October 9th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
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Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas to sample tamales, gumbo, stew and other dishes all made with a little something extra - squirrel meat.

Brothers Brandon and Blayne Estes reigned supreme at the inaugural World Champion Squirrel Cook Off. Their squirrel slider recipe, bested the 19 other contestants who'd come armed with dishes such as bacon wrapped squirrel wings and jalapeno squirrel poppers.

Zimmern confirmed on Twitter that he captured elements of the event on his smartphone for posterity.

[tweet https://twitter.com/andrewzimmern/status/255452774240768000%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/andrewzimmern/status/254660107365933056%5D


Previously - Give squirrel a whirl and Squirrel, donkey and fish spines on the menu in 2012 and Mint juleps, bourbon slush, benedictine and burgoo with just a smidge of squirrel

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Filed under: Andrew Zimmern • Hunting • Ingredients • Meat • Squirrel

soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Mona

    Looks like a guy in Michigan read this and decided to try it. He just burned down his apartment building trying to remove the fur off a dead squirrel to eat it. Now he and 32 neighbors are homeless.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  2. bibleverse1

    Wasnt there a recent story about squirrels carrying the plague?

    October 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • HamsterDancer

      Hey, that's just extra flavoring!

      October 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
      • Prabhakar

        Haha, that's quite a vicious surirqel. Whenever I watch them, I always think their brains are receiving signals from seven different sources and they can only focus on one at any given time...hence the always fidgety, indecisive behavior I've seen in them.I should be thankful the only surirqels I deal with are the grey surirqels we have down here in Atlanta...those red surirqels that live up north are freaking monsters! Like half-size cats practically.

        December 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  3. T

    I hope you realize that squirrels are of the rodent family. For those of you in NY City, just catch one of those juicy rats and cook it like a squirrel. Yum, yum – rat the other white meat.

    October 10, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  4. KAY


    October 10, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  5. lovethatsquirrel

    people will get fired up about anything anymore.

    squirrel is good. squirrel is great.

    if you don't like it – don't eat it.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • JOH

      Give it to us raw and w-r-r-riggling; you keep nasty chips.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  6. SB1790

    Squirrel tastes great! So does rabbit, turtle, goat and doves. And you've not truly experienced the South if you've never tried frog legs or gator or rooster fries.

    October 10, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  7. Barking Squirrels

    MMMmmm Chicken of the trees. We may all be eating more squirrel if the economy goes south. Good thing there are lots of squirrels in my neighborhood.

    October 10, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  8. mmi16

    Squirrel! It's what's for dinner!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Marshall S.

      I see what you did there!! High five!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  9. Your Lord and Master

    Fear the wrath of Foamy.

    October 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  10. Marshall S.

    I don't get what people are getting so hyped up about. In some states there is actually a squirrel season to hunt them. I think it is better to feed people than to have them just laying on the road. AND why spend the money in a supermarket for beef when this is cheaper? Whats next all of the people are going to say that eating deer is bad too?!!

    October 10, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  11. Gomer

    Well Goll-ee thats some mighty fine cooking there. Good eats. Gimmee another helping please.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:21 am |
  12. Jason

    People that eat squirrels have IQ's directly proportional to the overall length of an adult squirrel in inches. (few higher than about 15)
    Red neck morons.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Marshall S.

      So then that means people who eat grass have the I.Q. of 3 depending on who cuts the grass??

      October 10, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • JOH

      In my opinion, nothing beats Korean BBQ. But the South has far better BBQ than Northerners of America. BBQ in the North has become just tasteless fatty patties and hot dogs. They are good but they're not that good. The South knows how to have a great BBQ with some of the best tasting meat with the best cooking style available to them. Squirrels, frog legs, turtle, croc meat, etc. Venison is good too. You don't see people making a fuss about eating chickens and what's more lobsters. Think about it, lobsters are literally giant bugs in the ocean. I love them but just giving your ignorant moronic mind a perspective.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  13. harbharb

    See the related story about squirrel-hosted fleas causing a person to contract the plague. Eeek!

