In short, yes, you can eat beaver. But before you start munching, you need to think about local regulations and safety.
No, you won’t find beaver meat at your local deli. So, hunting your own or being close friends with a beaver trapper are your best bets.
Of course, beaver trapping or hunting will depend on your local regulations.
Once you ensure that you’re legally able to harvest beaver and you get your first one, you’re in for a treat.
Beaver meat has been prized for its delicious taste and it’s high protein content.
If you’re also looking for a good source of fat, you won’t be disappointed. While beaver meat can be quite lean, the beaver tail is basically all fat.
Beaver tail fat can be consumed or used for adding fat to the leaner muscle portions of the dish.
Beaver Habitat And Distribution
Beavers are native to North America. They can be found from Northern Mexico all the way up to Canada. Beavers have been exported out of North America. They have been introduced in Europe as well as South America.
Beavers mainly eat plants. They’re herbivores that live mainly near rivers. These areas are referred to as riparian zones.
Beavers seek out rivers and creeks so they can build dams. The dams that beavers build are mainly for shelter and safety.
They’re made from logs that beavers cut down. They then pack them together into a structure with mud.
So, beavers need a good supply of trees near their intended lodge build site. These trees will provide the needed construction materials for the dam. And they will also act as a source of food in many cases.
Beaver dams are also called lodges. They’re partially underwater and partially above water. Beavers get inside of the lodge by swimming under the edge of the lodge and then up into the dry area. The dry area inside the lodge provides an ideal space to get away from predators and inclement weather.
Here a male and female beaver will raise a family.
A beaver couple may live together for over 10 years and raise several broods together.
These broods can take up to 2 years to mature and leave the lodge.
As a side effect of a beaver’s work building a dam, wetlands extend away from the dam. These wetlands will create new environments for creatures and fish to thrive in.
What Do Beavers Eat?
Beaver are vegetarians. They will eat almost anything they can find growing in their habitat.
Some think that beavers are strict vegetarians but this is not the case.
There is ample video evidence of beavers eating dead fish. This is likely a scavenging scenario as hunting fish would be difficult for a lone beaver.
Incidents of beavers eating fish are most likely rare and beavers get the vast majority of their calories from plant material.
Beavers love to eat the inner bark of a tree. They will also dine on buds, grasses, shoots, mushrooms and roots.
Beaver teeth are constantly growing so they need to use them and put wear on them. The work they put in cutting trees down for a lodge as well as eating parts of them helps prevent their teeth from becoming overgrown.
Is It Safe To Eat Beaver?
Yes, it’s safe to eat beaver. However, you will want to be aware of the environment from which you harvest a beaver.
There are potential contaminants that can taint the beaver meat. This can be cause by exposure to pollution in the form of industrial heavy metals.
Some areas can have high levels of these contaminants and they can affect the beaver population.
Once you’ve safely acquired your beaver, you’ll need to make sure that you cook it to a safe temperature. For beaver, that would be at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once cooked, you’ll notice that beaver muscle is very lean and can be dry. So, you may want to use a recipe that works well with lean meats.
If you’re looking for some fat. The beaver’s tail is pretty much all fat. You can eat it, but beware, that if you eat too much, it could have the same effect that eating other overly rich, fatty foods could have.
If you have a whole beaver and you don’t know how to prepare it, I recommend you learnt he right way to do it.
An important note when skinning a beaver is that beavers have two glands called castor glands. They’re located on either side of the vent.
They release a liquid with a perfume-like smell. You don’t want to accidentally get any of this liquid on your meat.
Interestingly, these glands are in demand by the perfume industry. So, you may be able to sell them if it’s legal to do so in your area.
As with most game, you’ll have two front quarters, two hind quarters and the body.
On the body, you’ll find the backstraps. These are the beaver loins and like with most animals, they can be very tender and delicious.
The four quarters are similar, but many prefer the hind quarters to the front.
Either way, these will be the main sources of meat. It will be quite lean, but you can help moisten the dish by cooking it properly.
Note: If you’re looking for a video on skinning a beaver, check out this one:
What Does Beaver Meat Taste Like?
As we mentioned earlier, beaver meat is pretty lean. As a result, it can be dry, tough and chewy.
But there are ways to help prevent this. Soaking the meat in buttermilk is one way. Simply leave the meat in a bowl of buttermilk for a while before cooking. This will help tenderize the meat a bit.
Beaver flavor is considered pleasant by most who try it.It compares favorably to grass fed beef.
Yes, it is possible to find a beaver that is fatter than normal. This could depend on when it was killed. For example, eating a beaver that was killed at the end of summer, could give you meat that has some more fat to it. On the other hand, an early spring beaver might be extremely lean.
So, I’d recommend opting for a late summer of fall beaver.
What Does Beaver Tail Taste Like?
Beaver tails are a different story. A beaver tail is a big slab of fat. Now this may not seem like a big deal nowadays. But in times when fat was scarce, it was a prize to be sought after.
If you bake the beaver tail with the skin on, you’ll need to remove it before consumption. Under the skin, there is a membrane that also should be removed.
As for the flavor, most will say that beavertail fat does not have a strong flavor.
The fat may be able to be rendered for cooking purposes, but I have never tried this.
Is Beaver Meat Nutritious?
Beaver meat is very nutritious. It’s a great source of essential nutrients like protein, fats and minerals.
Normally, fatty food are not considered healthy, but the fats in wild caught beaver are beneficial.
The fat content however, can vary depending on the time of year.
An average beaver will yield
- 109 grams of protein
- 22 grams of fat
- 663 calories
Beaver Meat Recipe
This is a recipe for beaver meat. If you’re looking for a recipe for the tail, scroll to the next section.
As for the meat, here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Pan with cover.
- Cooking oil.
- beaver hind quarters and backstrap
- 1/2 Cup of flour.
- 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
- 1 teaspoon onion powder.
- 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper.
- 1 teaspoon paprika or cayenne pepper for a kick.
- 3/4 Cup of milk or egg bath.
Place the pieces of beaver in milk or egg bath and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, place the flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and paprika in a resealable bag. Shake the ingredients to mix them together.
Put about a half inch of oil in the pan and set it on medium heat with the cover on.
Put the beaver meat in the resealable bag. Shake it to make sure it gets coated with the flour and spice mix.
When you’re ready start cooking the beaver, make sure to be careful. When you place the meat it the hot oil there may be some popping. This can cause drops of oil to fly towards you.
Cook the beaver on each side for about 5 minutes.
Make sure to keep the pan covered while the beaver cooks.
You want the meat to get to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for it to be safely cooked through.
When the beaver is done, you can put it on a plate with paper towels. The paper towels will help soak up any excess oil.
Enjoy your beaver meat. It goes great with many standard accompaniments.
Potatoes are always a good choice for a side dish.
How To Cook A Beaver Tail
Beaver tail is very different from beaver meat. .
One popular way to cook a beaver tail is to grill it.
When you put a beavertail on a grill, the outside skin will harden. This will make it easier to remove the skin once the tail is done cooking.
Like all other animal products, you want to make sure it’s cooked to a safe temperature.
Once the beaver tail is cooked, you can take the skin off and the membrane under the skin off too.
You can then slice the tail and give it a shot. Most people who try beavertail say that it’s pretty much tasteless fat.
A better use for beaver tail may be to just try and render it and using it to cook the meat itself.
Beaver is definitely good to eat. It’s flavor is comparable to that of grass fed beef.
This is understandable since beavers feed on a vegetarian diet of wild plants.
Getting beaver meat may be difficult. You need to follow regulations and licensing guidelines. Then, you need to actually find one. Finding one and catching it might be the hardest part of the whole mission.