Chicken Fried Squirrel & Rabbit

By Steven Rinella

Fried rabbit and squirrel

Everyone loves fried chicken, so why not apply that method to small game like squirrels and rabbits? The biggest risk is the meat will be too chewy. Vigorously tenderizing with a sharp-tined fork and then soaking in buttermilk will solve that problem.

Serving size: 4-6

Ingredients

4 squirrels or 2 rabbits, skinned and cut into 4 legs and 2 loins each (about 2 pounds total)
1 quart buttermilk
2 tbsp hot sauce (I like Frank’s)
Peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

The Method

1. Using a two-tined fork, pierce the quartered squirrels or rabbits many times.

2. Lay the meat in a baking dish or a food-safe tub.

3. Pour the buttermilk over the meat and add the hot sauce, stirring to combine.

4. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

5. Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep cast-iron pan over low to medium heat until it reaches 325 to 350 degrees. Use a deep fry thermometer to measure the temperature.

6. In a pie plate or baking dish, combine the flour and the cayenne pepper.

7. Remove the meat from the marinade, let the excess liquid drip off, and set the meat on a plate.

8. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour.

9. Working in batches, fry the meat on one side until golden brown and crispy.

10. Using tongs, turn each piece over and fry on the second side until browned and crispy.

11. Lift out a piece of meat and place it on a rack set into a baking sheet or on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

12. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat; it should be at least 160 degrees.

13. When all the meat is cooked, let the pieces drain.

14. Season with additional salt as soon as they come out of the oil.