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Offline Student of Qi

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Snake cooking
« on: June 22, 2017, 09:11:10 PM »
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  • Ok, Folks, I need some inputs as to how to cook snakes! I'm catching one in my chicken coop almost every week. I simply pick them up, carry them to the woods and thow them in. The next time, however, I want to eat the poor unfortunate who slithers in...

    The last snake eaten was simply thrown on the BBQ pit, and it didn't turn out too well, as it was tough to chew.

    Help, please?
    Many people say "For the Honor and Glory of God!" but, what they should say is "For the Love, Glory and Honor of God". - Fr. Paul of Moll

    Offline Matthew

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 09:54:51 PM »
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  • If your last one turned out tough, I would recommend cooking your next one for a longer period of time over a lower heat. That certainly works for chicken, roast, and probably other meats as well.

    As an aside, I find it interesting that our cat(s) are never interested in eating the snakes I've killed. Even when they're fresh. And it isn't like our cats were spoiled by humans feeding them -- these are cats that catch almost everything they eat.
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    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 03:06:05 PM »
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  • Ok, Folks, I need some inputs as to how to cook snakes!  I'm catching one in my chicken coop almost every week. [....] Help, please?

    Potentially helpful readers need some outputs from you:
    What kind of snakes were or are they?

    Is there some reason why captures "almost every week" don't give you enough of a sample size to identify them--at least to place them in some useful category of snakes?

    I simply pick them up, carry them to the woods and th[r]ow them in.

    "[P]ick them up"?  So can readers assume that they're not venomous snakes?  You'd want to be a lot more careful & meticulous about cleaning them if they were.

    Offline Kimchi Ninja

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 05:16:56 PM »
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  • They are non-venomous Chicken Snakes.
    "Let us pray for each other that our Lord may give us the grace we need to become saints"_ Saint Bernadette

    Offline Student of Qi

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 06:23:49 PM »
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  • Potentially helpful readers need some outputs from you:
    What kind of snakes were or are they?

    Is there some reason why captures "almost every week" don't give you enough of a sample size to identify them--at least to place them in some useful category of snakes?

    "[P]ick them up"?  So can readers assume that they're not venomous snakes?  You'd want to be a lot more careful & meticulous about cleaning them if they were.
    I had to upthumb your post. If only I could be so meticulous with detail!

    Yes, they are "chicken snakes," therefore not venomous. Though one could possibly catch salmonella poisoning if bitten, or some other infection. They come into the coop looking for eggs, sometimes finding a meal and others being deported from the premises. To catch them I can pull them backwards by the tail while they attempt to slither away and then quickly put my foot on their head to prevent them from turning around and bitting, grab them close to the head and lift them from the ground. I have even attached a photo or two for reference as attachments.

    I would estimate that the nicer serpents are 2 inches or a bit more thick. Sure, that's not very helpful but, every snake is of a different length and diameter. About a month ago, one was caught and it was over 6 feet long! Some are thin as the thumb and others as thick as the palm of the hand.

    Any kind of advice on cooking any kind of snake is welcome!
    Many people say "For the Honor and Glory of God!" but, what they should say is "For the Love, Glory and Honor of God". - Fr. Paul of Moll


    Offline 1st Mansion Tenant

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 08:02:54 PM »
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  • My grandpa told a story about finding a snake stuck in the narrow space behind the corncrib in the barn when he was young- it had swallowed two eggs- there was one at each end, so it couldn't go forward or backward, and couldn't coil itself to break the shells. That was the end of that snake.  

    I have no helpful recipes , but maybe a pressure cooker would make the meat more tender.

    But, I have to ask, unless your pantry is really low, is it worth the trouble?



    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 11:34:05 PM »
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  • If only I could be so meticulous with detail!

    I only insisted on the barest basics.  And C.I.'s overly brief allowance for editing time prevented me from adding a question about the snakes' sizes.  It's a social aspect of the Internet that whenever you ask for help in any discussion forum, you should expect to provide whatever information you already have, or assumptions you've already made.  Unless you don't mind having your request widely ignored by readers who might have exactly the answer you're seeking.

    Yes, they are "chicken snakes," therefore not venomous.  Though one could possibly catch salmonella poisoning if bitten, or some other infection.

    My practical concern was whether you needed to be particularly fussy about exactly where the snake is beheaded.  I'm not completely sure that the venom glands of the pit-viper[‡] varieties of our U.S. venomous snakes don't extend a little bit down the neck beyond the head itself.  Either way, the cited source[†] directs the adventurous cook to clean the snake by slicing it open from the anal vent to the decapitation point, gutting it, and skinning it.  Only then should you begin your culinary experimentation.

