I’ve been mighty fortunate to be able to do quite a bit of coonhuting over the last few months and I love it. The excitement of a fine working hound on the trail is one of those sounds that enters deep inside me and gives me great joy. And these hounds I’ve been listening to as they untangle the toughest trail laid out for them by Mr. Coon, are some of the finest bred hounds to be found anywhere. Allen Vann, of Sawgrass Kennels has been perfecting his breeding program and training regimen for over thirty years and it’s his line of Treeing Walker Coonhounds that I hunt with.
But what do we do with them masked bandits? I'm often asked and it never fails to surprise me just how many folks have never even tried it. Raccoon has been a dinnertime staple in this country since its founding. They’ve been a desirable harvest for centuries not only for their beautiful pelts, but also their high fat content. The fat can be rendered down to oil and it can be used in everything from soaps to softening leather. Raccoon meat is generally, partaken of by those who live in less urban, agricultural areas and the deep woods. My granny was mighty fond of her crock pot and it was her favorite method to cook one. Crock Pot Raccoon, is an absolutely delicious meal, so don't be afraid to try this incredible rich, tender dark meat. And if you have any difficulty acquiring a ringtail to be a guest of honor at your table, give me a shout. I’ll surely lend you a hand.
Crock Pot Raccoon
1 Large Racoon
1 Large Onion
2 Stalks of Celery
1 Large Green Bell Pepper
Whole Garlic Cloves
4 Bay Leaves
1 Can French Onion Soup
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dress the racoon:
After you have skinned and removed the entrails, thoroughly wash the raccoon under cold running water. Trim absolutely as much fat away as you can. Raccoon fat is nothing like beef fat, so get rid of it. Next, cut it into quarters. Stick a whole clove of garlic into each quarter of the meat about an inch to an inch and a half apart.
Cover with water and boil in a large stock pot for about 10 - 15 minutes. Pour off the water and repeat. Do this twice.
Time to Cook! Place the raccoon in the crock pot. Salt and pepper it to taste. Crumble up and crush the bay leaves and sprinkle them over the meat. Finely chop up the celery and bell pepper. Slice the onions into quarters. Add the onion, celery, mushrooms and bell pepper to the pot. I like to add some onions beneath the meat as well. Mix onion soup, mushroom soup and water together and pour into the pot. Finally, turn the crock pot on high for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.
Serve over rice or with your favorite country sides like greens and fried taters and wash it all down with a quart jar of sweet tea. I promise, you’ll walk away wearing a grin! As always, if you have any questions or a story to share, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]
God bless and good hunting!