This is one of my favorite meats so let me answer this question for you: What does a possum meat taste like? Recently, more and more people have been delving into alternative sources of protein (myself included), such as wild game. One of these wild animals that some people in the southern part of the US enjoy is a possum, which is enjoyed particularlyon special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas. A common question that’s being asked is – can you eat possums? Is its meat safe?
In my opinion, possum meat has traditionally been overlooked, as people have preferred deer, rabbit, or venison, which are certainly more fun to hunt. Another reason for possums not being commonly hunted for their meat is the way they look – wrinkly and squinty-eyed and they have long, pointy, ratlike noses, making them seem unappetizing. That said, in recent years, people are testing their taste boundaries (welcome to my word) and curiosity has increased for how these beady-eyed rodents taste.
So without further ado, let’s dive into what a possum tastes like
The taste of possum meat
Possum meat has been described as having a gamey taste. A possum has strong dark meat, similar in taste to lamb, duck, and, surprisingly, llama meat. Another similarity is the decent amount of fat present in opossum meat, similar to lamb or duck.
As possum meat is very similar to lamb, if you are ever left with extra possum meat and are wondering how to reheat, store and reuse your dish, you can use the same techniques as in the related article, reheating lamb.
Can eating possum meat make you sick?
Possums, just like any other wild game, have grown up in an environment without human oversight or regulation. This makes it possible for possums to have consumed contaminated or dead animals, or been infected with parasites, bacteria, or viruses.
In the past, this fact even led to people keeping a captured possum alive for a few days and feeding it fresh food before slaughter. The idea was to get rid of the impurities contained within the animal. The effectiveness of this method, however, is questionable.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to fix the fact that possum meat has the potential to be infected. Very simply, you only need to cook the meat properly, and the bacteria and viruses will be killed.
Assuming you manage to clean and cook the animal properly, possums also offer a series of health benefits thanks to the higher amounts of omega fatty acids contained within their meat.
How to process possum properly
In case you are hunting or capturing your own possum, it will be essential to extract the meat properly so that there is as little risk of contamination as possible. However, if you are receiving the possum already processed then this step would not be relevant.
After capturing the possum, it is considerate to kill the animal in a humane and respectful way. Once this has been done, the first step is to remove the skin, including the fur, which is simply done by skinning it. After removing the skin you can go ahead and gut the animal. This is a crucial step as stomach acids and other unpleasant materials are contained within the gut. Moreover, you want to try and remove the guts of the possum without accidentally piercing them and spilling the contents.
Once the possum has been skinned and gutted, you can cut the meat into pieces or keep it whole if you prefer. Lastly, before cooking and eating your catch, it is crucial to wash the meat thoroughly under cold running water. This will help wash off any pieces of fur and debris that may have contaminated the meat while it was being processed. As the animal may have been infected, it is essential to ensure its blood doesn’t mix with yours; in other words, use waterproof (plastic) gloves if you have any cuts on your hands.
How to Correctly Cook Possum
A series of recipes for cooking possum meat have been developed over the years. In fact, many of these were pioneered by European settlers in the New World.
Before you attempt any specific recipe involving possums or other wild animals, it is essential to understand meat safety. Generally, most proteins need to be cooked to a particular temperature in order to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. Possums are no different.
In fact, such wild and exotic foods require even more attention paid while cooking to avoid getting sick. Due to this fact, the USDA recommends that game meat such as possum be cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (75ºC).
This temperature must be achieved in the thickest part of the meat and not on the surface as all the meat needs to reach 165ºF. Thus, to ensure that your hunt has been cooked properly, we recommend a food-grade instant thermometer that easily provides you with readings.
To eat possum there are a series of different recipes that you can use. One particularly famous is preparing possums with sweet potatoes that have been roasted alongside the animal. Not only is this dish flavourful, but the addition of other ingredients, such as pepper and spices, can help mask the gamey taste of possum meat.
Cooking possum can also be done in the form of a possum stew. Simply add the possum pieces into a pot and add garnishes to your taste. Leave this to simmer until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Feel free to mix in other proteins along with the possum such as deer, birds or pork.
Finally, since possums eat a varied diet in the wild, they are a relatively fatty protein. This makes possum an excellent option for grilling and other forms of barbeque, as the meat will remain juicy and taste good, rather than drying out like many other game meats.
Most people have never tasted possums before, however, this creature offers a unique taste that has been enjoyed for generations. As long as you prepare and cook your possum correctly, following all the mentioned guidelines, this meat will be completely safe to consume.
Moreover, the wide array of recipes suitable for possum meat means it can be eaten on special occasions and also as everyday food. Furthermore, the taste similarities between possums and other dark meats such as lamb and duck make it an acceptable choice, even to those without experience eating wild meats.
We hope that this article answers your question about what possum meat tastes like as well aas any others regarding the consumption of possums and that you go ahead and try out this unique protein.