A Recipe For Buffalo Squirrel Legs

It’s finally here, I’ve been waiting all year for it to arrive and it is finally here. The fall hunting season is upon us. Starting this Saturday (today) the small game and archery seasons will begin here in Minnesota. That means for many of you squirrel, rabbits and grouse will be on the menu by the end of the weekend.

Sadly I will not be out hunting squirrels on the opener because I will be in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with my brother bow hunting for deer. I’m only sad because I look forward to that first meal of squirrel every year. They are in my opinion some of the best tasting meat out there.

If squirrels were the size of deer I’d be in heaven and they would probably be all I ever hunted. What I love most about squirrel is that the meat itself has a sweet almost nutty flavor and the texture of the meat lends itself to so many different styles of cooking.

Proper Game Management

Field dressed Squirrel

Field dressed squirrel.

Whenever I shoot squirrels I always make sure I have a knife and a game shears with me when I’m out hunting. I also carry a backpack with gallon freezer bags and a couple of ice packs with me. That way when I shoot a squirrel I can clean it right away and get it on ice. I don’t treat my small game any different than big game. The sooner you can clean it and get it cold the better it will taste.

Then when I get home I will give them a good soak in lightly salted water over night before breaking them down and freezing them or eating them. When I say breaking them down, I’m referring to removing the back legs. The hind legs of a squirrel hold a lot of meat and I like to save them up to make little squirrel drumsticks. The rest of the body will get packaged separately for making soups and stews. When you boil the rest of the squirrel you can then pick all the meat off the bones and use that meat for other recipes, hot and sour squirrel soup, squirrel and dumplings just to name a couple of my favorites.

I had a package of squirrel legs left over from last year and wanted to make Buffalo style squirrel legs so this last weekend I did just that. Hopefully your squirrel opener is a productive one and you’ll be able to make a batch of these by the end of the weekend.

Seasoned squirrel meat

Seasoned squirrel with Montana Mex seasoning.

Recipe: Buffalo Squirrel Legs

10-12 squirrel legs

2 tsps. Montana mex chili salt

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup flour

Season the squirrel legs with one teaspoon of the chili salt then pour the buttermilk over the legs and refrigerate for an hour or two. Add the remaining chili salt to the flour and stir to combine. When you are ready to fry your legs, place a heavy pan over medium high heat with your oil of choice. I used canola oil. Heat the oil to 325 degrees. Drain the buttermilk from the squirrel legs and then dredge the legs in the flour. After they are fully coated lay them out on a paper towel for a few minutes to let the breading set. Fry the legs in the oil for 3-5 minutes. The time will very base on the size of you squirrel legs. When all the legs are cooked set them aside until you are ready with the sauce.


For the sauce

1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce, I use crystal

2 tablespoons maple sugar, (brown sugar will work if you don’t have Maple sugar)

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter


Pour the hot sauce in a medium sized pan and heat over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring the hot sauce to a boil and remove it from the heat, whisk in the cold butter 1 tablespoon at a time.

Toss the legs and the sauce together and serve with your favorite dipping side and some celery.

Posted by Jamie Carlson