Fried Squirrel N Gravy

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4 squirrels, one per person (cut squirrels into five or six pieces)
1 Vidalia onion, coarsely sliced vertically
2 teaspoons Morton table salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns - to taste (Tellicherry)
2 teaspoons Wild Bill's Meat Rub
2 1/2 cups Crisco vegetable oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour (for the dredge)
1 egg, well beaten (for the drench)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon bacon drippings or lard
1 cup milk (for the drench)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour for gravy/roux
1/4 cup reserved oil from frying squirrels for gravy/roux
3 quarts water, enough to completely cover squirrels
1 quart reserved squirrel broth
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce (optional)

Add 3 quarts water, squirrels pieces, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to a 12 quart pressure cooker over high heat.  Follow your pressure cooker manufacture's protocol to be safe, making certain that the stem for the petcock is not obstructed and lid seal is not cracked.  Use the 15 pound setting on the petcock and when pressure cooker reaches steam stage, lower heat to medium and pressure cook squirrels about 20 minutes.  Extra large squirrels will take about 30 minutes to tenderize.  At the end of 20 minutes, turn stove top burner off and allow pressure cooker pressure to reduce and carefully place pressure cooker under cold running water in sink before attempting to remove the pressure cooker lid.  Check the squirrels to be sure they are fork tender and remove to a serving pan or large bowl and allow to cool.  You don't want the squirrel meat to fall from the bone.    Reserve at least 1 quart of the squirrel broth for your gravy/roux.

Add 2 1/2 cups Crisco oil and bacon drippings to a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 beaten egg and 1 cup of milk to a large bowl and mix well.  Season the milk egg mixture with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.  Place 2 cups all-purpose flour in a flat bottom pan; add 2 teaspoons Wild Bill's Meat Rub and stir to combine.

Dip squirrel pieces into the seasoned flour (dredge) and shake off excess.  Dip squirrel pieces into the milk/egg mixture (drench), allowing excess to drain back into the bowl.  Place drenched squirrel into the seasoned flour (dredge), evenly coat and shake off excess. Coat as many pieces that will fit into your skillet and fry each side until golden brown.  Remove squirrel from the hot oil and allow to drain on a baker's rack.  Fry squirrel in batches and do not overcrowd your skillet.  Loosely tent the fried squirrel with aluminum foil to prevent drying out while preparing the gravy/roux.

Reserve 1/4 cup oil from frying the squirrels and use the same skillet over medium heat; add 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour and stir to combine.  Cook the oil/flour stirring constantly until a dark color is reached which will take about 10 to 20 minutes.  Add a cup full of the reserved squirrel broth at a time to the roux and stir to combine until smooth.  Season the gravy/roux with salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste.  Add onion slices and simmer about 7 minutes.  You want your gravy/roux to be thin, since you will be simmering the fried squirrel for at least 30 minutes.  Add fried squirrel back to the skillet with the gravy/roux and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour or longer.  Serve fried squirrel and gravy over a bed of white, yellow or wild rice with your favorite sides.

YIELD: 4 or more servings of 2 to 4 pieces of squirrel per person

Above fried squirrel n gravy prepared on 08-09-14 and outstanding!  I left about half the fried squirrels out of the gravy and simmered the balance for about 30 minutes.  It was marvelous both ways; I had the best of both worlds of cooking squirrel today.  Served with yellow rice, Brussels sprouts, carrots and Mary B's Tea biscuits.  Naturally, I had to use my favorite blue/white plate for the camera.....grin if you must!

Click on below sequence thumbnail pixs for a larger screen view:

NOTES:  Folks around these parts don't hunt squirrels like they did back in the 1950s through out the 1970s since the popularity of hunting Whitetail Deer came of age, whereas hunting small game diminished taking a back seat to Big Game Hunting!  I cut my hunting teeth harvesting squirrels as a young lad of 11 years old and enjoy harvesting them today as much as I did back then.

View my squirrel skinning 101 page showing how I skin and process squirrels.

Before using the pressure cooker method, we simply boiled the whole squirrels in seasoned water; salt, black pepper, red pepper and/or fat back until the meat was about to fall off the bone; removed the squirrels and cut them into quarters and pan fried them as above and made the gravy and added the fried squirrels back to the gravy/roux or kept the fried squirrels separate.  Just as good either method but the pressure cooker reduces the boil time by several hours, especially for mature old squirrels.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter on 07-30-14 with pixs added on 08-09-14.


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