If you have spent much time running trail cameras the past few years, you have probably noticed an uptick in the raccoon population around your hunting area. With the decline in fur prices and the popularity of coon hunting in some locals, raccoon numbers have skyrocketed.
This spells trouble for quail, turkey, and other ground-nesting birds. In order to keep predator numbers down around our farm, Potroast, our youngest, runs a trapline in December and January each year. While fur prices won't make you rich, or even pay for the fuel you use checking your traps, keeping predator numbers down helps out the other game around our hunting areas. For every coon he catches, another quail chick might hatch. For every coyote, a couple more fawns may make it.
Another upside is a full freezer. Grilled raccoon is excellent! With a flavor and texture very reminiscent of pulled pork, I'd rate it right up there with other top wild game table fare. For grilling, we prefer a young raccoon, around 3/4 of the way to full grown, around 5 to 7 pounds live weight.
1 young raccoon
1 young raccoon
2 tablespoons BBQ rub
we used Traeger Big Game Blend
1 cup real maple syrup
we use the excellent syrup from The Pileated Forest
1/2 cup bourbon
we used Jim Beam Bonded 100 proof
2 tablespoons Traeger Coffee Rub
3 tablespoons butter
Skin and dress the raccoon by cutting into four leg sections and the back. Remove the pea-sized scent or musk gland from each leg near where it meets the body. There are several YouTube videos that will show you exactly where these glands are located.
Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until softened. Add the syrup, the bourbon, and the coffee rub. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Rub the raccoon all over with the BBQ rub.
Grill over medium heat. We set the Traeger on 300 degrees for 90 minutes. Baste with maple bourbon sauce every 15 minutes. Flip halfway through cooking time.
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