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize this was uncommon knowledge.
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2009


Okay, so I did a bit of Googling trying to find a news story about a raccoon killing a human.

Yeah, I didn't have any luck either.


OK, so I don't actually know of any cases of this happening, but I have seen them tear up a dog pretty badly and I know I wouldn't get close to them. They weigh 30 or 40 pounds and have big, dirty teeth. You could certainly bleed to death if you tangled with one and didn't get medical attention right away, which I'm sure happened back in the day's where Ma and her jug were the "medical attention."
posted by Pollomacho at 12:20 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


> You could certainly bleed to death if you tangled with one and didn't get medical attention right away

Yeah, I wouldn't willingly get within biting/clawing distance of one of those things, either. But in the hypothetical cage-match-to-the-death scenario outlined above, my money's on the human.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:24 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I didn't have any luck either. This search is an interesting way to get hundreds of accounts of animals killed by raccoons though.

This is fun with other animals, too. I tried to search for "killed by pigs" but it just gave me a bunch of articles about police brutality.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Buddy Ebsen was killed by a racoon. Don't know where I read that, but I read it recently.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:30 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


This American life ep319 has a terrifying story of a woman being attacked by a rabid raccoon. It sounds like her bulky snow suit saved her life. In a cage match with no snow suits and if the raccoon was motivated by rabies I'd say both would die. The human might take longer to bleed out, but there would be no winner.
posted by ChrisHartley at 12:36 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


>...but there would be no winner.

...Dalton?
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:37 PM on January 14, 2009


As for diseases, raccoon rabies doesn't exist in Missouri, state conservation scientists say. It's an East Coast phenomenon.

Yup, the tapeworm in Philadelphia raccoon meat'll give you the Hunger for sure.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:48 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


So my boyfriend decided to put in a hot tub this year. It's set into back deck, right off the kitchen, so you step down into it. Pretty nice, right? One night, he's sitting back and admiring the stars when a raccoon walks across the deck towards the hot tub. It sees him and freezes in place. He said it was within arms' reach. Since he was basically at eye level with the beast, he stood up a little to make himself look bigger, figuring to scare it off. It actually started moving closer to him. Fortunately a car drove by and it ran off.
posted by cabingirl at 12:50 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian and am always amazed that meat-eaters are so particular about which animals they will eat. Why a rabbit and not a raccoon indeed? It's a mammal - if you're ok with the cows and pigs, then I don't understand why you'd have a problem with the raccoons and kitties. It just seems silly.

I think it's better to eat the raccoons who have at least been able to live in the wild instead of supporting the farm industry and eating the animals living in their crap, injected with chemicals, eating remains of each other and all that...
posted by mdn at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]



This does not surprise me. My maternal grandfather raised rabbits for food, and would trap small wildlife on his property as well. Racoons, muskrat, mink, skunk - if it was made of meat, and he killed it, he ate it.

I often had some, too, when I was with him. Sometimes they tasted pretty gamey - squirrels that fed on acorns in particular - but nothing some BBQ sauce couldn't fix. Between what he taught me and all the Heinlein I had read, I considered myself well prepared for the downfall of civilization.

Given the way the economy is going, I may yet need those skills.

(side note - gramps was an awesome hunter. One shot, one kill. Always. And he never, in the time that I knew him, ever got skunked. Once on a hunting trip, we were walking along and talking. He stops me and says "That deer has been there for the past 5 minutes, are you going to shoot it ?" I said "what deer?". He looked at me cockeyed and then he put the gun to his shoulder and took a shot. Then told me to go get it. I still thought he was pulling my leg. He said "if I have to show you where the deer is you have to drag it to the truck". Yeah. I had to drag that godamned doe all the fucking way to the truck. It just wasn't fair. God, I miss him sometimes.)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:01 PM on January 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian and am always amazed that meat-eaters are so particular about which animals they will eat. Why a rabbit and not a raccoon indeed? It's a mammal - if you're ok with the cows and pigs, then I don't understand why you'd have a problem with the raccoons and kitties. It just seems silly.