    October 10, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  14. ankur

    F'in nasty a@# MOFOS! You would think Andrew's fat ass would be a little skinnier. Eating all the garbage he eats would give me the runs all day!

    October 10, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Slap

      I'd have the sheets too.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • JOH

      Well he's not like Adam Richmond who just eats all the fatty greasy food you Americans eat on a daily basis. I hate Zimmern but he has an amazing job going around the world to try new food. I want some deep fried tarantula please

      October 10, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  15. manofcolor

    Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood Eatin!

    October 10, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  16. Colonelingus

    Mmm... Limb bacon. Use to hunt them with a .338 win. mag. Had to stop though. Kept ruining too much meat.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  17. ohthatchar

    A wrist rocket (sling shot) and LARGE Lima beans are essential tools.

    October 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  18. smokeee

    squirrels just need to move out of the red states and they'll be safe. poor lil squirrilies.

    October 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  19. johnny57

    Those squirrels are such precious little angels. They should not be eaten when we have other animals raised for slaughter.

    October 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • cyphere

      your kidding right? squirrels are overpopulated and have become a nuisance pest... best thing people could do would be to hunt them and control the population.

      October 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • ohsnap

        My borther-in-law is from the South. He loves squirrel. Depends on what you are used to.

        October 10, 2012 at 12:01 am |
      • johnny57

        They are not that common where I am at, and they are precious little angels. They are so cute.

        October 10, 2012 at 12:37 am |
        • danthefisherman

          They are really little angels when they're mashed like a cat on a city street.

          October 10, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  20. donny

    i use to eat Squirrel when i was a kid love the brains yummy..but not thesesdays

    October 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  21. Chaya

    NOOOOOO.... I LOVE SQUIRRELS... ALIVE!!! They're the cutest little animals!!! Don't kill them!

    October 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Howard

      They are only rats with furry tails.....Amazing how squirrels get a pass but "death to all rats"......LMAO..

      October 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
      • John Wayne Gacy

        Anyone who compares a squirrel to a rat isn't all that bright.

        October 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
      • manofcolor

        You are correct. Rodents! and if they happen to find their way into your attic-Good Luck!

        On another note-They are mighty tasty!

        October 10, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • nimrod

      cuter than little bunny wabbits? When I was in grad school, I practically lived on cottontails I shot (no squirrels in my area). Very cheap and tasty meat, a .22 round cost less than a nickel. We could have friends over for a nice meal (fried cottontail, rice, steamed broccoli, and homemade pie for under a buck a head.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • Marshall Spaans

        How nice is it just to pull the .22 out out and pop!!! One of the main reasons why I don't have anymore Rabbits on my farm, kind of sad, but tasted good!

        October 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Marshall S.

      Says the person who eats grass for a living

      October 10, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • JOH

      I hate squirrels. I've had 3 incidents when I was a teen where squirrels literally ruined that year each incident and you would agree too... The worst was when a squirrel dug into my attic and went into labor in my closet. I could hear the squirrel squirming at night hwen I'm trying to sleep. Next morning, there are dead flies everywhere and I see a baby squirrel following a mama squirrel. Should've eaten that piece of s.

      October 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  22. jeff

    The smaller game (squirrel, rabbit, pidgeon, quail) we usual cube and throw in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup and various veggies. The gamier stuff we let soak in salt water over night, helps to break the flavor down some.

    In this day and age with the health issues being raised, it's surprising that these natural meats are not all the rage. High protein, low fat, cheep, free range.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Kevin

      It makes really good chili as well, my personal favorite.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
      • Lawrence E

        Squirrel meat may contain the SARS virus and is NOT safe to eat.

        October 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
        • cyphere

          just researched SARS and there is nothing about squirrels or any other animal transmitting that disease. please provide proof.

          October 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
        • cyphere

          I see now, you are confusing "plague" with "SARS". if you read that article again you'll that the issue is endemic to the Riverside County, California area.
          Out side of that region...bon appetit!