    Quote from: Nester for www.outsideonline.com (Jun 2, 2010)
    Snake meat in the wilds can be likened to eating a roasted bike innertube, unlike the tender snake meat in a fine Texas restaurant that has marinated in wine sauce overnight. [†]

    I get the impression that quite a lot of marinade could be involved, which might make it too expensive to follow the high-falutin' advice never to cook (thus also never to marinate) with wine that's not good enough to serve in glasses to your house-guests.  I wonder whether a much-more frugal but nearly as useful marinade could be obtained from diluting a bottle of concentrated lemon juice.  Or even a gallon jug of "lemon drink", despite being adulterated with a hefty proportion of high-fructose-corn syrup?

    Quote from: Nester for www.outsideonline.com (Jun 2, 2010)
    Plus, the sheer amount of bones to sort through in a snake makes for a lengthy meal. [†]

    Or maybe instead of being used for a meal, try it as a snack for reading on the Internet, e.g., catching up on CathInfo?  I'm thinking of 1 Chinese preparation for eels, whose approx. 1-in.-diameter length is cut into 2-in.-long pieces (then stir-fried).  Viability might depend on being able to separate snake vertebrae cleanly before cooking--in contrast with Chinese and Caribbean brute-force use of heavy cleavers, which creates nasty sharp bone-shards that are especially troublesome for distracted eating.

    I've never prepped a snake for cooking, and I wonder if, by comparison with filleting thick-bodied fish, a snake has so little meat on the interior of its rib cage that that interior meat could be ignored?

    I'd be surprised if there weren't something useful that could be done with the skin: By simple geometry, a snake 2 in. thick has a skin 6 in. wide at that point.  As for disposing of the remaining carcass, how about chopping it up, and using it as bait for catfish (or crabs, if you're near salt or brackish water)?

    -------
    Note †: Tony Nester: "Is it safe to eat snakes?".  <https://www.outsideonline.com/1769726/it-safe-eat-snakes>,  whose logo identifies it as the on-line presence of the well-regarded Outside magazine.  Jun 2, 2010.  I don't claim that my brief excerpts above included the most important parts of this article, so please do read this article in its entirety.

    Note ‡: I.e.: rattler, copperhead, and cottonmouth (a.k.a. water moccasin).  Coral snakes are a whole 'nother genus, with venom that's way too potent to risk handling for cooking.

    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #7 on: July 01, 2017, 04:32:12 PM »
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  • Checking off 1 of my charitable things-to-do, I found nothing in the 1975 Rombauer & Becker edition of Joy of Cooking.  Why there?   It's an edition that came to be treasured years later for its political incorrectness: It offered recipes for creatures that began to be regarded protectively as "innocent animals", e.g., armadillo, beaver, muskrat[†], porcupine, opossum, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, and woodchuck, along with conventional large game (notably the bear so beloved by orthoënviros in north-central Florida), and even sea turtle.  Alas, when searching the index for "snakes", it skips from "snails" to "snipe".

    It's a social aspect of the Internet that whenever you ask for help in any discussion forum, you should expect to provide whatever information you already have, or assumptions you've already made.  Unless you don't mind having your request widely ignored by readers who might have exactly the answer you're seeking.
    And expect to do some research on your own in advance, when your inquiry is out-of-the-ordinary for the forum in which it's posed.

    Seein' as how there don't seem to be any family recipes for snake that any CathInfo members--at least those who haven't gotten an early start on 2nd-of-July weekend--are offering here, searches for "snake cooking preparation",  some of whose results are instructional videos[‡], seem unlikely to be uniformly unproductive places to start adventures in reptile cookery, even when unscheduled.

    -------
    Note †: Muskrat was reportedly allowed in certain Northern Plains dioceses on days of abstinence.  A related report claimed that eating it should be considered sufficient as an act of penance on such days.

    Note ‡: I mentioned videos despite my categorical rejection of spending time watching videos, which by its nature is an annoyingly passive activity, waiting to see or hear something that's worth my time spent overall.  And recognizing that that opinion is held by only a tiny minority among Internet users.  Harrrumpf!


    Offline Nadir

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #8 on: July 02, 2017, 06:18:23 AM »
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  • The only snake I have tasted was simply thrown into an open fire. I don't know what type it was but it was a bit like chicken meat. It was coming up to 50 years ago.

    The snake in your photo appears to be a python, sometimes referred to as a carpet snake. If you only throw it out of the coop into the woods it is not surprising that it comes back. That snake would not just be a chicken snake, but a cat snake or a pig snake or whatever it can swallow. 

