How Do You Like Your Roadkill Prepared?

Road kill Anyone?

Road kill might make a good name for a band, but does it say supper to you? Well for many eating road kill is a way of life, a way of using that which otherwise would eventually decompose but also be wasted.

Our car culture has produced a number of causalities and not all of them are human. It is a rare driver that has not at least seen a squirrel, fox, beaver, badger, ground hog and so that has attempted to cross the road and failed to get to the other side.

They are considered by many to be collateral damage. The price we pay for the roads and highways that we are dependant upon to get us and our goods from one point to another.

To some people, however, road kill is delicious; provided the right procedures are followed. But more on that a little later on.

I have spent considerable time on the back roads and provincial highways in several provinces and have seen many animals from deer to crows that have been hit by passing vehicles. Some look almost whole as though they are about to get up and move at any moment; others are squashed beyond recognition.

Over the years we have hit very little, close calls with bear and moose; I am not counting bugs here as that tally would be impossible.

Only once have we actually hit anything.

About four years ago, a friend and I were travelling in her pick up along a small provincial highway in northern Ontario as we were rounding one of many curves we spotted a doe and her fawn. There was no place to pull over and the doe made it across the road but the fawn was not so lucky and ran straight into the side of the pickup.

We stopped a bit further on where we could pull over safely and walked back to the deer. The doe had glanced back over her shoulder and then bounded off into he woods.

The young buck died within minutes of our approaching him; we saw the light fail in his eyes.

Fortunately a friend of ours lived only a few miles back down the highway so the truck was turned around and got the buck, it was heavy, and bloody, loaded into the back and we took it to someone who could skin, clean and prepare the meat.

We could have moved the buck to the side and let nature do its job but it made more sense to take the food to someone we knew needed it and would appreciate it.

Human animal interactions are fairly common here in Northern New Brunswick, were I now live; so common that the provincial government has installed moose fencing along some highway stretches. When moose and car meet, the moose is often not the only victim.

So here is the big question, would I eat road kill, my best answer is if it was freshly killed, expertly cleaned and cooked, yes. I do not posses the skills myself to do this but do feel that one of the best ways to honour that which we kill by our driving is to give thanks and consume it.

I was a vegetarian for about 16 years and have only recently returned to eating meat. My prime concern with meat eat when I first became a vegetarian was similar to may other vegetarians that I have know, the cruelty that is involved in keeping and butchering the animals we eat.

Road kill changes that, well the death may not be pleasant but the animal is free right up until it is killed.

Now collecting road kill is a not something you are readily going to do using your car, at least not on well traveled roads, you are better to bike so you can stop and examine the prospective food without having to pull a car over. You can think of this as an extreme food foraging activity.

If road kill is to be added to the menu in restaurants, well the first step is a strong media relations and public education campaign and likely a better name. It will need to be branded more in the wild food image than as something your car hit on the way to the cottage. It will also need to be professionally inspected and another level of bureaucracy created. I can see the cost rising.

Road kill is perhaps best left to those who can appreciate that there is a meal just laying there waiting for you to come along and turn it into dinner.

The following recipe is courtesy of Roadkill Quarterly:


Needed are:

  • One 25 to 30 lb beaver (save the tail for beaver-tail soup)
  • Two cups flour
  • One cup bacon drippings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 or 4 bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 medium onions, chopped.

First, scoop up a beaver. Skin it and take it the skin your local trading post. It's as good as cash. After skinning the beaver, remove all fat. Cut into serving size pieces. Soak in salted water overnight. Rinse meat well in cold water and drain. Roll meat in flour. Brown in skillet with bacon drippings and season with salt and pepper. Place in roaster alternately with bay leaves and onions. Add a small amount of water to remaining drippings in skillet and pour over meat. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 and one half hours or until tender. Uncover and brown 15 minutes before serving. Goes great with a California Merlot.

This actually sound tasty and I do believe if I was invited to sit down to dinner I would say yes, how about you?

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Comments 38 comments

funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

I didn´t know what to think when I first start to read this hub but know I can say that unfortunately I could have made a big meal if I had read this hub about 10 years ago.

In my driving life I have inadvertently killed several animals mostly birds but one time I was driving my Yamaha Virago motorcycle and the fog didn´t let me see much more than the road lines. Several little animals and a bigger one jump from nowhere to the middle of the road. I tried to avoid them but because of the low visibility I end up passing over the big one and saw myself jumping in the air and landing a couple of meters ahead. I stopped and when I look behind I heard what seemed like little pigs but I was still very scared after the jump.