          October 10, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • ohthatchar

      Absolutely! Seasoned, fried with rice and brown gravy. Oh Yeah! (p.s. I spent the first 26 yrs of my life in burbs Chgo.)

      October 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  23. Eat Andrew Zimmern

    Sure wish someone would eat Andrew Zimmern instead of the squirrels...

    October 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  24. Gigit

    BBQ Squirrel is probably some of the best BBQ I've ever had.

    October 9, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  25. Dan

    What's a squirrel do all day? Climb the equivalent of the empire state building (aka a tree) several dozen times a day and eat nothing but protein (nuts). There's nothing but muscle on those suckers. You have to add water to the pot or else the meat will burn 'cuz there's no fat.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  26. GetReal

    Squirrel and Rice with Gravy and Cornbread...........Best stuff ever!

    October 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • czar33

      Mmmmmmm so good "makes you want to smack your mama

      October 10, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  27. escher7

    Once caught a very large squirrel that had come down a chimney. Grabbed him by the tail to throw him outside and the sucker bit my hand. I had put on a pair of leather gloves and a big woolen mitt (Not that Mitt). If I had not put on both I likely would have lost the finger. Serious teeth and heavy too. I think eating squirrel anywhere but in the backwoods is sick, but they are bigger than they look and I guess there is a fair amount of meat on one.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • anony

      Good thats what U get for trying to think about eating that poor squirrel u JERK! i hope ur finger gets infected and have rabies and have to amputite it !! Thats what u GET u hear me?!?!

      October 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
      • jiblets

        loser comment. You, my vegan friend, are a dork.

        October 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
      • Marshall S.

        Thats like saying that everytime you run over an animal you should call PETA on yourself!! RIGHT??!?!! It's a good thing you don't watch the History or Discovery channel and find out about the Yukon Men and how they make a living killing animals...

        LETS EAT!!

        October 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • annie watson

      Actually squirrel is quite tasty. In previous eras, it was common to eat squirrel, rabbit, chicken, and any bird that could be shot. As "real" food becomes more expensive, these meats are returning to popularity, eaten by those who know how to trap, skin, prepare and eat them. There is a much lower cost to the environment to eating small and wild animals that to eating feed lot beef, pork and chicken. Humans are part of the food chain that helps keep populations of these animals down, ultimately creating a healthier population.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
      • ohthatchar

        But you have to be nowhere shooting any kind of gun will get you in trouble.

        October 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
      • drnight

        I was raised by my Grandparents who had to feed their family during the depression. Squirrel, rabbit, and the occasional turtle provided many good family meals when I was small. Yes they are cute as are lambs, calves, and ducks. All of which are farmed for their meat. So if you don't like to think about cute squirrels and rabbits being eaten, remember veal and
        foie gras had cute faces too, once.

        October 10, 2012 at 12:20 am |
      • Behnam

        Awe, I bet he's a cutie!! I know they can be sweet!! Poor Florette must have just met the one mean squirrel out there! I have a sweet litlte one that always visits with me on my porch when I have coffee in the morning =)

        December 25, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  28. mobility scooter

    Anyone who eats squirrel in this day and age has to be retarded. Eat your f*****g dogs and cats too, why don't you. The "people" of this sad excuse for a country would (and do) literally eat their own feces.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • nimrod

      Never had domestic cat, but bobcat is quite good, and I suspect that the domestic variety would be just as tasty. With all the feral cats running around the neighborhood, might be a way to cut down the population.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Dinindy

      Eating game is better for the enviro than farm raised meats. Soak the squirrel in buttermilk for a tender meal.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • ohthatchar

      Whatcha gonna do when the grocery store is out of food due to any kind of disaster? Eat bugs? Don't be a sheeple fool.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
      • mobility scooter

        Guess my pets'll be screwed, then. Oh well.

        October 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Marshall S.

