How to Skin and Prepare a Rattlesnake for the Table

Rattlesnake meat is white, tender, and tastes like a cross between frog legs and turtle. While there are a lot of rib bones, a big rattlesnake will have a backstrap like muscle that runs the entire length of the backbone. Once cooked, that muscle will peel out easily, giving the diner a boneless bite of goodness.

By Michael Pendley

It’s best to leave them alone, but if you do get a fresh rattlesnake, you might as well eat it.

Let me start this blog post with a caveat. I hate to kill a snake. Any snake. I like snakes. Even the venomous speciels. I can’t count the times I’ve shared a western Kentucky fishing hole with a cottonmouth. Or squirrel hunted in a copperhead’s backyard. As long as I see them first, it’s all good.

That said, I’m a realist. I know that venomous snakes and small kids, or pets, or livestock just don’t mix. I know there are people who consider a dead snake to be the only good snake on the planet. From time to time, a buddy will call and report a recently deceased rattlesnake in case I want it. I usually do. While I might not kill a rattlesnake unless I have no other option, I’ll dang sure eat one if I get the opportunity.

Rattlesnake meat is white, tender, and tastes like a cross between frog legs and turtle. While there are a lot of rib bones, a big rattlesnake will have a backstrap like muscle that runs the entire length of the backbone. Once cooked, that muscle will peel out easily, giving the diner a boneless bite of goodness.

Think you might want to try one in the future? Here’s how wildlife biologist Joe Lacefield and I skin and process a rattlesnake for the table, T2T style. Save the skin for a hat band, a nifty wall display, or do like Joe and use it as a decorative backing for a self-bow.

1 | Always remove the head before handling a rattlesnake

Step 1. Remove the head. Dead rattlesnakes can still bite. It’s a nervous system deal, similar to a turkey gobbler that flops around for a few minutes after a fatal shot. I can’t stress this enough, don’t mess with the head. Don’t take any chances. If the head wasn’t removed by a shotgun blast, use a long-handled hoe or a machete to remove it from a distance. Use a long-handled shovel to pick it up and dispose of it safely, away from curious pets or kids. If you can’t remove the head from a safe distance, just don’t mess with it at all. While rattlesnake meat is great to eat, it isn’t worth receiving a bite.

Just like wild mushrooms, you might only get one chance to mess this up. If you aren’t confident in your ability to do it safely, find someone that is. Timber2Table is not responsible for any injuries incurred in this step.

Besides safety concerns, it’s important to always check your state and local regulations when it comes to killing or possessing a rattlesnake. They are a protected species in many areas. If you plan on gifting a rattlesnake to a friend in another state or area, check the regs in both places. Transporting a rattlesnake across state lines where they might be protected can result in federal wildlife violations.

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Pickled pequin peppers (Chile pequin en escabeche)

Bread and Tortillas

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UPDATE:  It’s been brought to my attention that the name of the peppers  featured here is not “pequin”.  Common names given to these are “tepin” or “chiltepin”.  Various websites show pequins as similar in size to those in the photo but slightly elongated.  I identify these as “pequins” because that is the name I’ve known them as since very young.  My dad, who grew up on the Texas Mexico border called these peppers “chile pequins”.  I’m no expert on nomenclature and history of these types of peppers so I’m disclaiming any kind of authority.  My guess is that “pequin” was an acceptable common name in some parts of the country.

Throughout the years, there has always seemed to be a pequin pepper bush around my house.  It’s never from my doing though,  I’m pretty sure they’ve always sprouted up from bird droppings.  They always pop up by a fence, under a tree,  or under…

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What is rice bran oil? Amazing health benefits of rice bran oil

rice bran oil 1

Jul 24, 2018, 06.16

You must have seen the advertisements and promotions, highlighting the pros of cooking with rice bran oil. Though, we often blindly follow the advertisements and try the new launches. What we often overlook is how beneficial or harmful that product can be! Well, it is always a good idea to find out more about that product before you just buy it. As making a healthy choice is entirely your call. So, here’s all you must know before you switch to rice bran oil and add it to your daily diet.

What is rice bran oil?
Extracted from the outer coating of rice, this oil is packed with the goodness of natural nutrients, which is essential for the functioning of the human body. Made with the chaff (rice husk), the rice bran oil has a high ignition temperature, which is used for stir frying and deep frying. Enriched with the goodness of MUFA and PUFA, this oil is a balance of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. What’s more, rice bran oil is a rich source of Vitamin E and antioxidants, which makes it a much healthy alternative as compared to other cooking oils. The fad around rice bran oil is simply because of its incredible health benefits. Moreover, it is commonly used in many Asian countries like Japan and China. In fact, it is mostly used to prepare pan-asian culinary delights.