I'm an omnivore and I'm always amazed that vegetarians are so particular about which plants they will eat. Why a carrot and not a sycamore tree indeed? It's a plant - if you're ok with broccoli and turnips, then I don't understand why you'd have a problem with the cacti and succulents. it just seems silly.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:06 PM on January 14, 2009 [18 favorites]


In college we had a raccoon population that subsisted mainly on scavenged pizza leftovers. One particularly big old grandfather raccoon must have weighed at least 50 pounds, and had a chewed-up scraggly mess of a tail, presumably from a tangle with a coyote. Anyway, this old dorm raccoon was exceedingly friendly and curious, and I'd run into him on a pretty regular basis when I'd be coming back to the dorms at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning after a rave, a night at the clubs, or some other such adventure. I'd sit down on the steps in front of the dorm and he's saunter right up, sit in my lap, and eat Tic-Tacs right out of my hand (I'm no biologist, but I imagine if your diet consists mostly of garbage, a breath mint now and then is a welcome change).

Anyway, my views on eating raccoon are similar to my views on eating dogs or cats; I'd try it, but not one I knew. I could eat a strange raccoon, yes, but not this fellow, because we were friends. Similarly, I could probably eat a dog, but I certainly wouldn't eat my dog.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:07 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


I just had to look up the killer catfish mentioned above. Here's a plausible-sounding case from Hungary. There's also the goonch catfish in India, which will supposedly eat corpses off floating funeral pyres and attack swimmers, although this sounds unlikely. Those Okie Noodlers seem to make out okay.
posted by echo target at 1:08 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never tried racoon, but I have had squirrel.

I was unemployed, and tired of living on boiled potatoes. A friend of mine called me, inviting me to go squirrel hunting with him, saying I could eat whatever I killed. It sounded fair enough to me, so I took him up on it. We drove out to the woods, and walked deeper in by way of railroad track. He loaded my shotgun with Magnum shells because, he explained, we would be walking through duck territory on the way to squirrel territory. So on we walked, not seeing any ducks.

It wasn't long before I spotted a squirrel up on the branch of a nearby tree about 20 yards away. Wild squirrels, apparently, are huge in comparison to the kind you toss popcorn to in the park. I raised my shotgun, got a bead on him, and my friend had just enough time to yell, "Wait, no!" before I pulled the trigger.

The shotgun blasted a column through the branch, and many branches behind it. The squirrel was evaporated. My friend facepalmed, walked over to me, and said, "I'm sorry, that was my fault. We should've taken the Magnums out a while back. I prefer something a little less destructive for squirrels."

He put some lighter shot shells in the shotgun. He used a .22 pistol, and managed to get five squirrels. I got two, with a shotgun. Which was enough to convince me that I probably would have been one of the first to die at Jamestown.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:11 PM on January 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I have a raccoon story.

Back when my dad was courting my mother in the mid-sixties, she had a younger brother in his teens (my uncle). My mother was from a quaint Mayberry-like town in the southern tier of New York, near the Pennsylvania border. Pretty much Nowheresville. One day, my uncle found a raccoon roaming the street looking kind of drunk and decided he wanted to keep him as a pet. He brought him home, put him on the porch, fetched it some water, and was bitten by the little sucker.

Well, my uncle didn't want to keep a pet that wasn't so nice, so he gave it to his buddy instead. My dad came by the next day to woo my mother ("Drive her to church," I'm told), and heard about my uncle's failed endeavor. Knowing the dangers of rabies, he took him to the doctor who said they would need to test the actual raccoon first. So they drove to the buddy's house and discovered the raccoon had already died and buried in the back yard. They dug up the raccoon from his recent grave and droveback to the doctor... who then informed them that he didn't have the right test to examine the carcass for rabies. They would need to SEND THE CARCASS TO BUFFALO.

My dad took action! - and drove to the post office. That's right, the United States Post Office, with a carcass of a raccoon in a cardboard box. The postal worker was a little hesitant to send a deceased animal through the USPS system, but couldn't find a regulation in his book at the time explicitly prohibiting it. "Raccoon... Raccoon... R...a...c... nope, nothing here. I suppose it's ok?"

Thus, they sent it to Buffalo. No delivery confirmation. No guaranteed delivery. Total trust in the government's operation. The lab results came back via telephone: Positive for Rabies. This all took around six or seven days, which was one day short before my uncle's own symptoms would have started.

Anyway, he lived, and has a cool story.
posted by yeti at 1:16 PM on January 14, 2009 [13 favorites]


Cool stuff, Echo Target, and I also was curious. But in the link it says a guy hooked a hunnerd fifty pound catfish and then wouldn't let go of the line, was pulled in and drowned when he bashed his head on a rock. I don't know if that counts as "killed by a catfish" anymore than it would be "killed by raccoon" if Greg Nog's neighbor had fallen out of the tree and died.