      So I'm guessing that you don't eat meat because all animals can be pets? Ya so you're not going to eat anytype of bird because of the Alfac Duck right??

      October 10, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  29. Vasil Henry

    Ones choice of food is culture driven. Let the feast begin. Grasshopper, ant, rat, cat, horse, dog and the list goes on, are to some a delicacy. Bon appetite.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  30. Kevin

    Squirrel has been around a lot longer than chicken in this country, what do you think Americans have been eating for most of our country's history? Squirrel is the chicken of the trees- it's really good.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • harvey

      Never tried treerat. Have chowed down on cute little bunny rabbits, quite good.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      Squirrel is an absolutely excellent meat. I find it up there in the top levels of choices for meat. Yes, you can crock pot it into a Brunswick stew, but my favorite meal of it was roasted with some seasonings and liquid in the oven at relatively low temperature for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Oh, that was heaven! Tasty, delicate, tender, awesome. I'm serious.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
      • ohthatchar

        @ Thinking...oooohh that sounds succulent!

        October 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  31. DJL

    So THAT'S what they do with roadkill down south!

    October 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • harvey

      Wasn't some Chinese eatery just busted for that?

      October 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  32. Rogue351

    People will eat anything. Isn’t squirrel from the same family as the rat a Rodent. Next thing we are going to have is farm raised squirrel / rat. With the cut backs or total demise of the FDA as Mitt and Ryan will most certainly do, who would know the difference ?

    October 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Mark

      We eat rabbit too. Nothing wrong with rabbit. That is a rodent too. Think before you speak. Most importantly, don't reproduce.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
      • mobility scooter

        Rabbits haven't been considered rodents for 100 years. Now you may continue to impregnate your little sister.

        October 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
        • truefax

          Brava! Best burn today!

          October 10, 2012 at 10:14 am |
      • nimrod

        Actually, rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents.

        October 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
        • ohthatchar

          @ Nimrod...Touche!

          October 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Thinking things through

      Some people won't eat anything, (if it sounds weird to them.). I was raised to try anything once. Granted, there are certain things I won't try again, but squirrel isn't one of those - I think it beats beef. Definitely beats brussels sprouts (which only last year I got around to admitting on some (SOME) occasions, they could be good.)

      October 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  33. harvey

    Ahhh ... BBQ treerat. Sounds yummy

    October 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  34. anony

    Oh thats just DISGUSTING. how DARE u ppl kill cute squirrels and eat them? Are you human beings sickos or what? I mean what have they ever done to u? Seriously, this is GROSS and u people should be in jail for Aminal cruilty! U ppl make me sick and PETA will hear about this.. TRUST me!!

    October 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • harvey

      Depends on your culture. The best selling book in Southeast Asia is "101 Ways to Wok Your Dog".

      October 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • anony

        yeah well u know what? u PPL make me sick! All u should be thrown in prison and rot there forever for eating cute animals like these u PERVS!!

        October 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
        • harvey

          Seriously, it depends on where you live. In many areas of the world people would think the same of someone chowing down on pork or beef.

          October 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
        • jeff

          People like anony are the tools that have allowed government confiscation of land that could be used for housing and food production. Simply put, you care more for a damn rodent than you do human beings.

          October 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
      • anony

        it doesnt matter u JERK u just dont eat animals like this. U HEAR ME!?

        October 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
        • bozobub

          Sorry, anony, simply isn't up to you. And squirrel, matter of fact, is delicious. Have fun controlling people over the internet =3 ...

          October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
      • Iknow

        At one point in time in China they also ate young children that were sold to butchers by poor families. Like around the early 1900s... would you wok that?

        October 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
        • Willy Turner

          A recent study indicated if US residents were to achieve their ideal Weight
          That would be the same as removing 1 Billion people from the face of the Planet
          Somebody's eaten more than just Squirrel out there

          October 10, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • bozobub

      It's only "cruelty" if you torment the squirrel before you kill, cook, and eat it. Sorry, PETA drone, no one really cares if YOU are disgusted or enraged =) ...

