Smoked squirrel and dumplings

When it’s just too warm to sit in a shooting house in December, Johnny McKinion of Pelahatchie likes to stalk the shadowy creek bottoms and find the makings for a pot of squirrel and dumplings.

Everybody has a favorite dumpling recipe, but try this take for a tasty, smoky flavor.

Take four squirrels (or more, and I like to use the older, bigger ones that aren’t as tender), cleaned and whole, and place on a smoker at a low, slow temperature — about 225 degrees.

Use a lighter wood, like apple or cherry, since hickory or mesquite is a bit heavy, to add to the coals. Smoke for about two or three hours.

Remove from grill and either refrigerate a day or two or cook immediately, depending on your needs.

To cook the stock, place the smoked squirrels in a big pot of water, making sure to cover. Add a quartered onion, the leafy tops of some celery stalks and a few cloves of garlic. Bring to a rolling boil, and immediately lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer for a few hours.

Strain and reserve the stock. Toss the vegetables. Debone the squirrel leaving in as big of pieces as possible and save.

Return your stock to the pot, and heat to a boil. Then prepare your dumplings as you normally would and add to the pot.

If you make homemade dumplings from scratch, the extra flour you shake off each dumpling will help thicken the stock. If you use store-bought frozen dumplings or flour tortillas (don’t laugh — they work great), consider adding a can of either cream of chicken or cream of celery soup for a thicker stock.

Salt and pepper to taste, and add any other seasonings you like.

About five minutes before serving, add the squirrel meat. Lightly stir in the meat, trying not to break it apart.

Serve in big bowls with a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce on the side.

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Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1278 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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