Rattlesnake-an everything guide

A rattlesnake on the Wild Oak Trail

Image via Wikipedia

I love being a wild man. Part of being a wild man is eating things that might make others cringe. I love rattlesnake and if the thought sickens you, you don’t know what your missing. I find rattlesnake to be light, chewy, with a delicate texture that resembles chicken. To many people rattlesnake does taste like chicken. To me it’s like chicken, but yet nothing like it. I’d say the best way to describe it is a mix between alligator tail, quail, pork and frogs legs all rolled into one. It really is a quite unique meat and I highly recommend putting aside that EEK SNAKE ON MY FORK AND IN MY MOUTH EW! thoughts and just give it a shot. You might find you love it. It is perfectly understandable to be afraid, after all they can kill us with a single bite. Many may fear that it’s dangerous and not safe well that’s not true. It’s perfectly safe, but like everything, you have to do it right way for it to be safe. Your not going to try hunting, with the barrel pointed into your chest right?

Depending on preparation the meat does have a bit of gamey flavor. I soak mine in acidic water.  1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water to make the acid water. Rattlesnake can be similar to seafood in taste if served the right way. Many recipes you find on the web are just rattlesnake substituted for beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. It works very well but, it’s certainly not too original.

I guess you can say I’m Ted Nugent at heart. I believe that animals were put on earth to be eaten. Do I recklessly go out to kill them, no and I never will. I find one in my kid’s sandbox though….It’s getting killed, it’s a danger to my kid/kids. If I kill it, it’s wasteful to not eat it.

The western diamondback is probably the snake you would find in the southwest. They rarely get larger then 7 feet long. I do not advertise going out hunting rattlesnakes. Rattlers can be mean, and can and sometimes do CHASE YOU! Unless your starving, or it doesn’t pose a threat to your family just leave it be!

I plan on being outdoors a lot when I get down to texas, so I’m going to get gear to protect from snake bites. I love to go splunking so I know I’m going to run into a rattlesnake so for me I’m going to be prepared.If your the same way and wanna prepare Cabela’s offers snake boots with a Dry-Lex® lining beginning at around $90.00. They also offer snake gaiters and chaps beginning at around $50.00 for men, women and children. In addition, snake pants are available for around $100.00 and Snake Guardz® is available for around $60.00. Dunns offer Russell® snake boots made with bullhide leather for around $300.00. The Sportmen’s Guide offers Guide Gear® snake boots for around $90.00 and, in addition, makes available other brands on a seasonal basis. This is not exhaustive list and there are other manufacturers from which to choose. I would personally uses Chippawa® snake boots and Cabela’s chaps. A good starting place is to look for boots and/or chaps that use bullhide leather or DuPont‘s® Cordura 1000 denier nylon.

For me, a small snub nose 38 would do the job quite well at dispatching the snake. You might be surprised but rattlers move very fast. So a head shot is best, and don’t worry about eating venom tainted meat. It only hurts if it’s injected directly into the blood stream.

This is how you butcher your snake properly. First remove the head, 3-4 inches behind the skull. Hang the snake in an area you don’t mind getting bloody. The snake will continue to move for the next several hours, so blood will probably splatter about. You need to bleed the snake as this will remove the gameyness that people often complain about.

Slice the snake’s belly from neck to tail.  Pull the skin off by peeling from the neck toward the tail. Cut off the skin and tail just before the rattle.  Remove entrails and dispose. Deboning is simply a matter of pinching the bones and pulling them off using a pair of deboning tweezers. Yes it is a lot of work. Expecially since the snake is still moving about at this point in time. So you got two options before deboning.

Option 1:  Rattlesnake meat needs to be handled gently to prevent it from breaking apart.   Carefully rub the meat under cool running water to remove any remaining blood which would give the meat a “gamey” taint.  Set in a firmly covered container until the meat stops writhing.

Option 2:  Set the snake meat to soak in a cold brine for several hours in a firmly covered container until it stops writhing.  The brine is made by adding 1/4 cup of salt to 1 gallon of cold water.  When the writhing has stopped, gently rinse the meat under cool running water to remove the excess brine.

Many people will be creeped out but the writhing is just a natural instinct. Just some….food for thought. Snakes are remarkable creatures and evolved 150 million years ago. There is stories and photos from florida where people try to kill pythons and the snake escapes an survives. There was one story of a snake being hit in the head twice with a machete and managed to survive and carried the scars ontop of it’s head. It’s a marvel that they can take that kinda punishment and survive.  That type of survival is not something you can easily kill.


11 comments on “Rattlesnake-an everything guide

  1. “I love being a wild man. Part of being a wild man is eating things that might make others cringe.”

    Your comment about yourself (above) reminds me of the “Skink” character in the Carl Hiaasen novels (like Stormy Weather). Quite a lovable, wild man who eats roadkill whether it’s snake, squirrel, etc. Quite a “green” concept when you think about it! he he …. A man ahead of his times. 🙂

    I appreciate the rattlesnake info! 🙂

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