      October 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • escher7

      This is obviously a phony post.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • CobiaKiller

      come on over to my ouse anony...I will cook you up the bloodiest meal you have ever had...yumm.....I will even allow you to suck on the eyeball. If we are lucky, maybe you will choke on it.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
      • anony

        ur disgusting.. i hope u get fat and obese and die from fat cancer u loser!!

        October 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
        • pdxANON

          Only people who tell people to die from "fat" cancer... are fatties like you...

          October 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
        • Mr.Chef Man

          fat ccancer LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          October 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
        • Marshall S.

          So you're telling me that if I just eat grass all day that I won't get fat?? I just looked outside and saw my horse standing there and he seams mighty big to me. It would also take someone to eat a lot of squirrels to get you fat.

          October 10, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Marshall S.

      So you're the type of person who probably eats veggies right? So you're saying that it is better to eat all of the grass instead of letting Cow, Horses, or even goats eat it? PETA should be giving you a call for starving my animals that I like to eat!!

      October 10, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  35. MashaSobaka

    Sometimes the squirrels around Berkeley run in front of you and then stop right in your path. They just stand there and stare you down. Not gonna lie. I've been tempted to snatch the little brats up and take them home for dinner. Hey...local meat. Free range. Questionably organic, though...God knows what they eat.

    October 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  36. Mr.Chef Man

    Om Nom NOm

    The rabbies give the meat an extra kick

    October 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • nimrod

      Squirrels very, very rarely have rabies and have not been known to transmit it to humans in the US. Most attacks that would transmit rabies to a small mammal actually kill the small animal right then.

      October 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
      • ThePlague

        Squirrels may not easily get rabies, but a squirrel with BUBONIC PLAGUE was just found in California. Try eating that and see what happens.

        October 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  37. sri


    October 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • nimrod

      Why disgusting? Because squirrels are really just furry tailed rats, or because squirrels are really cute? I've never eaten squirrel, but cute little bunny rabbits are scrumptious!!

      October 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  38. TickTickTick

    Holy Crap!

    Since when is what I grew up on considered "exotic"?

    Lord knows! What will be the next big exotic food experience from my past!




    Or just anything NOT out of a package or a Mickey Don Don's wrapper!!!!

    October 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • escher7

      Mickey Don Don? never heard of it. Sounds like Mouse meat to me.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • ohthatchar

      You are so right

      October 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  39. JD

    Any part of the squirrel is fine dining!

    October 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • escher7

      And you prefer the back end? Squirrel Ashwhole.Sounds yummy.

      October 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  40. hawkechik

    The squirrels around here probably taste pretty good. They ought to. They've been living off of my $%#@!!! pecans!!!

    October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Jerv


      October 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • bozobub

      Actually, animals that having been living off of nuts tend to have a bitter aftertaste =/ ...

      October 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
      • ThePlague

        As do women

        October 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • Marshall S.


        October 10, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • bs1

      Squirrel is perfectly tasty and there is no shortage of them. The only people who would have an issue with this are those who can't differentiate Disney fantasy from reality.

      As for Pecans, I generally do a good job harvesting my pecans before the squirrels can get many. There aren't actually that many squirrels around here so perhaps someone nearby is hunting them.

      October 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • ohthatchar

      Can I help you with your squirrel problem? Pecan-fed squirrel is worth the trip!

      October 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  41. Bourdain

    I'd like to see Zimmern's nuts on a bun and see how he likes them apples!!

    October 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • nimrod

      You a vegan? Do you eat wild caught fish (tuna, salmon, haddock, etc.)? What's the difference between eating them and an animal you harvested yourself from the wild?

      October 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
      • CobiaKiller

        lol nimrod....apparently you have no clue who anthony bourdain is....poor you.

        October 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  42. ™©JbJiNg!eŚ®™

    Time to give Squirrel a Whirl?

    October 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • AleeD®

      Whirling tenderizes the meat, right?

      October 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
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