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Pat Starner       patglo@comcast.net 7-14-2012 3:17 PM
Here's a recipe for BBQ'd coon that's rich in history. It was handed down from Bennie Moten, the famous Kansas City band leader of the 1920s-30s who died during a botched tonsillectomy under suspicious circumstances. Even more famous was the person who took over his band--William "Count" Basie.

I have updated some of the directions to reflect modern products and innovations, i.e., ziplock bags, dry salad dressing mix, BBQ rub, things of that nature. The rest remains true to the original recipe.

MOTEN'S BARBECUED COON

Ingredients:

1 or 2 Raccoon carcasses
4 packages Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing mix*
Apple Juice or Apple Cider**
BBQ rub or plain Black Pepper

Preparation:
After field dressing the coons remove the musk glands(kernels)that are located in the armpits and behind the knees. Failure to do so may result in VERY STRONG tasting meat. Cut the coon into manageable pieces similar to the way you would a chicken, removing as much fat as possible in the process. Place in a large pot of water and par-boil for about 25 minutes to eliminate even more greasy fat. Rinse the pieces in fresh tap water for several minutes. Prepare the Good Seasons* salad dressing mix according to the directions on the package. This will be used as a marinade to temper most of the "strong" flavor associated with wild game. Place the cut up pieces of coon in a two gallon ziplock bag and pour in the prepared salad dressing (it will take about a quart of it). Remove as much air as possible and work the meat and salad dressing around together in the bag until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours, occasionally turning the bag to re-coat the meat on all sides. (*Other salad dressings can also be used with good results; for example, Ranch, Thousand Islands, or just plain buttermilk.) This recipe works great on all kinds of wild game. In addition to preparing coon, I have also cooked beaver, woodchuck, and possum.

Start the smoking fire with the wood of your choice (my favs are hickory, oak, and apple, in that order). Next take the pieces of meat out of the fridge, thoroughly coat all sides of each piece with black pepper or your favorite rub, and place them on a cookie sheet to let stand at room temperature for about an hour. Once you have a good bed of coals in your firebox, place the cut up pieces of meat in the smoker, preferably not touching one another. Smoke the meat, maintaining the temperature between 180-220F, occasionally opening the smoker and spraying the meat with apple juice**. After smoking the meat for 2-3 houys, remove it from the smoker and seal the pieces in aluminum foil along with some apple juice. Return to the smoker and steam it for about an hour or so until tender. (**enzymes in the apple juice or cider help to break down muscle tissue, making it even more tender.) Brush the meat with your favorite BBQ sauce if desired and serve.

This may sound like a lot of work but it's definitely worth it. Enjoy....
Pat S.


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