Every outdoor enthusiast knows how hard it is to find a regular food source in the wild. So, what should you consume as an alternative? Well, you will find many options in nature out there. One such good alternative would be a gopher.
So can you eat gopher? Of course, you can. Indigenous people of the Amazon have been living on it for years. Gopher’s meat is lean, low in fat, and high in protein. It is a nutritious alternative to traditional meat sources such as beef and pork.
The nutrients you get from the meat keep you going for hours. It also gives those people who are bored with their regular meals a change of taste. So, here I will give you a clear picture of the Gopher Meat and nutrition, how you can prepare them, and some quick recipes.
Gopher Meat and Nutritional Value
As good as chicken, beef, and pork are, you will eventually get bored of them. And when you are traveling outside the locality, it becomes difficult to find regular food in jungles or, long mountains. Gophers can work as good alternative meat sources then.
However, you need to have a clear idea of the processing and cooking of gopher. We will be covering all that info in a bit.
Gophers are small in size and look a lot like squirrels. There are as near as 49 Gopher species living near the mountain region and prairie. Some even make burrows near gardens.
Thus, hunting Gophers is quite easy.
Table: Nutrients From Gopher
Here are the nutrients you will get from a 3-ounce serving of gopher meat:
|Name of the Nutrients
|Approximately 23 grams
|Repairs tissues andsupports the immune system
|Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorus
|2.8, 3.3, 150 milligrams
|Produces blood cells andsupports immune system
|Supports nervous system
So, it is clear that Gopher meat has a high value for its size. The animal protein in gopher even closely competes with chicken or turkey. But in terms of other components, it falls short. Chicken, beef, and pork have more vitamins and iron in them.
Drawbacks of Consuming Gopher Meat
- Gopher is not a very sought-after meal. You won’t find them in any market or grocery store. You will have to get your trapping gear and catch these rodents if you want to eat them.
- Another rare possibility is the transmutation of disease. But that’s highly unlikely. Once you clean and cook it, the combination of fire and water should cleanse the meat.
Preparing Gopher Meat for Consumption
Before we tell you the methods of cooking Gopher meat, let’s dive down the road about catching. There are various methods of trapping this rodent. Some are quite eco-friendly, and some are deadly.
The eco-friendly traps like pincher traps enable you to safely deliver the creature back to nature. Or you can catch, eat, and cook them; all you have to do is put a bait on the trap, and the animal will come to you.
However, there are some deadlier traps out there too. They will kill these wild animals almost instantly. And since we are capturing them to eat, you can use the deadly trap without much hassle.
Deadly traps kill the rodents immediately. Like putting deadly gas in the tunnel or using scissor traps where the trap kills the animal when they trigger it in a scissor-like motion. Or you can use the conibear trap, aka the rat trap here.
But before you go and trap these little fellas, you should read through the local hunting regulations.
Preparing Gophers for Consumption: Step-By-Step Guide
Now that hunting and trapping are out of the way, let’s get more into Preparing gophers for consumption. I am giving you every step you need to follow here:
Step 1: Removing the Skin
At first, you have to use a sharp knife to carefully skin the gopher. Be very careful here. Otherwise, you may damage the meat.
Now, remove the entrails and clean the inside of the gopher. Pull out the extra limps and toss them out
Step 2: Removing the head and feet
Cut off the head and feet of the gopher and get rid of them. You may prefer to eat them. But I would advise against that.
Step 3: Soaking the gopher in saltwater
Here different people have different preparation methods. However, my preference is saltwater. Soaking the gopher in saltwater for a few hours can help to remove any remaining blood and impurities. You can also use vinegar.
Step 4: Rinsing the Meat
Rinse the gopher with clean water. You should rinse it a couple of times for better cleanup.
Step 5: Seasoning
After a thorough cleanup, the gopher meat is ready to be seasoned and cooked. You can put different herbs here.
Most importantly, if you are outdoors or in a forest area, you should go foraging to put more authentic flavors in your dish.
Different Cooking Methods
We use different methods to cook our regular meat. Similarly, you can cook gopher’s meat differently.
You can grill, roast, smoke, or even stew the meat. To grill or stew, you can use your outdoor cooking stove i.e., the grill machine. Or you can make a fire using wood and rock.
You can even use your stove or oven to prepare it. Just put sauces and herbs in it and mix it up. And cook it.
Gopher Meat Recipes
Here I will disclose some cool recipes where I have used gopher time and time again. You can use different cooking methods if you are comfortable with that.
Gopher stew is one of my favorite recipes. After a day of hectic outdoor activities, this easy recipe saved people many times.
- Cup of vegetable oil
- Herbs: garlic cloves, beef broth bay leaves, dried thyme, black pepper
- Red wine
- Tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas
- Teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, and put the onions and garlic in it
- Now add the vegetables and the herbs
- Put the gopher in it
- Bring the mixture to a boil
- Now, cook it for 45 minutes and serve it hot
2. Gopher’s succotash
Succotash is a sophisticated dish that has many nutritional value.
- 1 gopher, cleaned and cut into small pieces
- Corn, lima beans, onions, bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Heat the olive oil
- Add the chopped onion and red bell pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender
- Add the gopher pieces to the skillet and season with cumin, salt, and pepper
- Cook until the gopher is browned on all sides and cooked through
- Add the drained corn and lima beans to the skillet and stir everything together
3. Gopher fry
Overall, it is an easy-to-do meal. If it is your first time using Gophers as an alternative meat source, I suggest you go with this easy recipe first.
- 1 gopher
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- 1 egg
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Mix everything in a bowl and dip the gopher in it
- Now, fry it in the vegetable oil
Below we’ll discuss some of the most common queries people have about consuming Gophers.
Q: Are there any safety concerns when consuming gopher’s meat?
There aren’t any particular concerns while consuming gopher’s meat. However, if you still want a safe route, dip the meat in vinegar, lemon, rosemary water, or salt water for a few hours. This technique marinades the meat and makes it clean and soft.
Q: Can gophers carry diseases that could be transmitted to humans through consumption?
You have nothing to worry about as long as you eat a well-cooked meal. After preparing the dish, check different parts of the meat to see if it is undercooked or not.
Q: Are there any regulations governing the hunting and consumption of gophers?
There are certain regulations governing the hunting and consumption of gophers in the country. The rules vary from state to state. You should call your local wildlife management association to know more about it.
Gophers have been an alternative meat source for many outdoor enthusiasts for many years. But is it true? Can you eat gopher? Well, as long as you process and cook it properly, you can eat it. It got protein, minerals, and other nutrients.
Most importantly, it doesn’t taste bad at all. It tastes like a mixture of chicken and beef. Quite a unique taste if you ask me. Every once in a while, a new taste makes you more appreciative, and the good nutrient value is only a plus here.
So, if you want to try a new thing, this is the time. Everyone has unique tastes, so don’t stop experimenting with your food. Go in with an open mind.