    Why not try a stew with plenty of onions and garlic and a few of your favourite vegies and herbs/spices added.

    Why waste good meat? Buon appetito!

    Offline Student of Qi

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #9 on: July 02, 2017, 11:35:47 AM »
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  • But, I have to ask, unless your pantry is really low, is it worth the trouble?

    Well, no, it is not absolutely necessary but, it adds a different adventurous experience to an otherwise unimportant, uninteresting life. I would think more people would have a stronger sense of adventure and love of the exotic, especially in this modern society that seems so empty of anything, even though it claims to offer "everything".

    Trying something different culinarily is fun, and you never know, you might like it! If you want something simple to expirament with, try roasting eggs on a BBQ pit in their shells. It might take a few tries to get it right, but it's also fun and a bit of an art form. :-\ :ready-to-eat:



    Checking off 1 of my charitable things-to-do, I found nothing in the 1975 Rombauer & Becker edition of Joy of Cooking.

    And expect to do some research on your own in advance, when your inquiry is out-of-the-ordinary for the forum in which it's posed.
    I must say, thank you! I don't actually expect anyone to go out of their way to search for an answer to something seemingly unimportant like this. However, It was a simple presumption that one or two folks here may know something about cooking them in general and could share a tip or two.
    Anyhow, I did come across these two links, one with generalized instructions, and tge other with rattler recipes:

    http://m.wikihow.com/Cook-a-Snake

    http://www.backwoodsbound.com/zsnake.html

    An Asian friend of mine told me that in Vietnam one can easily find restaurants with live snakes on display, which you can pick out and dictate to the cook how you want prepared. I have even heard that they will process it right in front of you, drain out the blood into a cup and drop the heart in with it to be consumed as a beverage! I wonder if a deeper inquiry into this will yield some recipes from them... We'll see!


    I get the impression that quite a lot of marinade could be involved, which might make it too expensive to follow the high-falutin' advice never to cook (thus also never to marinate) with wine that's not good enough to serve in glasses to your house-guests.  I wonder whether a much-more frugal but nearly as useful marinade could be obtained from diluting a bottle of concentrated lemon juice.  Or even a gallon jug of "lemon drink", despite being adulterated with a hefty proportion of high-fructose-corn syrup?
    I think marinade would be a good idea. I have real lemons on hand to use, and sometimes limes. Also, since snake meat has a similar taste to chicken, oranges might also work.

    As for using wine... I've got a little home brew that could possibly be used, the bottles would just have to be tested since each is different... of course, the rest of my family probably wouldn't appreciate having it used that way. But, if the meat is cut into pieces and set in the right sized/shaped container it probably wouldn't take much.


    I also think Nadir's idea is a good one, as tough meats are usually very good once put in a crock pot. Slow cooking is the answer to a lot of meats, like briskets and deer meat. And yes, lots of onions and garlic are always the way to go!


    Well, now there are more ideas than serpents to work with!
    Many people say "For the Honor and Glory of God!" but, what they should say is "For the Love, Glory and Honor of God". - Fr. Paul of Moll

    Offline Student of Qi

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #10 on: July 02, 2017, 11:46:48 AM »
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  • The snake in your photo appears to be a python, sometimes referred to as a carpet snake. If you only throw it out of the coop into the woods it is not surprising that it comes back. That snake would not just be a chicken snake, but a cat snake or a pig snake or whatever it can swallow.
    You are right in that they are like pythons in various ways, but they do not seem to be related. Here is the taxonomic name of what we're working with:

    Texas rat snake
    Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri or Pantherophis obsoleta lindheimeri
    Many people say "For the Honor and Glory of God!" but, what they should say is "For the Love, Glory and Honor of God". - Fr. Paul of Moll


    Offline Kimchi Ninja

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #11 on: July 02, 2017, 12:37:34 PM »
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  •  :ready-to-eat:🐍 Grill it, roast it, turn it into stew!
    How about snake tacos?🌮
    "Let us pray for each other that our Lord may give us the grace we need to become saints"_ Saint Bernadette

    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #12 on: July 02, 2017, 03:00:06 PM »
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  • Aha!  A "dairy cow"[Δ]!

    After cleaning your problem snakes, you can marinade them in unpasteurized (but food-safe) dairy by-products that contain substantial amounts of lactic acid (which serves as the tenderizer), notably the Southern-classic buttermilk, or yoghurt (and presumably cheeses still in mostly-liquid form)[†][‡]  Maybe there's already an obvious candidate in your household, i.e.: a dairy by-product that's so unpopular at the table (e.g., cottage cheese?) that it usually spoils before much of it gets eaten?  If so, it might be ideal as your experimental marinade: The 1975 Joy of Cooking, whose marinade recipes typically contain several ingredients, lists only 2 ingredients for its yoghurt marinade: The namesake dairy product, plus crushed cloves of garlic.

