BBQ Squirrel

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As the archery and waterfowl seasons begin to wind down, we turn our attention to smaller quarry, such as squirrels. Squirrels are not only a blast to hunt, especially for kids, but they are also delicious. This recipe is pretty simple but it does require submerging the meat in a wet brine for 2-3 days. The brining process keeps the meat juicy and can also help to tenderize tough pieces. These make a perfect appetizer for those weekend movie nights or the big game.

Special Equipment:
Pellet smoker or gas grill

Ingredients:
4-5 squirrels
BBQ rub such as Meateater Beaver Trapper
Cooking oil
Brine
1 cup Kosher salt
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup molasses
4-5 tablespoons BBQ rub
2 cans lager beer

Preparation:
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer and add salt, BBQ sauce, molasses, and rub and stir until the salt and rub dissolve.
2. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool a bit before adding the beer. Add enough water to the brine to make 1 gallon and place it in the refrigerator or on ice to cool completely.
3. Thoroughly rinse squirrels and remove any hairs. I prefer to remove the legs and then cut the back in half.
4. Add the squirrel pieces to a Ziploc bag and pour enough cold brine to thoroughly cover all the pieces. Squeeze out any excess air and place the Ziploc bag in a large bowl and place it in the refrigerator or in a cooler on ice for 2-3 days.
5. This recipe will not use all the brine, so the excess can be poured in a plastic jug and frozen for later use. (The excess brine is great for chicken and pork, although I cut the soak time down to 6-12 hours for domestic meat.)
6. Once the brining time is complete, simply remove the squirrel pieces, give them a quick rinse, and place them on a sheet pan. Pat each piece with paper towels to dry and sprinkle with the BBQ rub and apply a light drizzle of cooking oil.
7. Heat your smoker or grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the squirrel and turn every 10-15 minutes. Cook until the thickest part hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Warm ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. Add the squirrel pieces to a large bowl, drizzle the BBQ sauce over top, and then toss to coat.

Alternate Cuts That Work:
Rabbits or game birds.

John Vile

I live in NE Pennsylvania with my wife and two children. My passions include chasing whitetail deer during archery season, hunting waterfowl on local creeks, rivers, and agricultural fields, freshwater fishing, and assisting my wife with the vegetable garden. I spend almost every available minute on the water and in the woods with my kids and wife, and for us, spending time in the outdoors as a family is a way of life.

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