Fried squirrel makes a tasty meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Anywhere you’d enjoy fried chicken is a great place to serve chicken of the trees.
Let’s face it, most things taste amazing fried, and fried squirrel is no exception. Squirrel meat is a lot like dark meat chicken, except that it’s very lean. The added richness of a breading helps balance out a meat that might otherwise be dry.
The first step is obviously to field dress the animal, and then cut the whole squirrel into manageable pieces. You can use every cut if you’d like, but I prefer to just use the legs and save the other parts for stewing. Marinading the squirrel pieces in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes, but preferably several hours. The active cultures and mild acidity in the buttermilk helps to tenderize the meat. Cultured buttermilk also sticks really well to meat, so you don’t have to do an egg dredge to get the breading to stick. Simply remove the meat from the marinade and place it on a plate covered in seasoned flour.
Heavily seasoned flour really helps to turn fried squirrel into a serious treat. I add a bit more salt than I otherwise might for a larger piece of chicken, and also a plenty of garlic and onion powder. The seasonings are up to you, and paprika, thyme and black pepper are also wonderful choices to complement fried squirrel.
Once the pieces of meat are coated in flour, give them a few minutes to set. This helps the flour absorb more buttermilk, which will help keep it attached during frying. That results in a more evenly coated piece of fried squirrel. The meat cooks very quickly, and it should only take about 1-2 minutes per side to completely cook the squirrel meat.
Fried squirrel can be served on its own with a bit of bbq sauce, or with biscuits and gravy for a real treat. A simple milk gravy made from leftover seasoned flour really ties the dish together. Put it all on top of your favorite buttermilk biscuits and you’re ready to go.
Fried Squirrel Buttermilk Marinade
- 8-12 squirrel legs, front and rear
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp salt
Fried Squirrel Breading
- 1 cup flour, approximate
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- oil for frying
- 2 tbsp butter , or bacon drippings
- 2 tbsp seasoned flour, leftover from above
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups milk, approximate
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place squirrel legs in buttermilk. Add salt and stir to cover. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 8-12 hours.
- Mix the flour and seasoning for the fried squirrel breading. Remove squirrel pieces one at a time and place them in the breading. Turn to coat all sides. Repeat until all pieces are coated.
- Heat oil and fry each piece for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove to a paper lined plate to drain.
- To make gravy, melt butter in a pan. Add seasoned flour leftover from breading squirrel. Whisk as the flour browns and bubbles, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. When the gravy thickens, add a bit more milk and continue until you have the desired quantity.
- Serve fried squirrel and gravy over your favorite homemade biscuits.
More Squirrel Recipes
- Traditional Brunswick Stew (Appalachian Squirrel Stew)
- Squirrel Bahn Mi (with squirrel confit)
- 40+ Squirrel Recipes for Any Occasion