It’s good being on top of the food chain. As humans, we’re lucky enough to be able to eat anything we want, provided we have access to it. If it’s edible, we can eat it.
It’s safe to say that most of us only eat a few different types of animals: beef, pork, and chicken, say, and maybe lamb on occasion. But there’s a whole world of animals out there, literally, and as humans we’re allowed to eat them all if we really want to (except for the endangered or poisonous ones). Here are five you won’t believe people actually eat, along with the best way to prepare them yourself.
Now, we’re not saying that you should replace pork with camel, by any means. But in certain parts of the world, this beast of burden is a delicacy, and people seem to love it.
Same with iguanas.
It’s a brave new world out there, one where people are realizing that, to paraphrase Andrew Zimmern, if it looks good, they should eat it. Spurred on in part by his Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods, there’s a new generation of super-adventurous eaters out there who are willing to try just about anything. And while it’s obviously illegal to eat endangered animals, if you look hard enough (or if you just go to this website), you’ll be able to order the meat of some of the world’s most exotic animals directly to your door.
Some exotic meats are tough and gamy; others are light and flaky. Some you can treat like beef, while others require either a quick sear or a long braising. But at the end of the day, they’re all edible.
Iguana is eaten in most of the places where it's indigenous, which are mostly in Central America. In order to cook an iguana, you want to gut it, then cut it up like a chicken. Give it a boil for about half an hour, pull all the meat off, and treat it as you would chicken or any other light meat.
2. Black Bear
Say you’re out for a hike when you happen upon a black bear that attacks you. Slaying it will work up a heck of an appetite, but hey, you’ve got hundreds of pounds of meat at your disposal now! Black bear meat is reportedly a bit metallic, and meat from young bears supposedly tastes better. Chef and food scientist Dave Arnold suggests cooking it low and slow for about three hours.
There’s a surprising amount of meat on a turtle, so you’re going to want to chop it up, give it a boil, then shred the meat — similar to how you’d treat iguana. The texture is comparable to frog legs or lobster, and it goes great in a gumbo.
4. Guinea Pig
Pigs are delicious; guinea pig has “pig” in its name; therefore, guinea pigs are also delicious. In the Andes, guinea pigs, known as cuy, are a staple, with a flavor similar to rabbit (They’re also apparently eaten in Minneapolis). There are a couple traditional preparations: Once it’s skinned and gutted, give it a rub with oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic, then roast it. You can also deep-fry the whole thing. It’ll take a little work to get at all the meat, but a guinea pig has enough on it to feed one person.
Learn more about surprisingly delicious exotic meats.
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