How to cook turtle meat | Bleader

How to cook turtle meat

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While researching last week's Key Ingredient—turtle meat, which Edward Kim of Ruxbin took on—I came across an article on how to trap turtles and cook their meat. It's from the book Camp Cooking: A Practical Handbook, by Fred Bouwman, which seems to be aimed at those who spend months in the field—I don't know a lot of weekend campers who need to know how to butcher their own meat or bake bread outdoors.

The instructions for how to catch and prepare turtle, at least, are not for the faint of heart. Bouwman advises caution around snapping turtles, prized for their size: "They are very aggressive and can move much more quickly than you would expect a turtle to move, coming almost off the ground when they strike." He then moves on to the kill:

Start preparing your turtle dinner by encouraging him to bite a stick. Then while holding the stick away from the body to stretch the neck, have a companion with a good eye and stout arm lop off the head with a hatchet. Hang the turtle by the tail to bleed it.

Relatedly (sort of), a coworker pointed out that in the Leonard Cohen song "Jazz Police," "turtle meat figures prominently, if incomprehensibly." I find the entire song fairly incomprehensible, but I can at least conclude that Cohen favors the campfire method of cooking turtle: "Stick another turtle on the fire / Guys like me are mad for turtle meat." He doesn't get into his preferred methods for slaughtering the turtle, though.

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