This is the longest 5 hours East-West, and 6 hours North-South you will ever travel.
Then, there are those states that I detest for one reason or another: the industrial midden of the Rust Belt (Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan...bow your head in shame); others are agricultural cesspits of desolate nothingness upon nothingness (Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska...the realm of suck); others have trashtacular, abrasive "people" dotting the landscape (South Dakota, New Jersey), and then there are those which can amazingly combine nasty people, godawful scenery, cultural stupidity, and toxic waste...amazingly all at once. I have been to three such places in my life: Arkansas, South Dakota and Missouri. Of these, South Dakota is the hands-down worst. However, Missouri is a damned close second.
This is a drive through a typical Missouri town, as seen by an outsider. No snarky narration. No cutesy commentary. Just a 2:30 slice of every town in Missouri. Note: St. Louis and Kansas City are exactly like this...only with incredibly violent gangs and a rampant criminal population.
Despite Missouri being the sensory equivalent of sniffing a corpse/licking an armpit/listening to didgeridoos, that is not the reason it sucks so hard. Despite Missouri's collective intelligence being just south of brain-death, that too, is not the sole reason it bites. And, despite Missouri's collective blame for Branson, that also is not the sole reason for its suckdom. Take all of the following (and so many, many more), and then add to the ledger, squirrel huntin' and eatin', and then you start to get an idea...
I wish I were joking; but the joy, the pride and the hunger on this child's face tells you all you need to know about Missouri.
We are not discussing just run-of-the-mill hicks chowin' down on backdoor critters. We're talking about officially sanctioned modes of "hunting", and then state-sponsored recipes for the woodland cuties. Gentle reader, I direct you now, not to some backwater portion of the internet, no, I would direct your attention to the Missouri Department of Conservation, to the page entitled "A Squirrel Cuisine". This abortion of grammar and story-telling begins thusly....
People who frown on squirrels as food can be placed into two groups—those who can't stomach the thought of eating an animal that's furry and cute and those who have eaten squirrels but found them less than appetizing. The first group will probably never enjoy eating squirrels. The second can be won over if hunters avoid these mistakes....Once the viscera is exposed, look for the urinary bladder. If it is full, pinch the neck of the bladder between thumb and forefinger and carefully cut to remove it. This prevents spills. With the bladder removed, split the pelvis and pull out the rest of the insides. That's all there is to eviscerating a squirrel.
Count me among the first group. And, you heard the man...that's all there is to eviscerating a squirrel. Moving on to those of us who are, presumbaly, in Group Two....
More squirrels than not are placed on the dinner table with hair clinging to the meat, which is unappetizing to say the least. Skinning squirrels is difficult, regardless of how you go about it, and hair is easily transferred to the meat. My skinning method, however, handles the problem.
One of Nature's warning signs is that you are in conversation with a man who has his very own "skinning method". However, the Missouri Department of Conservation doesn't stop there; taxpayers then thoughtfully fund the communication of a "younger-is-better" message (not that that's too out-of-place in Missouri).
Any squirrel over a year old will probably be tough. A life of jumping around in trees makes them so. But there are recipes designed to make the toughest squirrel tender. While cleaning squirrels, separate the older ones from the young by how easy they skin. The skin of young squirrels pulls far easier than that of older squirrels.
This is an actual product...and is actually sold in Missouri.
So, let's assume we've got our squirrel; it's young and the skin has been pulled away; and we've properly eviscerated it, and placed it in a baggie full of salt water. That might be a good hobby and all, but what are we supposed to do with all of these tender lil' bits? Good Question. But, the Show-Me State has ya' covered with these must-try recipes ("Use different recipes for young and old squirrels. The first four recipes are for old squirrels; the last two are for young ones.") Just one will suffice for our..ummm....tastes*...
Barbecued Squirrel: Step-By-Step
Place the squirrels you wish to cook in a large pot. Cover with water and add plenty of seasoned salt. Boil covered for two hours. Lay two large pieces of heavy duty tinfoil across each other on top of a large serving tray.
- Dip Squirrel in water. Scrape off fur at base of tail and cut through tail leaving it attached to the back skin.
- Extend cut up back.
- Cut around flanks.
- You can pull the skin off beginning at either end.
- Here the skin is pulled over the forelegs first.
- Reverse the squirrel, pull the fur over the hind legs and cut off the head and feet.
Remove squirrels from pot and place them on the tinfoil and serving tray. Add 1 cup broth and cut into pads 2 tablespoons butter and distribute them evenly over the tinfoil. Fold edges of tinfoil over squirrels and place tinfoil and squirrels on grill over low charcoal fire. Cook for 45 minutes.
Remove squirrels from tinfoil and place directly on grill. Brush on barbecue sauce and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove and serve.
There you have it. From the State of Missouri. If this doesn't tell you all that you need to know about the state, then nothing will. If you can avoid this place, by all means do, because if your car breaks down, you might be the one in the fucking pot, legless and headless, with some Bulls-eye BBQ Sauce simmering on your ass.
I dare some Mizzou cretin try and eat me, bitches...
* I, thankfully, omitted the recipe which included the phrase "De-bone squirrels. In a food processor, grind meat and eggs, mix in mayo".