The next day I was told that someone found several little wild boar wondering around the village near the place where the "crime" was committed.

About 4 years ago I was driving my Honda somewhere in the middle of France when a antelope jumped in front of the car. Fortunately I was able to avoid hitting the animal because I hadn´t any more room to put him into the car :D

I hope I will never roadkill again but if I do I´ll probably prepare it myself ;-)

ps: sorry for this long comment but I was carried away by my memories.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for sharing the memory; wild boar on a spit or antelope stew sounds intriguing.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

The funny thing is that, if someone hits a cow, it's not even a stretch to imagine that the meat will still be used (at the very least for pet food), but when people think about anything else they get all squeamish. I understand that moose in particular is treated in this way in Alaska to the point where there's almost a built in system in place to report the animal's having been struck and commence the recovery and "harvesting" if you will.

Another awesome hub, Bob. You have a fantastic niche here on HP and you fill it well. /salute.

jim10 profile image

jim10 8 years ago from ma

I went to The Roadkill Cafe about 6 years ago. I'm not sure if they are still around. The food was great and they gave the impression it was roadkill with all of the cool names of the different dishes. But, since it was a chain restaurant I'm guess it wasn't really roadkill. Part of the themes was that they are really rude to their customers and would squirt people with squirt guns if they got out of their chair. It was fun but you had to be prepared for the atmosphere. I agree we shouldn't waste food. But, you also need to make sure you don't end up roadkill trying to get it out of the road.

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I had a t-shirt from the Road Kill Cafe, which unfortunately due to the fact that I got fat eating road kill, I can no longer put on! LOL!!!

Actually, in our reenactments often times someone will bring road kill for the stew. Only once did we forbid it, when the guy told us he had driven about 10 hours in the hot summer with this thing left in the back seat of his car.

When he opened the door the flies came out think and heavy, so we decided it was better not to use the dead thing (we could not identify it, and neither could he) that he wanted to offer up for our primitive feast.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks SB, I can see moose and bear requiring a pick up an distribution system but not squrriels or smaller animals.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Roadkill cafe and CJ roadkill should keep you lean and mean, :-). proper storage is wise.

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

I know - I was just kidding! Actually I once had a deer handed to me after another driver hit it and didn't want it. In Illinois you just need to inform the proper authorities and they let you keep it. I brain-tanned the hide and made a lot of venison sausages, which I absolutely love! I made some "Anglo-saxon" runes of the knuckles and sold them. You can use just about everything on road kill if you have a mind to!

And for my vegetarian friends - Remember - even dolphins are meat-eaters!

bill yon profile image

bill yon 8 years ago from sourcewall

my uncle and his friends came home one day with dear meat[this was about 20 years a go]they prepared a meal for the family and we devoured it.they had this wild story about how they hunted down the deer.come to find out they hit the deer on the way home from a fishing trip.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I know CJ, the fact that all the parts can be used and no watse is involved is another plus for road kill.

Thanks for the story bill and for stopping by.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

We don't generally have exotic sounding roadkill in the UK, generally it's just the odd bunny, pheasant or badger. Very rarely in the forests, you might hit a deer, but I did hear of a colleague of my husbands who hit a sheep once, and butchered it in the back of his work van. Nice hub Bob, and as a vegetarian myself, I can see the justification for eating road kill.

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Mighty Hunter 8 years ago

I generally like my roadkill prepared with jacklope stew leftovers. It is very tasty you know.

Marian Swift profile image

Marian Swift 8 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

I don't think roadkill will every be a regular feature on my dining table, especially since the available stock is generally waaayyy past it's "sell by" date.

But retrieving and using fresh kills somehow does seem more respectful than leaving them out on the (unnatural) asphalt for further squashing.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Badger Burgers are a catchy menu item, squrriel would go well with jackalope. Thanks for visting.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Roadkill eaters need to pay careful attention to best before or sell by dates. :) thanks for the comment.

Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 8 years ago from Australia

Bob, where I live marsupial road kill is an everyday thing. Although the lsmaller ones don't often damage your car, and are probably not much more than a mouthful, there can be so many strewn along the road I often wonder how their species survive. But I can see the logic in eating it fresh! Thanks for an interesting hub.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

If the timing is right, this is about as fresh as it get unless you raise your own. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Georgiakevin profile image

Georgiakevin 8 years ago from Central Georgia

You have sold me! Now I am really on the outlook for road kills except of course possums and armadillos

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

No possum stew? Thanks for coming by.

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SirDent 8 years ago

Now Bob, everyone knows possum is best baked with sweet potatoes. It is an awesome dish. ;)

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I do love sweet potatoes.

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SirDent 8 years ago

Ground hog, or whistle pig as we call them, is best baked with a dry BBQ rub. Bake some potatoes with it and it is a delicious and very satisfying meal.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Road kill and BBQ what an ideal combination.

budwood profile image

budwood 8 years ago from Southern Nevada

When in a shoe store, awhile back, I saw a pair of shoes that were just right.  I commented to the sales lady that I would buy them except that the tops were 100% leather.  I explained that I was opposed to the organized killing of animals merely to make shoes for humans.

Not to be concerned.  The sales lady explained that their shoe factory was in the north woods and road kill on nearby highways provided the shoe factory with more than enough materials to use in making 100% leather uppers.  With that assurance, I was compelled to purchase the shoes (and at a very good price, I might add).

I was sorry to hear that the shoe factory went bust, possibly because of an decline of auto traffic.  As you know, gasoline prices have really increased. However, the factory management implemented a great idea during the times that their supply was maintained.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

A few years back when my Godmother came for a visit to Canada from Hungary she made my dad stop at the side of the road so she could snip off the tail off fresh squirrels... My Dad humored his sister just because she was the elder. When we got home my aunt got right to work and thought me how to make the best paintbrushes ever... I can honestly say that those were the best watercolor brushes I've ever used.

Just another angle to roadkill. I just loved the hub. regards Zsuzsy

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Leather from road kill, now that is an idea i like. Squirrels' tails for paint brushes great idea, helps use up the squirrel. Thank you both for the input and added info.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

A good friend of mine lives on the border of a major urban park, which in recent years has become over-populated with deer.  My friend is the "go-to" person for the park police when a deer is hit by a car, which happens often.  My friend will put the deer out of its misery if it is alive, take it home, and butcher it.  If the deer is not alive, but still warm, he will take that deer as well.  No chances taken there with "sell-by" dates. The meat goes to families who need it.

Although witnessing roadkill is never a happy event, I am glad to say that in this major urban area, big game roadkill is available, and it is responsibly used.  And that is a good thing.

Interestingly, a mutual friend who is a vegetarian is always happy to get fresh meat from our friend, for the reasons you mentioned.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks, Sally, this is a responsible way to handle the situation.

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dafla 8 years ago

Never eaten roadkill that I know of, but I've eaten wild boar (tough), squirrel, pigeon, deer, and snake. Have no idea how they were killed, but they didn't taste too bad. I turned down possum and raccoon.

Being a country girl, raised by a country girl and farm boy, I've eaten lots of stuff nobody would believe.

Have you ever hate chitterlings? Not bad tasting if you can get past the smell.

Thanks for the WildRoots link. :)

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Wildroots looks inviting, never had chitterlings. I have eaten deer and bear but not for sometime.

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Love moose and bear, the few time I've had venison, it was quite gamey tasting. Goat's good.

I hate the idea of eating roadkill because, well - it's roadkill! Really like that it doesn't go to waste, though I guess nothing in nature does. Very practical...and fits nicely in your series of extreme food foraging.

Bob, congrats on an eye-catching yet ewwwwww! title. Couldn't help but come and see what you'd done. Great hub!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks Shirley, even the word roadkill is less than mouthwatering but desrciptive.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Where did you ever learn your wild and gamey culinary skills? Funny hub!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

On the highways and in the bush of NW Ontario. thanks,

C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

This is a great article Bob! I have quite a few roadkill stories but never thought about writing an article on it. I like it because so many are not aware of the waste that could be utilized, always thinking about how to recycle here. Glad you shared your knowledge for everyone. Thanks. C.S.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks C.S. I agree people do not give waste much thought beyond the basic recyclables and even then, too few pay attention.

hatchet 8 years ago

wildroots is a great place to live and learn.. possum and raccoon are great if boiled for nearly an hour then either made into stew or thrown on a grill over an open fire..

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for stopping by.

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