While the idea of cooking up squirrels is certainly nothing new to those who hunt the small game, the 2012 World Championship Squirrel Cook Off in Bentonville, Ark., was the first to turn the culinary preparation of the bushy-tailed rodent into a world-class competition.
"It's what nature intended for people to eat," 2012 contestant Bud Bohall told OzarksFirst.com.
The competition usually held in September in the Downtown Bentonville Square. The event is open to the public and will kick off at 9 a.m., with a projected wrap-up time of 1 p.m.
Contestants are required to supply their own squirrel, ingredients, cooking devices, public serving dishes, utensils and tables. Dishes must be completed in entirety during the competition -- from chopping to cooking to plating.
Each team of contestants will be judged on taste, appearance and more for both a side dish and an entree, with the main ingredient of both being squirrel.
Prepared dishes that were judged in the competition last year included squirrel tamales, squirrel gumbo, squirrel stew, squirrel sliders, bacon-wrapped squirrel wings and jalapeño squirrel poppers, according to CNN.
Check out the official website of the squirrel cookoff for updates, photos and recipes.
What’s your favorite squirrel recipe? Let us know!
And for those who don’t have a favorite, try starting with this easy recipe from allrecipes.com:
Slow Cooked Squirrel Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- Cook Time: 8 Hours
- Ready In: 8 Hours, 20 Minutes
- Servings: 6
2 squirrels - skinned, gutted, and cut into pieces
4 large potatoes, quartered
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 onions, sliced
2 cups water
1/4 medium head cabbage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
In a slow cooker, place the squirrel meat, potatoes, carrots, green bell pepper, onions, water, cabbage, salt and ground black pepper.
Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
Happy hunting -- and cooking!