"Killed by stupid" is what's on the death certificate, in either case.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2009


I can see nothing wrong with eating a racoon, as long as it's healthy.
posted by ob at 1:30 PM on January 14, 2009


But men have been killed by catfish, no joke, so a raccoon wouldn't surprise me a bit.

I think a significant portion of those deaths are from "grabbling". There are of course other ways a catfish can hurt you. One of my favorite bits:
My 7 year old son caught a saltwater catfish aprox.8 in.long.He snatched it out of the water.It went about 6ft.up in the air and came down on my left hand,which was spread palm down on the boat seat.The left spine went completely through the joint of my finger,with the fish flopping.I had to press down hard on the heel of my hand,while standing on my finger tips with my right foot.and snatch a few times to pull it out.This was a Saturday morning.Naturaly,you cain;t interupt the one weekend a month that you have off,to go to a doctor.Wednesday morning,after working the 11-7 shift,I waited on the doctors office to open.Didn;t think I was going to get much sleep anyway,the way it felt.It felt the size of a 55 gal. drum.but only hurt every time my heart beat.That was over 30 years ago.I still have the finger.It is still stiff and hurts to bend that joint.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:31 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Catfish Noddleing? That's for the ladies...
posted by 445supermag at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2009


How about catching hogs by hand? Discussed previously
posted by exogenous at 1:48 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm pretty sure Buddy Ebsen was killed by a racoon. Don't know where I read that, but I read it recently.
posted by Astro Zombie


Wikipedia says he was killed by a three-legged raccoon that escaped from the kitchen, limped into the saloon, and said, "I'm lookin' for my paw."

Bartender said, "That ain't how the joke goes, but Paw's over there, under the funny hat."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:56 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it any good? Is it tasty?

I've had whale. It was ok. I mean, I can say "I had whale," but I wouldn't order it in a restaurant. It doesn't weird me out, it's just not all that good. I'd eat it if it were a choice between "Eat whale" or "eat turds" but really, it's pretty mediocre as far as foods go.

Reindeer's pretty tasty.

I wouldn't eat dogs or cats because it just seems... weird. I also wouldn't eat snake. I'm terrified of snakes. Hate 'em. Couldn't deal with having one on my plate, no way.

Other than that, I'll try "exotic" meats. I maintain that if I ever had dinner with a cannibal, and there was human being cooked anyway, I'd like to try a bite. I would never procure human for cooking purposes... but, y'know... if it was there...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:19 PM on January 14, 2009


I think a significant portion of those deaths are from "grabbling".

Noodling/grabbling is indeed what I was referring to. If a catfish can wrestle you underwater and keep you there, I'd call that remarkable. I believe noodling-related deaths are the major reason many states have outlawed the practice.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:34 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm not at all squeamish; started life on a farm. But I can't eat a raccoon. See, I live in an urban area, have for years, and we used to have a dog door. Well, a racoon came in one night (which freaked me out), and we made friends, he and I. He stayed around for several years, even snuck in one night and ate a whole pan of brownies. He was very intelligent, and also very gentle and docile. We named him Dexter (play on words of 'dexterous'). After a couple of years, somehow, he found a raccoon companion, who we named Andy (a play on 'ambi', as in 'ambidexterous'). If they'd been a breeding couple I might have been concerned, but I checked and they both had little raccoon penises, so we called them the gay couple. Heh.

In any case, after seeing how sweet and gentle they could be, and after seeing how intelligent they are, I just can't see myself eating one. I guess it's hypocritical because I do eat pigs and I know they're very intelligent -- but I never had a pig as a multi-year companion. Regardless, I wouldn't be able to eat raccoon without envisioning Dexter's sweet raccoon face, and I don't see any need to go through that, when other kinds of meat are readily available.

I'm not complaining about those who eat coon though. I don't really have a moral problem with it; it's just that after you've had one as a friend it wouldn't feel right to eat one, at least not to me.
posted by jamstigator at 2:48 PM on January 14, 2009


I kinda remember another Twilight Zone episode where Catherine the Great was killed by a horse.
posted by digsrus at 2:56 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


He stayed around for several years, even snuck in one night and ate a whole pan of brownies. He was very intelligent, and also very gentle and docile.

