GROUNDHOG DAY: Facts & Recipes

One of America's favorite comedies is Harold Ramis' Groundhog Day. Starring Bill Murray and Andy MacDonald, the film is a cult classic. To celebrate the movie and the day, the Frugal Yankee has put together some tidbits of information and below that some recipes for groundhog. We hope you enjoy it. Phil Connors has approved this page.

GROUNDHOG FACTOIDS

The groundhog (marmota monax) is the largest member of the squirrel family.

The groundhog is also known as a woodchuck or a whistlepig.

The groundhog is the only animal with its own national holiday, and in two counties to boot. (US & Canada).

The groundhog's fur is in two layers. One to keep water out and one to keep warmth in.

Groundhogs have excellent eyesight, can climb trees and can swim. They are not known as party animals.

Groundhogs natural enemies are fox, coyotes and hawks.

Groundhogs live around 5 years. During their winter hibernation, they snooze for 5 months.

Punxsutawney Phil has one of the best jobs in the world. 364 days of the year he lolls about in the Punxsutawney Library. Then one day, Feb. 2, he struts his stuff.

The first Groundhog’s Day was celebrated in 1886.

The Harold Ramis/Bill Murray film has popularized the day, the town and the rodent.

Ned Ryerson has a MySpace page. BING!

EATING GROUNDHOG

Like most wild animals, the rules for eating game applies to groundhogs - drain the blood, removed the entrails and wipe the body cavity as clean as you can. Although there is some debate among backwoodsmen, hanging the meat for 48 hours is recommended. It is at that time they are ready to the skinned and cooked.

If caught just before winter hibernation, there is usually an insulating fat layer under the skin. Remove the excess fat. Also be sure to remove the 7 to 9 "kernels" (scent glands) in the small of the back and under the forearms. They are distinctive and easy to find.

Although it does not require soaking, many game cooks prefer an overnight soaking in salt water to tenderize it.

If the animal appears to be older, parboiling will soften it up.

The meat is dark. It is not as ‘gamy’ as some animals. When properly prepared it has a mild flavor and can be quite tender.

As a rule of thumb, any recipe calling for rabbit or chicken can be used for cooking groundhog.

The following are a bunch of groundhog recipes we found. We cannot attest to their respective epicurean level of excellence, but if you’re eating groundhog, we doubt you’re looking for a four star recipe or a wait person named Nigel.

Oh, one last word, if you are planning on hunting this big game animal yourself, we suggest you use a .22 caliper rifle. Shotguns may be easier, but they make for unpleasant roughage when eating. Also aim for the head.

FRICASSEED GROUNDHOG

This is an very simple recipe,
well suited for camping and can be used for any number of game animals.
Remove all the fat from the cleaned game.
Cut into bite sized pieces.
Rub with salt & pepper. Roll in flour.
Cook in hot fat until brown.
Add two cups of water, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until tender.

TRAILER PARK GROUNDHOG

This recipe is more ironic than the others. Take it for what it is worth. Sorry we can’t remember where we found this recipe, but it was when we were looking for a bad meatloaf recipe while drinking Bear Whiz Beer.

Take your small gun (again, .22 caliber is best). Remember to put the bullets in.
Hunt & find the groundhog. They have good eyesight, so be sneaky. Aim for the head. We’re assuming the groundhog’s head, not your own.
Skin groundhog and gut him. Clean out carcass with garden hose.
Cut critter into quarters.
Make up a big batch of your favorite marinade (be sure it has oil & vinegar to help tenderize the critter).
Throw marinade and critter pieces into plastic trash bag and marinade around 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Take out marinated critter pieces and throw on the grill on low heat. Cook until rare to medium rare. Do not overcook, critter will dry out.
No one likes their critter dry, except for your well soused uncle.

GROUNDHOG PATTIES

After cleaning and cutting. Remove meat from bones and grind. Add bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, egg, and fat; mix thoroughly. Form into patties; dip into egg; then dip in bread crumbs. Fry in hot fat until brown. Cover with currant jelly sauce and place in slow oven for 1 hour.

GROUNDHOG STEW

1 dead goundhog (live ones don’t like being cooked)
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, Flour, Vinegar and water 
salt and pepper, cloves.
Clean groundhog; remove glands; cut into serving pieces.
Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt.
Drain, wash, and wipe.
Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water.
Add one sliced onion, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour.

