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Ground hog - can you eat them?

 
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Please pardon the slightly off topic question. Seeing all of the references to grandfathers shooting rabbits who were thieving in the garden brought to mind my own garden thief, the ground hog. I've been tempted to kill them and stew them when I've seen them inside my carefully constructed garden fence. Has anyone ever actually done this? Are they as edible as rabbits? They seem to get quite large, but I don't know if that is just bulky fur or if they would actually make a decent survival food. Does anyone else know?
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
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You can eat them - a quick search shows recipes:
https://www.google.com/search?q=groundhog+recipes

I can't say that I have tasted groundhog or cooked it myself, but it is not uncommon for folks around to have eaten them at least once. Supposed to taste like chicken more or less.
 
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Location: CT zone 5b
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You absolutely can eat them! I've eaten quite a few- some good and some just OK. I've always parboiled them first, then prepared in different ways. I think my favorite was on the grill with BBQ sauce. They can be weird and gristley, especially the big or old ones.
 
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Location: Carbon Hill, AL
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All mammals in north America are edible. Now taste is another issue. That's what BBQ and hot sauce are for.
I'd venture to say the world. But I'm sure there is some crazy poisonous something in the jungle somewhere you can't eat.
 
pollinator
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Location: Porter, Indiana
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Yes, you can eat groundhogs. They are a bit more tricky than rabbits since you need to make sure you remove their scent glands (look for youtube videos), their skin doesn't come off nearly as easily as rabbit, and they have more fat right under their skin. My preferred way of cooking groundhog is in a slow cooker with potatoes and carrots.
 
Jenna Ferresty
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Many thanks! I had no idea about the scent gland, so that is really good to know.
 
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Ground hogs are squirrels. The biggest squirrels in north america in fact. And they can climb trees pretty adeptly. Fences mean almost nothing to them.

They are trap shy, but there are commercial baits that are pretty effective.

The old males are the least edible.

They keep bankers hours and roll out of the burrow about 10'ish to go raid the garden.

They are surprisingly tough animals, and you should just plan on shooting them more than once if you're using a .22

Conibear traps over the burrow entrance are quite effective, but then you have to worry about catching the neighbor's dog, or 2 year old kid, or cat, etc.

There's never just one by the way...
 
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Location: Eastern PA
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Last year, my husband shot a groundhog with his bow and arrow. We butchered it by hanging her from a tree. I just kind of helped on the side, so I'm not clear on these details. All I know is, when it comes to getting those guts out, don't be afraid to use your hands. The fascia will unwind much more easily with your hands, and you are much less likely to accidentally open up the guts and ruin your meat.


How To (or how we) Prepare After Processed

1 - Sprinkle the carcass generously with kosher salt and let it sit in the the bowl in the fridge for 3 days. This will help to make the meat tender.

2 - On the morning of the third day, rinse off the salt and season how you prefer. I used garlic, salt, and pepper.

3- Place in your trusty crock pot, and turn on low. You will have a delicious dinner that evening.

So easy, so yummy. It's way better than having it go to waste. Quite frankly, groundhog is my favorite meat I have had to date. It has a rich flavor without being gamey. It has a wonderful texture, much like dark meat on a chicken. And the fat, I believe keeps it moist.

I even make a stock out of the bones afterward. It was a little fatty, but excellent tasting.


I was very reluctant to give it a try, but once I tried it, I was surprised how much I liked it.
 
Will Holland
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Location: CT zone 5b
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I soak in salt water too, but anywhere from a few hours to overnight.
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