Health benefits of rice bran oil.
Rice husk is loaded with nutrients, which can effectively cure and prevent several diseases. At the same time it has great immunity boosting properties. In fact, the regular use of rice bran oil can reduce cholesterol, help in weight management and reduce allergic reactions. Here’s a low down on the incredible health benefits of rice bran oil.

Rice bran oil can reduce cholesterol.
Rice bran oil has a balance of fatty acids, which makes it a much healthy alternative to go for. As per research, this oil has an equal ratio of saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. This rice oil blend is free from trans-fats.

Improves heart health.
Rice bran oil promotes a healthy balance of fatty acids, which further maintains a healthy balance of cholesterol and reduce the growth of LDL in the body. This leads to a healthy heart condition and prevent several coronary diseases. Apart from that the presence of oryzanol, makes this antioxidant rich oil a healthy option to go for. Also, it helps in improving heart health by striking a perfect balance of essential fatty acids. To naturally improve heart health, you can also add flaxseeds, red rice and noni juice to your diet.

Rice bran oil absorbs less.
The high ignition temperature of this oil makes it perfect for stir frying and deep frying. The best thing about this oil is that it maintains the nutritive balance despite the heat and absorbs very less oil, which is again a blessing in disguise.

Prevents from cancer.
Loaded with the goodness of vitamin E, this antioxidant rich oil can boost immunity. The antimutagenic properties of this oil can prevent cancer. You can also add black grapes and noni juice to keep life threatening diseases like cancer at bay.

Healthy for hair and skin.
Rice bran oil can effectively delay the signs of aging and this is due to the presence of a component tocopherol in vitamin E, which can help in keeping the skin youthful and provides ample nourishment to the hair. Pollution and free radicals often lead to early signs of aging, the vitamin E helps in cell regeneration and reduce the effects of aging. Although, vitamin E is good for hair and skin, you can also add omega 3 fatty acid rich food, which can bring back the youthfulness of skin.

Helps in curing inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory properties in rice bran oil can relive hot flashes and other inflammation in the body. All its needs is just a healthy switch over from regular vegetable oil to healthy rice bran oil.

Souece

Does High Heat Hurt Olive Oil?

High heat

Is it safe to heat olive oil to high temperatures? If not, what cooking oil do you consider preferable for high-heat cooking?

August 9, 2018

I am frequently asked if it is ok to fry in olive oil. The question of how safe a specific type of oil is for high-temperature cooking has long been somewhat murky, but a study from Australia published in May 2018 provides new and useful information.

When cooking oils are exposed to heat in the presence of air, they break down into toxic by-products called polar compounds that have been linked to the development of serious health problems including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Some oils are more heat-stable than others, due to their chemical structures. In general, a limit of 24 to 27 percent of polar compounds in a frying oil is considered safe for human consumption, the Australian researchers noted. But they added that fried foods stored for a period of time before being consumed should have even lower levels.

The investigators tested the heat stability of 10 of the most commonly used cooking oils in Australia: extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, canola, grapeseed, coconut, avocado, peanut, rice bran and sunflower oils. Results showed that extra-virgin olive oil was the safest and most stable when heated to temperatures even higher than those commonly used for sautéing, deep-frying and baking. It produced the lowest quantity of polar compounds compared to the other oils tested. The runner up was coconut oil.

The study also disproved the commonly held view that oil with a high smoke point is best suited for high-temperature cooking. In fact, an oil’s smoke point doesn’t indicate how it will perform when heated.

The researchers also found that canola oil isn’t as healthy as commonly thought, even though, like olive oil, it has A high content of monounsaturated fat. They reported that canola oil was the most unstable of all the oils tested, producing more than 2.5 times the amount of polar compounds of extra-virgin olive oil and about twice that in heated refined olive oil.

We know that olive oil has a very high percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Quality olive oil also contains abundant antioxidants, substances that have been shown to have protective cardiovascular and anti-cancer effects. And it provides oleocanthal, a unique anti-inflammatory compound. And, of course, quality olive oil tastes great. We now know it is also the safest oil for sautéing and other high-temperature cooking.

I should note that in general it is best to cook foods, especially animal foods, at lower temperatures to avoid formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products), other toxic compounds that undermine health, and to avoid deep-frying and other cooking methods that add excessive fat to the diet.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

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