Comment of the day: how to cook opossum
July 12th, 2012
07:15 PM ET
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From Barbecue Digest: Cook the opossum, spare the bear, a reader named Simon advises:

I gotta say, I've had opossum, and it was delicious. You gotta parboil it first – let the grease rise to the top, but then you take it out and smoke it, basting it as you go in a part vinegar part tomato sauce, kind of like Piedmont of Western North Carolina style BBQ sauce. It might be OK with just a vinegar base like in Eastern North Carolina, but I haven't tried that.

It's a white meat, and tastes like chicken, but with a slight gamey flavor, a little like squirrel but more tender. I suggest folks try it – there's no great risk in over-hunting the possum population any time soon, and it survives reasonably well near human habitats, making it a pretty ideal food source. Don't kill a mom with babies though, if you can avoid it.

Update - Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern weighs in:

Now you know. And about that squirrel...

Previously - Why hunting your own dinner is an ethical way to eat

Comments are edited for length and clarity.

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soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. how much money

    Unquestionably believe that that you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the simplest factor to have in mind of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as other people think about worries that they plainly don't know about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the whole thing without having side-effects , folks could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

    July 20, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  2. cloudchasersakonige

    Best way to kill it would be to feed it cheap liqueur or schnapps until it passes out, then hang it upside down and slit its throat. If an animal dies stressed out, it makes the meat tougher.

    July 17, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  3. Charles

    The photo is not a opossum, it looks like a lemur.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • JojoMojo

      It's an Australian opossum. Somebody at CNN needs a marsupial refresher.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Kat Kinsman

        Do we all feel better about the picture now?

        July 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Alice Cooper

      Now we know – school's out for Summer.

      July 17, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  4. JMK

    I was told once by a man from Tennessee that the best way to cook possum is to stew it in a crock pot with sweet potatos until it falls off the bones. The one time I tried it, we just threw it on the grill, and it was very tough, so it makes sense to me that slow cooking in a stew would be a good technique.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  5. jmac

    I will eat almost anything, but possum I don't think so. That and tripe, no way in the world.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  6. milton Platt

    So my question to the author of this article is.....did he eat a North American opossum, or an Australian one (which he included a picture of).

    July 16, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Jojo

      Bravo! I was hoping someone would notice/mention that. It's irksome when people try to pretend they're disseminating knowledge, but are just highlighting their ignorance. The inability to differentiate the North American opossum from the Australian possum is a particular nettlesome point for dingbattedness that makes me shake my head every time I see it.


      July 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  7. eros

    a good recipe is to skin the creature fresh. hang over night. no parboiling. cut into pieces. salt and pepper. then lightly coat with flour. chop garlic and onions and chili peppers. set aside. mince carrots, celery . peel some baby potatoes. olive oil in pan and fry oinions and garlic and the opossum pieces. stir frying, add chili peppers. then add carrots, celery and maggi.stir. then add baby potatoes. cook for 10 minutes more.

    July 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  8. Yuck

    Not even A1 steak sauce could mask the nasty flavor of possum.

    July 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  9. Bundy

    Haha, I wouldn't want to post a picture of a real opossum and admit I ate it either. it is a nasty looking creature. Do a gooogle image search. It won't be that tasty little critter you see above.

    July 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  10. Eric

    That doesn't look like the opossums around my house (New Orleans). They are some ugly mothers down here with big, ugly, crooked, toothy mouths. They are the only animal I hate. But if they're tasty, it just gives me a reason to kill them. Yay!

    July 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Shirley Lou

    In west virgina we call um tree kittens.

    July 14, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  12. Jim bob

    People, it was originally called Popossum. Then the p was dropped to Opossum. Now most hilljack people just call it Possum. But no matter how you spell it or pronounce it, it is a tasty and delicious dish. Especially when bbq'd on the grill.

    July 14, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  13. imuneek

    People. The word "possum" is short for opossum, which is the correct term. "Possum" is backwoods slang. The picture above is an opossum.

