Gray Squirrel season has been open for about a month now in CT and MA and I have been out chasing bushytails as much as time allows.
My season has been alright so far. With temperatures in the mid 80’s, low 90’s that put a stop to squirrel activity after about mid-morning. But I have not yet gotten skunked! Neither have I gotten my limit, but the season has just begun! Besides just being out there and enjoying nature is what it is more important to me then what I bring home. My weapon of choice for these guys this year has been my .25 Marauder, and it has performed amazingly!
This weekend was a bit rainy and more fall-like and got me thinking it was time to celebrate my successful hunts and have some fried squirrel and country gravy. Also that it was time to test my theory that cooking game meat sous vide is the way to go. After doing some digging online to see if anyone else has tried cooking squirrel this way and coming up blank, I decided to go with the general rule of thumb and treat squirrel meat the same as dark meat chicken. That being said, the wonderful guys over at Chefsteps that make the Joule have a,…’er, let’s say foolproof method for making fried chicken Sous Vide.
So I took my portioned and pieced squirrel out of the freezer. I sprinkled it with some salt and pepper. Using the Joule app, set the temperature for 154 degrees F with a time of 4 hours, 30 minutes, and let it cook.
After pulling it out of the ziplock bags, I dried it off really well and tugged at some of the meat on one of the backstraps to test tenderness. At this point, it seemed alright to me so I went ahead and went on to the next step, which was battering and frying it in a deep pan with peanut oil
One thing I should probably note here is that I am doing (and swear by) the Low Carb High Fat diet thing. The batter you see above is actually not regular white flour. It is a mixture of 50/50 Carbquik and unflavored whey protein isolate with seasonings added. I have done several test runs with chicken using this batter to get it as delicious as possible before this point out of respect for the squirrel whose life I took.
Along with the fried squirrel, I made a low carb country sausage gravy and garlic mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes. The gravy came out amazing as well. Normally I don’t care much for mashed cauliflower. With this gravy it was terrific!
The Results of the squirrel?
Well, the flavor was terrific! But unfortunately, the meat was a bit tough. So 4 hours and 30 minutes at 154 deg F are not long enough to tenderize gray squirrel meat sous vide. I have more in the freezer, and hopefully, my season continues to produce squirrels as well as other game meat and I will figure out the best way to do this and let you all know!
In the meantime, good luck to you all this hunting season! If you have any recipes or photos you’d like to share please make yourself a free account and join our forums and/or Discord community!