Especially after the brownies.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:01 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would totally eat a raccoon. Sure, they can be cute, like the one that was living IN my mom's BBQ grill. But they can also be really mean and nasty, like the one my father and law recently trapped (after several attempts, in which the raccoon totally outsmarted him and got the food without getting caught). If I had read this then, I might have asked my father-in-law if he felt up to killing and skinning. He grew up on a farm, he could do that. Next time, maybe.

Although what's this about worms, tape and otherwise? I don't want to take any neighbors up on anything until I've fully investigated the parasitical worm threat.
posted by threeturtles at 3:03 PM on January 14, 2009


It is not surprising that going underwater in a muddy river, blindly sticking your whole fucking arm in a hole in the bank and attempting to entice a hundred-pound catfish to grab hold of you is more dangerous than hustling a raccoon out of your garage with a broom.

I've been noodling.* I've been in the immediate proximity of an enraged momma raccoon protecting her kits.

I'll take the crazy raccoon over the INVISIBLE HUNDRED-POUND PIECE OF SOLID MUSCLE WITH TEETH ATTACHED TO MY ARM DRAGGING ME UNDERWATER any day of the week.

I mean, if you woke up from a sound sleep and a raccoon were standing on your chest swatting at your eyes, yeah, fucking terrifying. Otherwise, eh. Not so much.

*OK, I was sitting on the river bank drinking beer watching a bunch of rednecks try to drown themselves by catching giant catfish with their bare hands. This may not qualify as actually participating, but I did help clean the fish.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:04 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This American life ep319 has a terrifying story of a woman being attacked by a rabid raccoon

The take-away from that story is DO NOT WAIT TO GET A RABIES SHOT. Cause it's fatal.
posted by smackfu at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2009


Also raccoon is a bitch to clean. It's a lot of work for not a lot of meat. I recommend goat. Cheaper, tastier, more versatile, plus free lawn mowing for months while you fatten him up.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


As it turns out, the preferred method was for the neighbors to chase after the raccoons with dogs, until the dogs had gotten the coons up a tree. At that point, the neighbor would climb the tree, and shoot the raccoon in the head with a pistol.

Ah, we are truly the greatest organism. By which I mean, the human-specific nano-plague can't come soon enough.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I used to hunt racoon, and I must say that I find two things about your story, Greg Nog, astounding. One, I never hunted anything (except for the most dangerous game, tigers with lazer beams) with a pistol. Second, racoons kill dogs and people. I would not get anywhere near an angry, frightened, treed racoon. Your parents' neighbors are morons.

Definitely morons. Raccoons get BIG, and they are vicious when cornered (and just plain mean the rest of the time). My mom shot one off of our chicken coop roof when I was a kid, and it must have been 50lbs and the size of a medium sized dog. There were a lot of people who hunt raccoons in Southern Michigan, and they usually use dogs and a pickup or car with one headlight that points up. The dogs tree the raccoon, and they spotlight it with the car and then shoot it. Back in the late 70's early 80's the pelts were worth $25 a piece, which was pretty good money.

Also, I never realized people where so uptight about eating squirrels. I told some people out here in California that I used to eat squirrel when I was a kid and they wouldn't talk to me the rest of the day.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2009


Squirrels: rats with better PR.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:24 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I can second the substandard taste of whale. Its natural flavor was, to me, like a very tough beef soaked in powdered charcoal and water. When I've said this to fans of whale meat, they say, "Oh, that's because you need to marinate in [soy sauce/tempura/olive oil and lemon] for 24 to 48 hours before you cook it." That really doesn't convince me. I could probably marinate my belt long enough to make it taste good.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:30 PM on January 14, 2009


see also Where the Red Fern Grows.

No thanks.

Saddest book ever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:42 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somehow I feel multiple orders of magnitude more sorry for raccoons being eaten than I do for dogs.
I've had both go through my trash but I've never seen a raccoon going after little kids.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:44 PM on January 14, 2009


PhoBWanKenobi: "No thanks.

Saddest book ever
."

