***Handling snakes can be very dangerous and I do not recommend anyone handle them without proper knowledge and training. This post is for informational purposes only***
That’s right… rattlesnake! The other other other white meat…?? Lol
Shortly after I got home from work yesterday, I received a text from our neighbor, who had just killed a rattlesnake on their property. She asked if we wanted it and of course we said yes! There are 3 reasons we wanted the rattlesnake. First, it was already killed, no point in wasting a life. Secondly, Nic wanted the snake skin, and lastly, its good eating! We’ve had rattlesnake chili before, which was delicious! And ever since we’ve wanted to try it again. The snake was a pretty good size and the kill was fresh, so this was our chance!
We walked over to the neighbor’s property to retrieve the snake. Upon arrival we were promptly greeted by Bear, our neighbor’s livestock guardian dog puppy in training (Cassidy’s littermate). The neighbors explained how they had the turkey poults out supervised-free-ranging in the grass, when all of a sudden they saw the rattlesnake, only about 3 feet away from where the poults were, and about 5 feet from where Bear and our neighbor were sitting! Crazy! We brought home the rattlesnake, which appears to be a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.
***CAUTION: Follow all safety measures when dealing with rattlesnakes. The head can continue to bite and release venom for hours after being severed, be very careful when handling the snake, and make sure to dispose of the head and any potentially venomous parts properly and securely. Also, the body of the snake will continue to move and react to stimulants for a while; that’s normal, it’s just the nerves, the snake it definitely dead once you have removed the head. This snake did not stop moving until we put it into the fridge prior to cooking***
Here are the steps we took to skin and dress the rattlesnake:
- Make sure you safely and carefully remove the head from the snake. You need to cut from behind the venom glands, so cut back pretty far. Our neighbors did this with a shovel. Once we got the snake home, we cut even further down with a clean knife, since we could not ensure that the shovel was clean, and didn’t want to introduce bacteria to the meat.
2. Then hold the snake from the rear end, hanging down, and let the blood drip out from the severed head area into a bowl. Then proceed to help the blood drain by gripping and pulling down the snake with your other hand.
3. Once the blood is removed, lay the snake upside down and use sharp clean scissors to cut the skin down the middle. Start from the head and end at the tail.
4. Start peeling the skin off, much like pulling off a sock, starting at the head and ending at the tail.
5. Remove the rattler, and keep as a souvenir if you’d like.
6. Next you want to remove the organs/guts. Start from the head and pull them up and down towards the tail end, being careful not to puncture the guts and contaminate the meat. This part is actually pretty easy compared to dressing out other animals.
7. Then clean the meat off with water and refrigerate until use *we refrigerated the meat while we prepared the snake skin for drying (I will write another post on this process) and while we finished up other farm chores.
8. Finally, prepare the snake according to preferred recipe. (See below on how we made Southern Fried Rattlesnake)
***Make sure you cook the meat thoroughly and follow all FDA food safety handling instructions***
Because of a rattlesnake’s small size and the amount of bones, it’s best to use a rattlesnake of at least 3 feet long to make it worth it. Rattlesnake can be a little tricky and time-consuming to eat, but its worth it! It kind of of reminds me of eating rabbit back-strap and/or fish. You will have to eat around the bones. We found that the easiest way is to just go caveman-style on it and use your mouth and fingers to pull and tear the meat away from the bone. I hope you enjoy your rattlesnake as much as we did!