Recently, more and more people have been delving into alternative sources of protein such as wild game. Often these animals are used to supplement a person’s traditional diet or are cooked on special occasions. Possums are one of these wild animals that people eat and this article will cover what does possum taste like.
The taste of possum meat
Possum meat has been described as having a gamey quality to it a strong dark meat flavor. This makes it similar to lamb as well as duck. Another similarity is the fair amount of fat present in opossum meat just like lamb or duck.
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 that the animal may have fed upon contaminated or dead animals, or been infected with parasites, bacteria, or viruses.
Due to this, it is possible that some people eating this animal’s meat may encounter potential health issues brought about by the contaminants present in the animal.
In the olden days, this fact even led to people keeping a captured possum alive for a few days and feeding it fresh food before processing it. The idea is 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 eating possum has the potential to be dangerous. Very simply, all you need to do is to process and cook the meat properly.
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 crucial to be able 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 may not be relevant.
After capturing the possum it is important to off the animal in a humane and respectful way. Once this has been done, the first step is to remove the skin, including the fur coat naturally present on possums. 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 process the meat into pieces or keep it whole if that is what you prefer. Lastly, before proceeding to cook and eat your catch, it is crucial to wash the meat thoroughly once underneath 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.
How to cook possum in the right manner
There are a series of recipes that have been developed over the years regarding how to cook and eat possum in the right way. In fact, many of these were pioneered by European settlers on the new continent.
Before you can attempt any specific recipe involving possums, however, it is important to understand meat-related safety in this regard. Generally, most proteins need to be cooked to a certain 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 so that there is no risk of catching a wild disease. Due to this fact, the USDA recommends that game meat such as possums be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
This temperature must be achieved in the thickest part of the meat inside the cut and not on the surface. This is because the surface heats up faster than the rest of the possum. Thus to ensure that your hunt has been cooked properly, we recommend having a food-grade instant thermometer on hand which easily provides you with readings.
To eat possum there are a series of different recipes that you can use. One particularly famous recipe is to eat 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 somewhat unpleasant smell of possum.
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, thanks to the fact that possums eat a varied and diverse 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 nice rather than drying out as some other meats do.
Most people have never tasted possums before, however, this creature offers a unique taste that has been enjoyed by people for generations. As long as you prepare and cook your possum properly, following all the mentioned guidelines, this animal will be completely safe to consume.
Moreover, the wide array of different recipes suitable for possum makes it so that this exotic creature can be eaten on special occasions as well as a staple to help supplement the food supply. Moreover, the taste similarities between possum and other dark meats such as lamb and duck make it an accessible flavor even to those who do not have experience eating wild meats.
We hope that this article answered your questions regarding the consumption of possums and that you go ahead and try out this unique protein.