Luckily for my 6th grade English class the heartbreak of Where the Red Fern Grows was balanced out by the frolicsome delights of Summer of the Monkeys. Because dude, it was about monkeys. Drunk monkeys. A whole summer-full of 'em.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:51 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not that long ago I read somewheres that Buddy Ebsen was killed when a raccoon stepped on his head and drowned him. I'm not sure how. Maybe the beast peed on him? I would never let a raccoon step on my head-- it seems like that theres might be dangerous.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:57 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to bet that that whole "spotlight 'em and shoot 'em out of the tree" technique is one of those Things Your Local Game Warden Frowns On, although I'm not sure that stopped many of the kids I grew up with. If I remember right, beating raccoons to death with a tire iron was also considered good sport.

I'm far from categorically opposed to hunting (I eat meat, albeit not a lot of it these days), but I have fairly good reason to be skeptical of claims that the overall culture of hunting and trapping is laden with concern about killing things humanely.
posted by brennen at 4:31 PM on January 14, 2009


Wikipedia claims that Buddy Ebsen died from pneumonia, but I like the raccoon Jaundice Betty story better. Wonder if he was one man in five hundred...
posted by Navelgazer at 4:58 PM on January 14, 2009


...but I've never seen a raccoon going after little kids.

That's because raccoons are smart, they don't get caught. All those missing child flyers you get in the mail? Raccoons ate 'em.
posted by dilettante at 5:23 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Racoons; I used to have a house on the outskirts of a wildlife preserve near Austin. We had a zillion critters wandering around at any given time. One of the neighborhood cats had given birth under our deck, so I was leaving food and water out there. Periodically, I would see "our" raccoons out there, sitting up, eating cat food, dunking it in the water and just noshing away. They were adorable. I'd always loved the raccoons.

Well, time passed, and those deck kittens emerged. I kept a couple of them. Every single one of them would eat dry food by sitting up like a prairie dog, dipping the kibble in water and eating with their hands. They were raccoon cats, I swear. Cutest thing, evah.

Catfish: We have a pond behind the house with catfish. My son was fishing out there with his dad one day and ended up catching a fish that was bigger than he was. It took 3 grown men to get the fish out of the water, and we needed a 5 gallon bucket just to hold the fish so we could unhook it and put it back. Everyone who now fishes in our pond knows to make sure that they have a knife, so they can just cut the line in case they happen to hook The Beast. There is no doubt in my mind that if someone actually tried to grab The Beast, they'd be underwater before they realized what happened.

Eating raccoon: My grandmother's 1931 edition of the Joy of Cooking has raccoon recipes. There's also a ton of them online.
posted by dejah420 at 5:41 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think someone's mixing Racoon up with Badger
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:09 PM on January 14, 2009


Baked Coon, Coon Vin Ordinaire, Drunk Coon, and Spiced Coon, from Mary Land's classic 1954 cookbook, Louisiana Cookery.

If possible, pen coon for a week and feed on milk, cornbread, and persimmons.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:18 PM on January 14, 2009


Catfish have killed semi-commonly around where I used to live in Illinois, or at least that's what they expect. It's the same general story as the sturgeon here, but I can't find any news links to catfish.

Anyway, every once in a great while a fisherman wouldn't come home and they'd find him face-down in the river. Only evidence of any harm was some slight head trauma and of course a lot of water in the lungs. Catfish can get big, and when they do decide to jump, hope you're not in the way.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:33 PM on January 14, 2009


In Seattle we used to have a raccoon that would eat my cats food where we fed her on the front porch, with the cat sitting calmly about a foot away. We have a picture of me with the raccoon as s/he gathered the food from my hand, never taking its eyes off of me, but not as agitated as some feral cats I've fed either. Not even the flash from the camera caused the raccoon to startle.
My cat didn't care, she knew we would keep bringing food. The raccoon didn't care, it wasn't being menaced. I don't think a raccoon / human fight is hard to avoid, they seem to read humans well.*


*Does not necessarily apply to rural raccoons.
posted by vapidave at 7:03 PM on January 14, 2009


With all the racoons I saw as a kid, I never imagined eating one, seems like it'd be too gamey. I've eaten horse. Here in Japan, it's somewhat of a delicacy. It looks just like beef, but isn't nearly as good--it's as gamey as you'd expect. Also whale is underwhelming. Turtle soup is pretty gross, but it has its fans.

In my small town in Arkansas growing up, there were racoons that would show up from the creek near the backyard every time we took out the trash. My family would all be watching TV and hear the crash! bang! of the garbage cans, then we'd open the back door and see the coons around the trash.

