Turtle meat has a distinctive flavor and taste nothing like chicken. Snapping turtle was one of my favorites meats growing up, and still is today. Growing up in rural Missouri, we had no shortage of fish, turtle meat or wild game meat. If you wanted it, you didn’t have to look far. Most neighbors and friends will give you plenty of meat on days when they have a big catch and don’t feel like cleaning the catch. I’ve eaten turtle soup, turtle stew and I’ve even tried turtle burgers.
The burgers wasn’t that great on the grill, but they might be okay if you grind the turtle meat with some beef and make a meatloaf or chili. I prefer deep-fried turtle over any other snapping turtle recipe. To fry turtle you must parboil it first. My mom would remove the shell after boiling the turtle first or after leaving it in boiling hot water for a while. This loosens up the skin and meat connected to the shell and makes it easier to remove the turtle meat.
It’s really simple to cook and only requires boiling to make it more tender and dredging in seasoned flour, once it’s cooled. Fry it up like you would chicken, alligator or pork chops. Deep fried turtle legs and the tail is the best part. It has a subtle and mild gamey flavor. The legs and tail is very tender and is a rich fatty dark meat that melts in your mouth. The other dark meat parts taste sort of like alligator nuggets. The neck is the most popular part of the turtle that’s used in recipes all around the world. It’s great in soups and Cajun cooking recipes like sauce piquant. Turtle neck meat has a rich beefy white meat texture.
Where to get turtle meat?
I’m not sure if it’s illegal to sale in all parts of the United States, but just go fishing in a pond or lake with worms or chicken livers. That’s how we used to catch them. They’ll bite on chicken livers faster than a channel cat. They’ll also steal your fish off the stringer and break your line. The common snapping turtle can weigh as much as 15 lbs., and is very difficult to bring in, if you don’t have the right rod and reel. It’s hard getting them out of the fishing net once they’re claws get tangled and they start trying to get loose.
Be careful, they can bite and ruin a perfectly good fishing net. Overall, turtle meat has a taste that just about anyone can enjoy. I’ve never met anyone who tried it and didn’t like it. Rumor has it that turtles have 7 different meats, but I’m not sure about that. Prepared and cooked properly, it’s very delicious.