Our ancestors have been eating and cooking snake in the wild for thousands of years. Early humans as far back as the Denisovans fished and hunted in the wild and ate snakes and other wild meats over a campfire.
I have eaten fried, baked and grilled snake. Although it’s not my favorite of all the wild meats, I have to say, it’s not as bad as one would think. Just like any game meat, it’s all in the preparation.
What does snake taste like
The first question I get asked when having a conversation about eating snake is, what does snake taste like. Most people cringe when you ask them have they ever eaten snake. I jokingly tell them it taste like chicken.
In all reality, it taste like what they eat. Snakes that eat bugs and insects taste like grasshoppers and crickets and water snakes taste more like fish.
What’s the best snakes to eat
For me, the snake with the best flavor would hands down be the rattlesnake. It has a very gamey flavor like that of wild alligator meat and is easily prepared and cooked. A freshly cooked rattlesnake in the wild over a campfire is about as wild as it gets.
Cook the rattlesnake cowboy style over an opened flame with some beans, cast iron cornbread and foraged greens and roots. I also have eaten and cooked Diamond-back snakes. They have a less gamey flavor and are absolutely tasty when cooked and grilled in the wild over an open flame.
I’m not so big on eating common snakes like garters and rat snakes. I’m also not too keen on the flavor of Copperheads. They are better baked in the oven after marinated for a full day. Water moccasins are by far the worst snakes to eat.
They taste very bad and it’s an awful flavor you’ll never forget. There’s not enough seasonings and herbs in the world to make water moccasins edible. In a survival situation, you have to do what you have to do and I wouldn’t think twice of eating it for the protein.
What snakes can you eat
All snakes can be eaten for the most part, but you have to be careful when preparing venomous snakes. Dangerous and poisonous snakes like the rattlesnake have to be handled by someone who has experience in hunting and gathering snakes.
The venom is in the fangs and head. Caution has to be taken when removing and disposing the head. When preparing rattlesnake or any venomous snake, you should always bury the head.
How to cook snake in the wild
The very first step is catching the snake. Unless you’re a seasoned hunter and gatherer of dangerous reptiles, you should never try to capture a snake by hand. Again, the best snake to eat is rattlesnake. My favorite way to cook it is to grill on a stick or skewer like kabobs and over a hot open-flame.
How to prepare a snake for cooking
1. Gut the snake by removing the head and entrails
2. Remove the skin
3. Cut the snake into chunks or medallions
Best ways to cook snake in the wild
Grilled – Put the snake pieces on a green stick or skewer and grill over a hot campfire.
Deep Fried – You can dredge the snake pieces in seasoned flour or cornmeal and deep fry until golden brown. Only takes a few minutes.
Sauteed or pan fried – They can be cooked in a hot skillet with butter, onion and garlic. When sauteing, it’s better to marinade the snake so it won’t be so chewy and tough.
Boiled or braised – Rattlesnake is also delicious when simmered or braised in a broth with potatoes, onions and carrots.
Eating and cooking a snake in the wild isn’t for everyone. If you like fried alligator, I’m sure you’ll like deep-fried rattlesnake.