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Pork Rind-Crusted Fried Squirrel With Molasses Red-Eye Gravy

Pork Rind-Crusted Fried Squirrel With Molasses Red-Eye Gravy


  • 4 young squirrels, dressed and quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • > 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups lard
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 2 cups pork rind powder (see recipe headnote)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt, cayenne powder, and Tabasco, to taste

Tasso and Molasses Red-Eye Gravy


  • 1/3 cup tasso or other thick-sliced ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1-1/4 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Generously season the squirrel pieces with salt, pepper, and cayenne; allow to sit for 2 hours.

Bring water, cider vinegar, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to a boil, then boil for 15 minutes. Add the squirrel pieces and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the meat. Drain the vegetables in a colander and discard them.

Make the red-eye gravy: In a large cast-iron skillet or pan, saut¿¿ the bacon and tasso over medium heat until all the fat is rendered. Whisk in the flour until it's well combined, continuing to whisk over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the beef stock, coffee, Coca-Cola, molasses, and red pepper flakes, bring to a simmer, and whisk constantly until gravy thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil and lard to 325¿¿, or until a pinch of flour bubbles in the oil. 5. Whisk together the milk and eggs with a dash of Tabasco. Dust the squirrel in the seasoned flour and set aside. Add the pork rind powder to the remaining seasoned flour and combine well. Dunk the squirrel in the egg wash, then dredge them in the pork rind and flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Fry the pieces until golden brown, working in batches. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with gravy on the side, and cornbread if desired.
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