Old-Fashioned Roasted Raccoon

Our great (or great-great) grandparents never skipped out on a meal of roasted raccoon. It tastes pretty good — and eating one might just save a wild turkey or two

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
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If you are a turkey hunter, you are probably aware that nest predation is one of the main reasons for reduced poult production. Increased raccoon populations in many areas, mostly due to decreased hunting and trapping pressure amid low fur prices, are one of the big culprits when it comes to destroyed turkey nests.

We trap them all winter long on our hunting properties, especially late winter leading up to turkey nesting season. Renowned wild turkey biologist Michael Chamberlain recommends predator removal right up until nesting time if the law in your state allows. For us, trapping season is over at the end of February, but we always make a big push right at the end.

Our ancestors prized raccoons as a meal, particularly in the southern U.S. The meat is flavorful but not overbearing, and it makes a fine BBQ or roast.

Slow roast the raccoon and root vegetables until the meat is tender and shreds easily from the bone.

Clean and butcher a raccoon just like you would a squirrel or a rabbit. The one difference is that there are four glands that need to be removed before cooking to prevent them from giving the meat an off flavor.

The glands in the hind legs, about the size of a pea, are just above the knee joint.

These glands are located on the back of the hind legs, just above the knee joint, and one each under the front legs of the raccoon. To remove the back glands, use the tip of a sharp knife to cut up the center of the back leg, working from the knee joint toward the back. The glands, one per side, will be about an inch above the knee joint and just under the surface of the meat. They look like small, gray, fat-covered marbles. 

Locate and remove the glands from the rear quarters and front legs.

For the front legs, just separate the front legs from the backbone. The glands will lie between the legs and the rib cage. Simply cut them out and discard before cooking.

The front glands are located inside the front legs along the rib cage.


1 raccoon, skinned and butchered into 4 legs and a back section

2 quarts water

1/2 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 pound of small red potatoes, skin on, halved

1 pound carrots, peeled

3 purple top turnips, washed, peeled, and quartered

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered

4 cloves garlic, peeled

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups beef or venison stock




Cooking Instructions

Start by cleaning the raccoon and removing the glands. I’m not a big fan of raccoon fat, so I trim away as much as possible before cooking. Soak the sectioned raccoon overnight, refrigerated, in a mixture of 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.

Butcher the raccoon into four legs and one back section.

Rinse the soaked raccoon, then add to a pot with enough clean water to cover. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and par boil the meat for 30 minutes. This step both helps to tenderize the raccoon and removes more of the leftover surface fat that didn’t get trimmed during processing.

After simmering the meat, remove it to a platter to cool. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add the root vegetables to the pan, then top with the parboiled raccoon before placing in the oven to roast.

Layer the parboiled raccoon over the vegetables. Season the meat with additional salt and pepper. Add the brown sugar, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the stock and place the lid on the pot.

Transfer the pot to a preheated 300-degree oven. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falls from the bone. Serve with the cooked vegetables and spoon over the cooking liquid as a gravy.

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