    July 14, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • eagle

      It's spelled Opossum, the O is silent so it's pronounced "Possum"

      July 14, 2012 at 5:23 am |
      • Alex

        You're actually both incorrect.
        Per Wikipedia:
        (Opposums) are commonly called possums, though that term technically refers to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes.

        July 14, 2012 at 6:55 am |
        • eagle

          And we all know how reliable Wikapedia is...

          July 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
        • eagle

          Try and try to cut back on the Wikapedia, it can rot the brain.

          July 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Little Timmy's Teacher

      Good grief. Have you heard of the English language? It's a living language. It's constantly changing. If you don't believe me (or more likely don't understand what I'm saying), go read a direct translation of one of Shakespeare's plays and tell me what you think the characters are saying.

      July 14, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Ragette

        They are saying...wipe then flush.
        So sayeth the shepherd.
        So sayeth the flock.

        July 14, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • dwpbike

      partially correct: the photo is of an australian opossum

      July 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  14. Hajib Hubdulah

    Yes, very tasty. Try this ingreedients:
    3 lb. slaughterd and ground up possum meat
    8 oz warm goat urine
    3 pinecone cores
    4 cups of lard.
    mix all things together and place entire mixute in one big glob on a pan in the oven for 4 hours at 500 degrees.
    serves 16 to 20 people

    July 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • American

      I will take your word for it. No thanks.

      July 14, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  15. abbydelabbey

    ew – for so many reasons - I use to feed a cute little possum when I lived in the country - I put the food far, far away from where I lived - the possum stayed far away from me but seemed to know that I was not going to hurt him - I kept my distance
    I also fed the deer, squirrels, foxes, birds, etc - all at a far distance -

    July 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  16. Partial_Mitch

    Opossum is as nutritious and tasty as any other meat; though it does need some special care to get tone down the gamey flavor.

    Fun fact: the only reason there are opossums in, say, California is because East Coast settlers brought them west as an easy to catch, fast breeding food source.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  17. Campstovejack

    Good show.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  18. biohodge

    Reminds me of the old joke, "How many people from (fill in the blank) does it take to eat an opossum?" Answer: three – one to eat the opossum and two to stop traffic.

    July 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • jpbrody

      I thought so - that's the little critter that sleeps in the highway with its feet in the air! Right?

      July 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  19. Dolores

    No thanks. Possums are nasty creatures and will eat all sorts of rotten meat. I have seen them crawling out of days old road kill.

    July 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Matt

      Days old roadkill is better than the crap cows are fed.

      Speaking of crap, have you ever heard of a catfish....

      July 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Sir Biddle

        You must have meant Carp

        July 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
        • jpbrody

          Nope. He means catfish. They taste great fried (batter dipped, etc.) But you don't want to think about what they eat.

          But I suspect that carp is about the same. In gentrified circles around here, they're not eaten. And that's saying a lot for around here.

          July 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
        • ComeOnMan9

          Little dumb bunny, carp is now tilapia and catfish is farm raised for the most part.

          July 14, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  20. Anna

    wat d faq...people will eat anything..yuck

    July 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Anything tastes good when you're starving. Go without eating for 3 or so days then try your most hated food. Not so bad all of a sudden, is it?

      July 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
      • MarileeBob



        July 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  21. Griffon

    When it's time to cook dinner, I just play dead.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  22. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫ @ Kat

    Ha! I saw you had made a comment about this comment the other day. Did Andrew ever respond?

    July 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      That was his response to me!

      July 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  23. wildlifer

    Picture is of a Ringtail Possum native to Australia. Hardly the opossum that is common to North America.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • jpbrody

      That explains it. I just thought it was a possum who was in shock because he heard someone was passing recipes around!

      July 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  24. no name

    That's a picture of a possum not an oppossum!!!!

    July 13, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  25. Teresa Frazier

    True. It is not a possum.
    I have never eaten possum but I hear folks around here fry it. They do parboil first, though.

    July 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  26. georgia

    picture is not a possum

    July 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      It's an Australian possum. You'd be amazed how paltry the stock of possum photos is on photo services.

      July 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
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