GROUNDHOG IN SOUR CREAM

1 Groundhog, skinned & cleaned
1/2c Vinegar
1t Salt
2qt Water
2t Soda
1/2c Flour
1t Salt
1/2t Allspice
1/2c Bacon fat
3 Wild onions
1/2c Water
1c Sour cream

Skin and clean the groundhog. Wash and dry and put in an earthen
crock. Cover with water and a half cup of vinegar and 1 T. of salt.
Let stand in a cool place overnight. In the morning, remove from
brine, wash and pat dry with a damp cloth. In a large soup kettle
combine 2 qt. of water and 2 T. of soda. Bring to a boil, lower the
heat and simmer for 15 minutes, removing the scum as it rises to the
surface. Drain and rinse the groundhog meat and cut into serving
pieces. Combinethe flour, salt and allspice and dredge the pieces of
meat in the mixture. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the bacon
fat in a heavy iron frying pan until smoking. jBrown meat on all
sides. Transfer the browned meat into a greased 4 qt. casserole.
Arrange sliced onions on top, add water, cover and bake in a
preheated oven for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Transfer the
meat to a heated platter to keep warm. Put the casserole on top of
the stove over medium heat and spoon in the sour cream stirring
constantly. Do not let the sauce come to a boil. Put the meat back
into the casserole and simmer for about 15 minutes. Delicious served
with creamed dandelion leaves.

Recipe By: "Indian Cookin'", compiled by Herb Walker, 1977

GROUNDHOG MEAT PATTIES WITH TOMATO SAUCE


1 groundhog 
1 cup bread crumbs 
1/4 cup ground onion 
1 tsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. pepper 
2 eggs 
3 tbsp. fat 
1 cup catsup 
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Clean woodchuck; remove meat from bones and grind. Add 1/2 cup crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, 1 beaten egg, and 1 tbsp. melted fat. Mix thoroughly. Shape into patties and dip into 1 beaten egg, then into 1/2 cup crumbs. Fry until brown in 2 tbsp hot fat. Add catsup and Worcestershire sauce and bake in a slow oven (325 degrees F.) for 1 hour. Makes 8-9 patties.

GROUNDHOG PIE


1 groundhog, skinned and cleaned 
1/4 cup onion 
1/4 cup green pepper 
1/2 tbsp minced parsley 
1 tbsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. pepper 
4 1/2 tbsp. flour 
3 cups broth
Biscuits: 
1 cup flour 
2 tbsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. salt 
2 tbsp. fat 
1/4 cup milk
Cut woodchuck into 2 or 3 pieces. Parboil for 1 hour. Remove meat from bones in large pieces. Add onion, green pepper, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour to the broth and srit until it thickens. If the broth does not measure 3 cups, add water. Add the meat to the broth mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour into baking dish.
For biscuits: sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in the fat and add the liquid. Stir until the dry ingredients are moist. Roll only enough to make it fit the dish. Place dough on top of meat, put in a hot oven (400 degrees F.) and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until dough is browned. Serves 6-8.

COUNTRY-STYLE GROUNDHOG

1 groundhog
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 tsp. sugar

Clean and skin as soon as possible. Remove all sent glands. Cut off head, feet and tail.
Cure in cool place by suspending from hook approximately 4 days.
Dress groundhog as you would a rabbit, removing the small sacs in the back and under the forearm. Soak groundhog overnight in salted water to remove wild flavor.
Combine flour, salt and pepper; rub into groundhog pieces.
Brown groundhog in hot oil in skillet; sprinkle with sugar.
Reduce heat and add 1/2 cup water.
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender.
Remove cover and cook for 10 minutes longer.

GROUNDHOG AND SWEET POTATOES

1 Groundhog
Cold water
Salt
Pepper
Sweet potatoes or white potatoes
Cornbread

The animal should be dressed as soon as possible and well soaked for several hours in cold, salty water. All excess fat may be trimmed off after the meat is cold. Parboil to remove and remaining fat and drain well. Place in a moderate oven and pack sweet potatoes or even white
potatoes all around. Salt and pepper the meat and bake unti brown. Be sure the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Serve with cornbread and use the heavy gravy that forms during baking.
Submitted by: TrophyHunter

ORIENTAL GROUNDHOG

1 Groundhog
2 qts Water
1/4c Salt
1/2c Soy sauce
2 whole Garlic cloves
1 jalpeno pepper
1/4 Onion
2T Chili powder
1/4 bunch Parsley
4 Beef bouillon cubes
1/4t Freshly-ground pepper
1 cup Beef or chicken broth
Teriyaki glaze

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut meat into serving pieces.
Soak in 1 quart water and salt for 3 hours.
Transfer meat to 1 quart clear water and soak 4 hours.
Drain and dry meat. Place meat in a baking pan.
Add beef broth, soy sauce, garlic cloves, jalapeno, onion, chili powder,
parsley, bouillon cubes and white pepper.
Cover and bake at 350º for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Baste frequently. Brush with teriyaki glaze while cooking.

Recipe By: Hunters Information Service

If you have any suggestions, recipes or just like to comment, please do so.

Read our blog on GROUNDHOG DAY

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