Buttermilk Fried Squirrel with Southern Gravy

August in Kentucky was always a special time of year when I was growing up. The waning days of summer meant squirrel season was about to open, and that hunting season in general was upon us. Many a morning was spent patrolling the woods around our farm, and many a fine meal resulted. Squirrel meat has been held in high regard by American diners since the days of Lewis and Clark. Even James Beard, in his classic “American Cookery”, wrote,

“Squirrel has been written about rapturously for years. And it has long been associated with elegant dining as well as with the simple food of the trapper and the nomad.”

Fast forward 30 or so years and squirrel season has once again taken a front-row seat. This time it is with my youngest son, Potroast. While he is passionate about chasing bushytails, he tends to be a bit too nomadic to do much harm to the local population. But, a few days ago I talked him into trying it my way and parking under a couple colossal hickory trees along our pasture edge. I pointed out the green cuttings littering the ground as proof that we were in a good spot. By morning’s end, he had four nice young grays in the bag, more than enough for a fine dinner. We headed home and employed the Will Brantley method of skinning our take, then quartered them up and placed them in a bowl of salted water in the refrigerator.

That evening, I rinsed the squirrels well and replaced the salt water with enough buttermilk to cover the squirrel pieces. Back into the fridge for another hour or so and they were ready to fry for dinner.
Recipe HERE

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20 Responses to Buttermilk Fried Squirrel with Southern Gravy

  1. Ed says:

    I love to hunt squirrels and like them to eat as well, but I’ve given up on them because of how hard they are to skin vs how old my hands are getting to be. I’ve tried about every way there is and often end up tearing the carcass in half trying to pull the damn skin off. Next one gets skinned with Tannerite…

    • Wirecutter says:

      They are hard to skin. I’ve always made a slit on the back just under the ribs, inserted my fingers under the skin and pulled… and pulled… and cussed… and pulled my hands apart.

  2. Bright Eyes says:

    Squirrel gravy is hard to beat. Squirrel in the Shenandoah Valley were always scarred with warbles. I know, cut them off but damn there wasn’t much meat left there were so many. Y’all find a lot of warbles too?

    • skipperdaddy says:

      Dont huntem til after a good frost. Trapped a yote 2 wks ago had what looked to be warbles or wolves on it. Usually I skin everything and tan but i didnt wanna fuk with that and buried it in pasture. Figured it was good practice for whats coming down the line.

    • Pointy End Out says:

      What is / are “ warbles” ?

  3. greg says:

    A few years ago I had shot, and gutted and skinned 8 golden colored squirrels (what grow in Montana cities). Then, I froze them as I wanted to have enough for a stew. They were the toughest meat I have ever had in my whole life. So I took them out of the stew, and fried them. Still way too tough. Eventually I threw all the ‘squirrel fixens’ away. I will try again, using your way of cooking.

  4. skipperdaddy says:

    Went squirrel hunting this morn, so what a surprise to see this. Only bounced 2 but I got a small rabbit too so I been wanting some dumplings and the cold weathers coming. Oh yea comfort food at its best.

  5. Scott Doe says:

    Chicken of the trees….

  6. Dan says:

    Tree rat…..

  7. lynn says:

    Many years ago I would go hunting with my brother. We used .22. Usually got several. I like them fried.

  8. Brooks says:

    Typically they can be pealed like a banana…the tricky
    part is to not allow the head to pop off in the process.
    My self, being the eighth generation of Scott – German
    decent out of the Shenandoah Mountains.
    Hunting is a passion for me, born out of necessity for
    my ancestors, to add to their food sources.
    One day I bagged about a dozen Squirrels.
    Brought them home and my Grandmother cooked them
    very much like the article suggests. The salt water draws
    all the blood out of the tissue, and the buttermilk tenderizes.
    Battered and black skillet fried…mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

    • nonncom says:

      Used to go squirrel huntin’ with my Grandfather as a kid…..my Grandma and my Aunts were really good at skinnin’ those critters….nail em’ to a tree or a fence-post,couple slits on the underside and a quicky round the feet, peel it right off….same technique for rabbits….just don’t let that fur touch the skin….LOL….my Grandma had this exquisite gravy she used to make to serve up the squirrel….kinda’ reddish and thin, almost clear….my Lord, mouth is watering thinking about it….took a mess of squirrel as we had usually at least 10 for supper….it was supplemented by another meat plus whatever was left over from the night before….fresh vegetables from the back 40, homemade biscuits and bread, rice AND potatoes….sometimes macaroni and cheese….used to pour milk and sugar over the left over rice for desert when there wasn’t any desert….not a bad way to grow up….I miss them all….

  9. bootmaker says:

    My grandmother would soak the squirrel meat overnite in buttermilk, and make damned fine stew, but would save that particular portion that my Grandfather loved so much, his favorite dish in the world … brains and eggs

  10. bobby vee says:

    Mess o’ brains. Granny Lee would fix them with a side of biscuits and gravy.

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