Dad would go to the Game and Fish Comission, and come back with a big steel cage trap.
We'd trap a critter, then Dad would drive it back to Game and Fish, and they'd release it out in the wild somewhere. It was better than killing the things.

Back in the late 80s we must've caught 2 dozen racoons over about a 5 year period. Then the area was somewhat developed and that creek behind our yard was largely denuded, so I suppose they largely disappeared.

I remember thinking how cute they looked and wanting to pet them, but my parents put the fear of God in me about those racoons: they are not friendly creatures. Up close, they're large and bulky, and most of all they have these claws on hands and feet that are nature's helpful sign stating "stay the fuck away". Even when one was safely trapped in its cage, I kept a good distance.
posted by zardoz at 7:07 PM on January 14, 2009


Definitive internet-comics statement re: the intelligence of raccoons
posted by penduluum at 7:15 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


[read the whole thread, can't believe I missed that, Rhaomi.]
posted by penduluum at 7:16 PM on January 14, 2009


Also, six-or-six-thirty immediately above is not kidding.

Look at this pic of a catfish from the Mekong delta.

I'd hate to see someone try to noodle that.
posted by vapidave at 7:16 PM on January 14, 2009


I'd hate to see someone try to noodle that.

I'm sorry but "noodling catfish" just sounds wrong. Back to the topic, damn near any animal can be tasty if prepared by a good game cook. Hell, I even had some damn good squirrel once. Of course someone who doesn't know how to cook game can put you off of "wild" meat for a long time (I'm looking at you, and your Moose steak, Tom).
posted by MikeMc at 7:45 PM on January 14, 2009


Look at this pic of a catfish from the Mekong delta.

That right there is one big mother fucker. You would need a truckload of hush puppies.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:20 PM on January 14, 2009


Weird - so, is the news media "breaking" these stories to us, to show just what we may eat in the next couple years? I just heard a 10 minute radio segment on the growing popularity of Squirrel in the UK...

Rodents? Somehow, I doubt eating rodents can be healthy.
posted by jkaczor at 9:24 PM on January 14, 2009


I heard Buddy Ebsen got shot out of a tree by a raccoon armed with an adorably mini-sized Mauser.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:49 PM on January 14, 2009


Whale - fishy beef
Muktuk (Whale skin and blubber) - chewy, bland, tastes like HP sauce because you eat it with HP sauce
Muskrat - fishy beef, oily
Caribou - oh my god, amazing. If I could have only one meat for the rest of my life, it would be this one
Muskox - good if you marinate it
Reindeer - just like other deer, good but not as good as caribou
Squirrel - meh, not very exciting
Shark meat - fishy beef
Shark fin - tastes like chicken, makes you a bad bad person
Pig intestine - chewy and bitter
Goat - really enjoy this one, especially in middle eastern or indian dishes
Rabbit - couldn't tell, sauce was too strong. Texture like chicken
Sago worm - starchy, like overcooked pasta

Raccoon - never eaten one. Never even seen one for that matter.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:50 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm terrified of snakes. Hate 'em. Couldn't deal with having one on my plate, no way.

What? Prepared meat doesn't look like the animal itself. Not unless you're eating something with a shell.
posted by ryanrs at 12:24 AM on January 15, 2009


Apocryphally, larger specimens of the Wels catfish have been caught with the bodies of small children and dogs in their stomachs. Now, whether that means "kill" or "scavenge," I don't know, but...
posted by bettafish at 12:27 AM on January 15, 2009


I remember thinking how cute they looked and wanting to pet them, but my parents put the fear of God in me about those racoons: they are not friendly creatures.

When I was a kid, people used to take in orphaned raccoons. You could always tell which kids in school had the raccoon kits because they'd always have HUGE scratches all over their arms. Even as babies they were pretty rough. Some may find them cute, but they are definitely not cuddly.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:45 AM on January 15, 2009


After this cooking process I can't see how it woudl taste much different to any other meat

"the meat is thawed. Then brined. Soaked overnight. Parboiled for two hours. Slow-roasted or smoked or barbecued to perfection."

brined overnight and boiled for 2 hours? why?
posted by mary8nne at 4:58 AM on January 15, 2009


Brining game makes a huge reduction in "gamey" taste. Basically, animals that are killed in a slaughterhouse have the blood drained out immediately. This is not possible with most game, and the salt water of the brine draws out the blood. Boiling is necessary because these are wild animals that have moved around and used their muscles. Most meat in the store is from very young animals (why feed them to maintain them beyond when they stop growing). Secondly, they are too small to cut steaks off of and therefore avoid connective tissue. Frankly though, I'd rather have a tough piece of meat that's been tenderized than a naturally tender piece.
posted by 445supermag at 5:51 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This American life ep319 has a terrifying story of a woman being attacked by a rabid raccoon. It sounds like her bulky snow suit saved her life. In a cage match with no snow suits and if the raccoon was motivated by rabies I'd say both would die. The human might take longer to bleed out, but there would be no winner.

