Yes, that's beaver, not beef. And yes, that is what we had for dinner tonight.
Hold up, you say. Beaver? Who eats beaver?
Well, people that trap them, I guess. Like A.
Long back story there, but the upshot of it is, A. caught a beaver in a trap yesterday and brought it home.
Don't worry, it was dead. We weren't trying to give Jack a ride on a live bucking beaver.
Now obviously, beaver hides are valuable, and that will certainly be saved, but what about the meat? Can you eat beaver?
But of course.
I mean, you can eat anything, really, the question is, will you want to?
Well, let's find out!
First Cubby requested that the tail be frozen for future roasting over a campfire, as described by Steven Rinella in his book Meat Eater. (Good book, by the way.)
Roger that. One beaver tail is now in the freezer with the raccoons*.
And what about the rest of the meat? Well, according to the all-knowing Internet, beaver meat is more or less interchangeable with beef.
Sure it is.
I always have my doubts about those claims, but I was willing to try it. So A. cut off the front and back legs and the backstraps, and put them to soak in salt water last night.
This morning I dumped out the salt water, dried the pieces, browned them, and simmered them for several hours in a mixture of tomato juice, onions, and garlic.
When the meat was coming off the bone, A. stripped the meat off and we tasted it.
A. thought it tasted like a cross between beef and dark-meat chicken. I think it's more like the dark-meat chicken, but it's definitely not exactly either of those. It tastes like . . . well, like beaver.
Not bad, though. Certainly no gamier than venison.
I mixed the shredded meat and some of the tomato juice mixture with more onions, garlic, chili powder, and cumin and we ate it in some corn tortillas.
Everyone ate it and enjoyed it. Cubby and Charlie even gave it two thumbs up, and Cubby had two helpings.
So, can you eat beaver? Yup. You just might have some trouble procuring one . . .
* People have asked if we eat the raccoons, and the answer is, so far, no. I know you can, and people do, but I'm always a bit wary of eating something even the dogs won't touch. Maybe someday we'll try it, but I'm in no hurry.