    Cutting a snake into short segments significantly reduces the time needed to achieve whatever benefits its marinade will provide (presumably by multiplying the surface-area through which the marinade can soak in).

    I learned from today's on-line reading that I don't need to push my luck on the healthfulness of merely refrigerated dairy products when they're beginning to, um, ripen: Potential health risk can be avoided by freezing your chosen or experimental dairy-marinade base when it's fresh[‡], before your next serpent presents itself for capture.

    -------
    Note Δ: <https://www.cathinfo.com/the-sacred-catholic-liturgy-chant-prayers/please-pray-for-my-dairy-cow/>.  Readers can hope that the prayers requested were answered by restoring her to health & productivity.

    Note †: A touchy-feely source (albeit of unknown expertise) Katherine Martinko (now "senior writer"): "Got sour milk? Don't throw it out!".  <https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/got-sour-milk-dont-throw-it-out.html>,  or

    Note ‡: The well-established and more technical "editors of Cook's Illustrated: "5 Buttermilk Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask".  <https://www.cooksillustrated.com/features/8502-5-buttermilk-questions-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask>.  The links from this publicly accessible Web page are anchored at pages obscured by pay-walls (unsurprising for a site hosted by a no-adverts magazine supported by newsstand sales and subscriptions).

    Offline AlligatorDicax

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #13 on: July 02, 2017, 05:04:31 PM »
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  • I have to ask, unless your pantry is really low, is it worth the trouble?

    Well, no, it is not absolutely necessary but, it adds a different adventurous experience [...]. I would think more people would have a stronger sense of adventure and love of the exotic, especially in this modern society that seems so empty of anything, even though it claims to offer "everything".

    I prefer not to dwell on the "empt[iness]" of secular society, even tho' I'm far from being a model traditional Catholic.  So back to the declared topic:

    Over the years, I've acquired numerous cookbooks specializing in seafood [†], even edible seaweeds, and am especially fond of various invertebrates.

    But somehow, I never got even 1 cookbook that might've borne a title like Florida Cracker-by-the-Grace-of-God Cookery,  which I assume would include recipes for our huge & meaty eastern-diamondback rattlesnake, alligator (a Nole sacrilege!), alligator-snapper[‡] soup, "crawfish"[¢], and "heart of palm" (the latter favored by our controversial interplanetary visitors from Vega)[×].

    -------
    Note †: Eels are not close relatives of terrestrial snakes, being instead just atypically-shaped fish, so recipes for the former not only might not be a useful guide for snakes, but might even be misleading (e.g., plausible differences in skeletal structures and flesh densities, for moving a mass buoyed by water vs. a mass weighted by gravity).

    Note ‡: Found mostly in rivers in the U.S. Southeast that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, these formidable critters (Macrochelys sp.) also appear in apparently unconnected lakes, and can grow to well over 100 lbs.!
     
    Note ¢: Many-decades-old local name for the Florida spiny lobster (Panulirus sp.).

    Note ×: The visitors from Vega seem remarkably unconcerned that harvesting "heart of palm" kills the palm tree.  But I've realized for more than 3 decades that animal protectionists are prone to a set of beliefs containing internal contraditions that are akin to doublethink.

    Offline jvk

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    Re: Snake cooking
    « Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 04:23:54 AM »
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  • My husband's an "adventurous eater"...I've fixed a few interesting things since we've been married...cow heads, chicken feet, raccoon, frog legs, a neighbor brought us a turtle we'll be eating soon...so I feel as though I've got some experience to offer you some good input!! :D

    Here's what I would do:

    After killing, skinning, gutting (the man's job!), soak it in salt water overnight, in the fridge, of course.  This helps break up any toughness.  Rinse well.  Then crockpot it in enough water to barely cover, on high, say 4-5 hours, or until tender.  Then, get out your cast iron skillet, and on med-low, melt some butter, lard, whatever you use.  When sizzling hot, add the cooked snake.  Season w/salt (or not, depending on how much salt you soaked it in, taste first), pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Turn frequently, until browned and crispy.  ENJOY! 

    Soaking, long slow cooking, followed by a quick sautéing in a pan are usually good rules of thumb for fixing any kind of elderly wild game. 

    Hope that helped.  I'm curious how you did fix it, by the way.  :confused:

     

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