Yeah, raccoons are pretty resilient (and VICIOUS) things when in perfect health, but god help you against a rabid one... there was a rash of infections spotted near where I grew up about 15 years ago, and my father dusted off his .308 to temporarily supplant the .22 he usually kept around for pest control. Lo and behold, there were two raccoons drunkenly stumbling around the back yard one day, which is seriously bad news. Dad put a .308 round through the midsection of one of them from 50 yards, and it turned and charged at him. That damned thing had a hole through him big enough to see daylight, and it barely fazed him--took a headshot to bring him down. So, yeah, I wouldn't want to tangle with 30+ pounds of teeth and claws, snowsuit or no snowsuit.
posted by Mayor West at 6:09 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


An old coon huntin' story.
posted by lysdexic at 7:42 AM on January 15, 2009


Frankly though, I'd rather have a tough piece of meat that's been tenderized than a naturally tender piece.

Word. The Ms. and I bought a quarter of a cow last spring and we've made it through all of the easy cuts and are now working through the weird bits that need lots of braising. It takes more time, but the flavor of a ribeye is downright insipid compared to an oxtail or a shortrib that's been braised until it's falling off the bone.
posted by stet at 8:06 AM on January 15, 2009


mdn writes "Why a rabbit and not a raccoon indeed? It's a mammal - if you're ok with the cows and pigs, then I don't understand why you'd have a problem with the raccoons and kitties. It just seems silly. "

The only differentiator for me is I've heard carnivorous and especially carrion carnivores taste like ass. So as long as that raccoon was grain fed it would be a-ok. The smell of cooking fish bacon put me off bacon for years.

Considering they seem to range practically to the Arctic circle in Alberta I wonder what keeps them out of most of BC.
posted by Mitheral at 6:21 PM on January 15, 2009


I'm an omnivore and I'm always amazed that vegetarians are so particular about which plants they will eat. Why a carrot and not a sycamore tree indeed? It's a plant - if you're ok with broccoli and turnips, then I don't understand why you'd have a problem with the cacti and succulents. it just seems silly.

You can't digest trees. But you knew that.
Marvin Harris has written about the cultural norms of meat eating, if you're interested. It is actually a weird mental disposition, that we find some animals edible and some just "not for eating", even when they are perfectly tasty and digestible. And those animals are not the same ones in different cultures - so we're grossed out when we go somewhere that they eat dogs or insects or pigs or cows or raccoons or squirrels or whatever it is that we don't eat where we're from.

But sure, compare it to eating furniture, it's practically the same.
posted by mdn at 9:59 AM on January 16, 2009


You can't digest trees.

Now wait a damn minute here. I am certain that when I was a child Euell Gibbons came on TV and told me that many parts of the pine tree are edible.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:42 PM on January 16, 2009


You can't digest trees.

Now wait a damn minute here. I am certain that when I was a child Euell Gibbons came on TV and told me that many parts of the pine tree are edible.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:42 PM on January 16 [+] [!]


My grandmother told me that during the famine in Finland, her ancestors would peel off the inner bark of the pine tree with a draw knife and dry it over the wood stove. It could then be ground into flour.

From wikipedia:
The name “Adirondack” is an Iroquois word which means tree-eater and referred to their neighbors (more commonly known as the Algonquians) who collected the inner bark during times of winter starvation. The white soft inner bark (cambial layer) was carefully separated from the hard, dark brown bark and dried. When pounded this product can be used as flour or added to stretch other starchy products. Linnaeus noted in the 1700’s that cattle and pigs fed pine bark bread grew well but he personally did not like the taste.

Don't have enough to go aroundj? Just remember, you can use pine bark as raccoon helper.
posted by 445supermag at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2009


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