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?).
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.