Rattlesnake meat is a southwestern delicacy. If you haven't ever eaten rattlesnake, you are in for a real treat. No, it doesn't taste like chicken! It has a much gamier flavor, much more reminiscent of pheasant, frog legs, alligator, or even elk. There are two ways to cook rattlesnake meat: De-boned, or with the bones still intact.
If you cook it with the bones intact you will have to deal with them while eating it. This is no big deal really, and in fact many "just the snake" type recipes (baked snake, southern fired snake, etc.) call for the snake to be cut into pieces and cooked with the bones. Using the snake meat in chili or other dishes where the meat is blended into the dish calls for removing the bones. This can be done by simmering the snake carcass for an hour in a pot of water with some lemon juice and maybe a little bit of spices. Then the meat will come off the bones easily.
Be sure to taste it before mixing it in with the other ingredients! Here is an easy-to-make recipe for Rattlesnake Chili: 1 large onion, chopped 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes 1 15 oz. can tomato paste 1 28 oz. can chili beans 1/4 cup chili powder 2 tsp.
cumin 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 2 lb. rattlesnake meat juice from 1/2 lemon Simmer rattlesnake in water and lemon juice for 1 hour, remove and separate meat from bones. Combine de-boned meat with the rest of the ingredients in a crockpot and slow-cook for 6-8 hours, or bring to boil in large cooking pot and simmer for 2 hours.
There is an environmentalist movement that is against the killing of rattlesnakes for food. Of course there is. They think it's cruel.
Despite what these people say, snakes proliferate very efficiently in the wild. Besides, at least this kind of meat is the result of hunting. Snakes are not bred for human consumption - there's something humanly honest and ancestrally connective about that. Is the scene of a massive field of cattle being gently led to the slaughter their portrayal of a humane meat industry? Anyway, I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian! Which brings up another point: There simply are not enough restaurants offering wild game dishes.
Why not? These are the best gourmet plates that can be served! One place I have found them a little more is on cruise ship dinner menus. Not enough, but at least some. Of course, I have never seen a rattlesnake dish offered while at sea. Maybe on a cruise of the Rio Grande?.
Andrew Kasch loves the flavor of game dishes - Boar, Quail, Elk, Caribou, Pheasant, and of course, Rattlesnake! Find more of his rattlesnake recipes at: http://www.rattlesnakerecipe.us