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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South Texas: Brooks County Battling Border Crime

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Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Rant

Brooks County, Texas is a less than five-hour drive from Houston, but the rural community of just over 7,200 people is facing an overwhelming amount of crime.

High-speed chases, smugglers and a rising body count has become a fact of life in a county made up largely of ranchers and farmers.

“We have a lot to contend with,” said Brooks County Chief Deputy Urbino Martinez. “It takes a toll.”

Houston’s connection to this rise in crime can be clearly seen in the 250 cars kept in the sheriff’s office’s impound lot.

“There’s criminal acts involving every vehicle that’s here,” said Martinez.

Martinez said 95 percent of the cars the county has seized this year as part of human, drug and weapons smuggling were originally stolen out of the Houston area.

“The connection between us and Houston, it’s almost like you would have to say ‘neighboring,’” said Martinez.

In addition to…

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National Oilwell Varco Gives $905,000 to UH’s Subsea Engineering Program

Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Rant

Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu

November 6, 2012-Houston

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) is giving $905,000 to the University of Houston’s subsea engineering program to further research initiatives and develop a computational laboratory.

NOV’s gift will be used to establish the National Oilwell Varco Computational Engineering Laboratory and to conduct contractual research for UH’s subsea engineering program and NOV.

The computational lab will be used to perform detailed computational calculations on complex subsea equipment that must operate under high-temperature and high-pressure oil and gas conditions that occur in ultra-deep subsea reserves.

The lab also will support the subsea engineering curriculum and students, enabling them to complete capstone design projects using the latest in computational subsea engineering tools.

Recently, UH received the state’s approval to offer the nation’s first subsea engineering graduate program, which will teach the scientific and technical skills necessary to create the first generation of formally trained subsea…

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Insiders: Southern Section of Keystone Pipeline Doesn’t Need Obama

Mb50's "Liquid Mud" Rant

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By Olga Belogolova
Updated: March 28, 2012 | 6:24 a.m.
March 27, 2012 | 9:30 p.m.

Standing at a podium in front of piles of pipes in Cushing, Okla., last week, President Obama unveiled an executive order meant to speed federal permitting of pipeline infrastructure, including the southern portion of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. Critics immediately jumped on the move, accusing Obama of being “the rooster taking credit for the dawn” and arguing that no federal action is actually needed for that portion of the Keystone pipeline to move forward. National Journal’s Energy & Environment Insiders agree.

More than 70 percent of Insiders said that Obama’s executive order was unnecessary, with some even saying the move smacks of federal overreach.

Insiders overwhelmingly agreed that the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will run from Cushing to refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, only needs…

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