Eating A Coyote

Preparing Wild Coyote for the Table

by Stuart Spitz

OK – -let's assume you're like me, and will eat anything that doesn't eat you first. But from the get-go just know I've never eaten wild coyote. But I know people who have, and I've been to a couple of wild game feeds where coyote was on the menu. I've done a lot of research and found as usual, that there are devotees of this, let's say "unique cuisine," who say it's absolutely delicious if prepared properly. I'm going to give you some recipes which I'm told will make anyone champing at the bit to come back for seconds - - at least that's what Jeremiah Johnson probably would have said. Let me issue a quick disclaimer: When it comes to chowing down on coyote, I can neither swear by it or swear at it. I'll let you make that decision, but at least you know it's out there – Yippee ki- yay!
Special thanks to my good friend and expert coyote hunter and trapper Phil Schweik for assistance, insight and invaluable information on preparing coyote for the table. 

Couple of preliminaries. First- -like any meat, coyote is safe to eat if cooked thoroughly and properly. I personally have never heard of a coyote contracting something like CWD disease, as deer do. Having said that, pathogens and food borne illnesses have the potential to exist in all meat to some extent -- and indeed the outbreaks of salmonella and other such diseases arise almost yearly in beef.

Then there's the question of whether one eats an animal that itself is a carnivore. The answer in many world cultures is a resounding "yes," and from my research that included Native American tribes; although I cannot say that that practice exists today.

It comes down to more a "mind set" than anything else. I've been to many other countries, and have had the opportunity to try local -- let's call them - - "specialties." I have found that there are certain things that I won't eat, but that doesn't mean others won't – indeed, many do. Just watch some of those Bizarre Food programs on the Travel Channel, and you'll see what I mean. Some hunters I've spoken to have eaten coyote, with differing opinions on taste and preparation. Others gave me that sideways look which indicates they think I might need some "psychiatric help" (I probably do, but not because I inquired about eating coyote).

Whatever your opinion, it's an interesting subject, and one I suspect that hasn't been really been touched on much. On balance, I would urge you to make up your own mind, and not to listen to the over-emotional nay-sayers who if you recall, in the early 20th century, said not to throw away your buggy whips, because automobiles were just a passing fad.

Here then are some tried-and-true coyote recipes. 

  • Crock Pot Coyote 
    Four pounds of coyote meat. 16 ounces of apricot preserves. One bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. One half of a red onion, diced. Half teaspoon of salt. Half teaspoon of pepper. Half teaspoon of garlic powder. Put all into a crock pot, let it cook for eight hours, and it's ready to serve.
  • Stewed Coyote 
    Four pounds of coyote meat cut into one inch cubes. 11/2 cups of vinegar. A tablespoon of pepper. Two tablespoons of salt. Tablespoon of garlic powder. Half cup of cooking oil. Two large yellow onions, diced. Three cups of tomato sauce. Ten cups of boiling water. Two red bell peppers cut into strips. Two bay leaves. One teaspoon of Tabasco sauce. One can of pineapple chunks.

    Marinate the meat in a mixture of the recipe's vinegar, pepper, salt and garlic powder for two hours. Fry the meat in the oil, using a large wok, or a large cast iron skillet. Add the onions, pineapple and sauté until tender. Once tender, pour into a pot, adding the tomato sauce and boiling water, add your bell pepper, bay leaves and Tabasco. Cover and simmer until meat is tender. (My dear friend Phil Schweik says you can substitute lamb for the coyote, because the taste is similar, but why would you he asks, since coyote is a heckuva lot cheaper than lamb!). 

  • Grilled Coyote
    Slow cook the coyote meat over a grill, marinate with some fruit based glaze, roll in cabbage leaves when done, and serve with steamed white rice.

  • Deep Fried Coyote 
    Cut your coyote meat into one inch chunks, then soak in buttermilk overnight. Prepare your deep fryer, then bread the coyote meat in your favorite breading, and deep fry until done. Quick, easy and tasty!

  • Coyote Jerky 
    Simple to prepare and better than beef. Just follow ANY jerky recipe and substitute thin sliced coyote meat for beef, venison or whatever. You'll never know the difference.

  • Sun Baked Coyote 
    (I got this one from an old-time mountain man). Shoot a coyote. Let it sit in the sun for ten days. Come back, and you'll find nothing but bones and hide as others have gobbled up the meat. Then thank your lucky stars that YOU didn't have to eat it (just teasing of course, but we all have to be able to laugh at ourselves, right?). 
On a serious note, I am told that coyote is really quite good and tasty when prepared properly. I probably will try it if someone offers to me, and I would suggest that none of us become so haughty as to say, "How can you eat that?" As I said previously there are different food tastes throughout the world, and if you haven't tried it, don't knock it. Push the envelope a little bit, and take a chance. You never know - -you may really like it. And don't let anybody put you down because you're a hunter, and what you may eat. It's none of their "expletive deleted" business. And if they're the snooty quiche and white wine crowd that's fine for them. For me? Pass the coyote jerky and a cold beer.

Oh yeah - -no comments please about how I outlined the recipes. I'm not Julia Childs, and I don't want to take up space by listing each item on a separate line, with all kinds of useless notes. I've cooked and eaten more wild game of all types than most anyone I've ever met, and the best recipes have come to me scribbled on a scrap of paper or by word of mouth, without any fancy overlays. You know what I mean. Just another thing I love about hunters and hunting.

12 comments:

  1. Yotes don't have CWD but they are pretty big carriers of rabies. I guess I'd go along with a taste if somebody prepared it, but I don't think I'll be cooking any coyote anytime soon.

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  2. i just got a coyote this weekend. They are a very decent meat. Not to different from venison. So much crap spread about them no one tries it and just repeats how bad they are some where else. If you dont trap or hunt i would contact someone who does and let them know you want the meat. be prepared to be ridiculed a little. Most people will hunt only for the pelt or just shoot them cause they hunt deer. Hope you get to try it.

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  3. Justinl, Congrats on your coyote. I'm not sure I would go out and find meat from a hunter or trapper but next time I get one myself I'm going to try and cook some up. Pass the A1

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  4. No, please do not tell me this is true. if you hair starts to fall out after eating coyote, don't worry, its just the mange.

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  5. My dad's rule is if it bleeds when you kill it then its meat.

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    1. It's not meat its murder, tasty, tasty tasty murder. PS there is always room for god's creatures right next to the mashed potatoes!

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    1. Steve- I can't wait to hear how it turns out! Thanks for sharing your plans!

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  7. I have a couple traps out at this very moment. I hope to catch a raccoon or a coyote. Either way, I am going to get a nice pelt, and and even nicer dinner. I will make a roast or bbq. Ive never tried it before, but when I am done, I will let you all know how amazing it was.

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  8. i want to know if i was lost in the woods and kill a coyote could i smoke the meat (dry it out) to make it last would it be safe to eat?

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  9. I have never tried it but I would be willing to. I don't know why people have problems with it. A lot of people who will not eat a carnivore will not think twice about a nice fish fillet to eat. I would think 99% of fish are technically carnivores what the difference besides they look like mans best friend!! :)

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  10. Season is year round here in KY and no limit. I am going to be trying it very soon and if I like the taste my freezer will be stocked with them instead of buying from the grocery store. I would rather eat something from land than fish just look at all of the toxic waste and radiation that spills into those waters.

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