Recipe contributed by Field Staff Writer J. Wilcox.
My favorite thing to do when I’m not chasing whitetails in the hills of Kentucky is to get after the furry little critters that sound just like them from the stand, squirrels. I am a continuous advocate of small game hunting, because it provides a distinct hunting experience and develops a diverse set of skills for the benefit of any type of hunter. Harvesting small game doesn’t just teach you the essentials to be an effective woodsman, but also provides a unique game meat in which you can add diversification in the kitchen as well the field. While taking some spring squirrels into the kitchen I thought about cultures from around the world and how they utilize game meats similar to that of the squirrel, a member of the rodent family. I recalled a clip from a travel show a few years back where they harvested rats and prepared them by wok frying them with veggies and tossing in a spicy glaze. I re-purposed this concept to fit the qualities and traits of squirrel meat and in the end was extremely happy with this healthy, starch free and extremely simple Spicy Squirrel Stir Fry.
Stir Fry Sauce
- (2 tbsp.) – Honey
- Sriracha (There are less spicy options available for those that don’t love the heat)
- Ginger Paste
- Soy Sauce(Low Sodium)
- (1/2 tbsp.) – Sesame Oil
- Rice Vinegar
- Orange Zest
- Two Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Lg. Spiralized Zucchini (cooked brown rice can be used as a substitute)
- 2 Lg. Spiralized Carrots
- ½ Cup Water Chestnuts
- 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
- (Optional) Any of your favorite stir fry veggies like baby corn.
- 3 Lg. Squirrels cut into serving pieces
- Whisk Together honey, sriracha, ginger paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, orange zest.
- Add two cloves garlic to sauce and set aside
- Place Squirrel pieces in shallow metal baking dish and place a few tablespoons quality butter along with some strips of lemon and orange peel on top of the meat. Cover tight with foil and bake in the oven at 225 F. Check after 2 hours and remove any pieces that are fork tender.
- Continue checking in 30 minute increments until all pieces are fork tender.
- Warm a cast iron skillet to medium heat and lightly coat (with paper towel) with olive or peanut oil. Sear the squirrel pieces on both sides until golden brown and remove from skillet. If you would like to debone the meat you can do so now.
- Drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil to the now medium-high heat cast iron skillet and sauté veggies for 2-3 minutes; softening the veggies and giving them color without cooking them to a mushy texture. Make sure to lightly steam broccoli till halfway done before sautéing with all other veggies.
- When the veggies are done remove the skillet from the heat and add in the squirrel meat.
- Slowly drizzle in the stir fry sauce while gently mixing the ingredients until they are liberally coated in sauce.
- Serve the stir fry immediately and pair it with a seasonal summer ale to cool down the spiciness and accent the citrus in the sauce.