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How to Clean a Possum

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:30 am
How to Clean a Possum
A good size possum can reach 9 pounds provide a family decent meal Many people prefer to put an opossum in a safely wired pen to feed them for two or three weeks before eating them "to clean them out". They will eat about anything but old or vegetables or fruit is good along with lots of clean water. If it is young, say 1 1/2 to 3 lbs, it can be cooked a lot like rabbit. If it is larger, soak it over night in salt water and make it into a stew or some dish that allows you to cook it until it gets tender.

Killing & Skinning
Possum are much harder to kill than rabbits which are a snap to kill with a sharp blow behind the neck with a stick. Once dead, remove head, tail, and feet at the knees. Then skin just like you did the rabbits. The skin will be a little harder to take off than rabbit skin, but it will not tear and will come off in one piece. Then you clean it and cut it up just like you did the rabbit.

Cleaning
Possums have musk glands which must be removed when it is cleaned. The fat is not strong flavored or smelly but most cooks remove all the body fat to make the meat less greasy. The meat is light in color, fine-grained and tender with generous fat deposits between the bands of muscle. It is relatively easy to separate, especially if it is chilling first to harden the fat which makes it easier to pull off. Opossum meat has had as much of the fat as possible removed, soak in salt water (3 tablespoons salt to gallon of water), soak overnight before cooking.
Some people like to marinate it before cooking for 4 to 6 hours (in 1/2 teaspoon ground sage, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/4 cup vinegar to 2 cups water or cider to cover); but this is not really necessary.

Cooking
Place opossum in deep kettle, add enough water to cover well and cook well without sticking or scorching. Add a medium onion peeled and cut in half and a medium apple (not peeled and cut in half), salt to season according to size of opossum. (Add boiling water if it cooks out before tender). Cook on medium heat for a long as it takes to have meat tender when tested with fork stuck into it. When tender, remove onion and apple.
Carefully place opossum in large baking pan and remove all layers of fat that remain if you can. Then use 1 or 2 sticks of butter, chipped over or rubbed on opossum. (This is not necessary, but could be used to season it). Pour some of the broth from "par boiling" (first cooking) around opossum in baking pan. Use lots of black pepper, sprinkle opossum lightly with flour to help brown, take spoon and put some broth lightly over flour (this is "basting").
Place in 350 degree F. oven and brown light brown or as brown as you wish - watch and continue to sprinkle top of opossum with broth (or butter). When done and ready to eat, the opossum should be very real brown. To keep it from getting hard, brown it in oven to light brown on top, then with some broth in pan, put it on top of stove, cover and baste often and let it cook on low heat so it won't scorch on bottom. This is similar to cooking duck. Removing that fat from opossums, then cooking until tender is the key and the use of a pressure cooker or crock pot maybe useful.

(Army Cooking, l9l0 Style, from an old U.S. Army manual)
Clean and skin the 'possums, allowing them to hang in the open air for several hours, then place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours before cooking. Stuff with an ordinary bread stuffing (sage preferred). Set in a deep pan so that no part will project above the top; season well with pepper and salt, and pour about one inch of beef stock or canned beef bouillon into the pan. Fill the vacant spaces with peeled sweet potatoes, and sprinkle a little flour over the whole; cover with a crust, the same for a pot pie, omitting the fat, as the crust will be removed after baking and will not be served. Allow to bake slowly for about three hours. Remove crust and serve hot. The crust will absorb most of the fat from the opossum.

{note: under survival conditions, the fat laden crust would be eaten for the much needed calories. 230gr)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:55 am
Warning!!Opossums at least down here in Florida tend to be wormy(hook,heart,and round worms).Clean and cook them well.Soaking the meat in whole milk overnight will work better at breaking the euric acid down in the meat than salt water.Euric acid is what puts the gamey into your game.Milk is also good used the same way for taking the sour flavor from shark meat.Iced salt water(preferably sea salt)tends to work its best magic freshening up fish(fresh or salt water).Then you only need to lightly wash your fellets or h&g ,and let them soak for a half an hour to an hour or so.I'm not trying to knock your post.Just add info to it from personal experience.Matt
I want to die in my sleep just like my Grandpa,not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car. ""I'm the one you go to when something absolutely has to go"Kaaboommm"!!!!""

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:56 pm
Warning!! Opossums at least down here in Florida tend to be wormy (hook,heart,and round worms).Clean and cook them well.

Good advice Goinpostal, best to be through with any omnivores or scavengers.
I am not sure that uric acid is what puts the gamey into game but more a function of what they eat. Salt water is good at pulling out the off flavours, so is Baking Soda but milk is better. You will find that most of my posts are done with an eye toward EOTWAWKI conditions. Milk would be too scarce and precious for soaking under those conditions.
As I understand it, most sharks retain high levels of uric acid in their flesh the exception for some for some reef sharks. In Iceland, they catch arctic sharks which are so loaded with uric acid as to be uneatable even after soaking so some of their frugal ancestors found away. They hang the carcass in an airy barn for 3 years during which the uric acid ferments into ammonia which eventually evaporated out. The ammonia keeps the flies away and, with its high pH, bacteria too. That is what I call "hard core".

PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:14 am
Nice post 230

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 12:46 am
230gr wrote:
Warning!! Opossums at least down here in Florida tend to be wormy (hook,heart,and round worms).Clean and cook them well.

Good advice Goinpostal, best to be through with any omnivores or scavengers.
I am not sure that uric acid is what puts the gamey into game but more a function of what they eat. Salt water is good at pulling out the off flavours, so is Baking Soda but milk is better. You will find that most of my posts are done with an eye toward EOTWAWKI conditions. Milk would be too scarce and precious for soaking under those conditions.
As I understand it, most sharks retain high levels of uric acid in their flesh the exception for some for some reef sharks. In Iceland, they catch arctic sharks which are so loaded with uric acid as to be uneatable even after soaking so some of their frugal ancestors found away. They hang the carcass in an airy barn for 3 years during which the uric acid ferments into ammonia which eventually evaporated out. The ammonia keeps the flies away and, with its high pH, bacteria too. That is what I call "hard core".

I saw this on the Travel Channel. Looked absolutely gross, but to survive...we will do what we have to (gulp).


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