Introduction: How to Cook a Snake

Picture of How to Cook a Snake

Roadkill. It's what's for dinner when the apocalypse comes.

Learn how to cook snake, and you'll be ready for almost anything.

A companion piece to How to Skin and Clean a Dead Snake.

1 snake
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 c egg whites (I used the pre-packaged eggwhites to avoid wasting yolks)
splash black pepper
1/2" oil (depends on pan size)

Step 1: Acquire Fresh Snake

Picture of Acquire Fresh Snake

This is probably going to be the hard part.

Snakes do a fine job keeping the world free of unnecessary rodents; don't kill them unless absolutely necessary! That said, if you do kill a snake, or find one dead, don't let it go to waste.

The snake in this Instructable was run over by a car; Eric found it a couple minutes later, its heart still beating, in the process of expiring by the side of the road. Since we knew both time and cause1 of death, and refrigerated the carcass promptly, it was safe to eat.

A bit of internet research identified it as a probable Black Rat Snake, a non-poisonous Indiana resident.

1 Note that snakes can also die from eating poisoned rodents. You dont want to eat a snake dosed up with warfarin or other toxin2. Pay attention to context.

2 It's apparently fine to cook and eat poisonous snakes- cooking is sufficient to inactivate any venomous residue.

Step 2: Skin and Clean Snake

Picture of Skin and Clean Snake

Cut off the head, strip off the skin, and remove the guts as described in this Instructable.

Rinse the carcass, and wipe down with a clean paper towel, then cut the body in to manageable lengths with a sharp knife or pair of poultry shears.

Step 3: Dredge

Picture of Dredge

We're going to treat the snake much like you would a small lake fish, though you can also treat it like chicken. This is my favorite way to cook bluegill.

I dipped the segments in a bit of egg white (milk would also do) before dredging them in a pepper and sweet cornmeal mix (actually just Jiffy mix with some extra black pepper).

Knock off the excess.

Step 4: Fry

Picture of Fry

Heat about 3/4" of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil in a heavy frying pan (I prefer cast iron) until quite hot. A bit of dry batter should bubble nicely.

Add the snake pieces one at a time to avoid dropping the temperature in the pan too quickly.
Use tongs to keep your fingers away from the sizzling hot oil, watch for dangerous splatters, and use a screen if necessary to prevent mess.

Turn the snake pieces just as the batter begins to turn golden- by the time it starts to brown the snake will be overcooked. There's not much meat on the bones, and the muscles are thin and lean. (Yes, we mostly overcooked ours, but it was still tasty.)

Step 5: Drain and Cool

Picture of Drain and Cool

Remove the snake pieces before they're quite done- they'll continue to cook after removal from the pan- and set them on paper towels to drain and cool.

If you've still got more batter, chop up some veggies, dip them in the egg whites and/or milk, dredge in batter, and fry. You can also just mix the liquid into the batter and fry hushpuppies. It's all good.

We fried some fresh okra from the farmers' market.

Step 6: Serve

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Serve your fried snake bits warm, and provide napkins- this is finger food. Accompany with most anything you'd serve with fried fish.

There should be a line of muscle along either side of the spine; this is the thickest piece of meat on the snake's body. The ribs are quite firmly attached to the spine, so scrape your teeth over them firmly to remove the rest of the meat from the ribs.

Since our snake was a bit overcooked it mostly tasted fried, but some of the thicker bits had a distinctive nutty snake flavor. I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on another (hopefully bigger) snake and trying this again!


MasashiN made it! (author)2017-12-17

The other thing is that the grasshoppers needed to fear the frogs as that's their natural predator but the snakes help save the grasshoppers by eating the frogs. If all the snakes went extinct, there'll be less animals to hunt the frogs, therefore the grasshoppers would be in a more vulnerable risk of getting eaten by the frogs. There is a terrible situation which is if the hawks went extinct. The hawks needed to be there to try to get rid of the snakes. Snakes sounds scary because their venomous bite can be strong enough to kill some people. If hawks went extinct, the snake would overpopulate and humans needed to fear more and would be in a more vulnerable risk of snakebites. In 1970, the bald eagle was threatened by the government decided to restrict hunting because the bald eagle eats some small scary animals like the mouse, rat, snake, worm, etc. and these animal overpopulation might occur if the bald eagle went extinct and it would affect and harm human beings so much. If hunting bald eagle didn't stop, some parts of America would be overwhelmed by snakes which sounds very scary. The snakes would start to eat the frogs up and there might be more grasshoppers. The frogs are fun to observe, which affects some people. The other thing is that the frogs needed to fear the snakes as that's their natural predator but hawks help save the frogs by eating the snakes. If all the hawks went extinct, there'll be less animals to hunt the snakes, therefore the frogs wowould be in a more vulnerable risk of getting eaten by the snakes.

HorseBackBob (author)2015-01-24

Snake is good meat. This is a good method of cooking them, though there
are definitely a few twists that you can put on this. I've made a
video to illustrate the entire process in a more primitive setting.
Hope this helps. Enjoy!

lbj (author)2014-09-08

that looks good.but it's a snake

animal lover (author)2013-05-18

Could you just roast it over a fire?

johnnyappleseed (author)2010-08-08

REALLY?... No snakes in new zealand?

AstralQueen (author)2010-04-05

Hopefully, the next snake you get is also road kill, lol!

supervillain (author)2007-11-18

When I was 10, my dad wants me to learn how he live. So we take a vacation in his province in the entire summer. Everyday we always have a unique food, monitor lizards, grasshoppers, beetles, snakes, cobras, rodents, rabbits, grubs, crickets, sting rays and frogs. The only animal that I didn't taste is dog because my father doesn't want me to. AFAIR, frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents and rabbits all taste like chicken. grasshoppers, grubs and crickets taste like anchovies. Boiled beetles (June Beetle) have a unique taste, and it's really delicious. Sting rays had small bones that is like a sand in your mouth, but it's really soft. Sting rays taste also like a chicken.

sajada (author)supervillain2009-03-23

wow man. thats cool. im currentle looking up interesting, exotic, and rarely eaten foods and you totally just fit the bill.

canida (author)supervillain2008-07-20

Cool. If you ever do it again, take pictures!

reverendborq (author)canida2009-03-14

canida is a unique name , is it a flower?

whatsisface (author)2007-08-21

Just curious... What does it taste like (in comparison to a regular meat)?

I'd bet it's probably tougher and a little oily, because it's like all muscle. I've got t otry this, we get a ton of snakes down here in New Orleans, though I don't think whatever they eat is healthy for you.

canida (author)SnuffyDaPenguin2007-08-21

Very lean, and not at all oily. The taste was a bit nutty. They're as healthy for you as anything else, so long as they're not eating a diet of partially-poisoned rodents. This snake was from rural Indiana, so I'm pretty sure he got good healthy rodents. City snakes would be more suspect.

SnuffyDaPenguin (author)canida2007-08-21

I'd definitely move the rating from "partially-poisoned" to "dangerously radioactive" This place is a mess, one cares about it, no one takes care of it... A snake could eat anything here. Look around...What's the first thing you see (that's smaller than a toaster?) Imagine it soaked in greenish moldy mud for 10 years, then dug up and chewed up by some random animal. That's the kind of stuff you'll find on the ground around here.


zachninme (author)canida2007-08-21

Indiana? I thought you guys were in San Fran?

canida (author)zachninme2007-09-06

We do occasionally travel...

zachninme (author)canida2007-09-06

Ahhhh I figured that about 3 days after, I think I was reading some other instructable or something... Whenever we travel, we either go out to eat, or just make something incredibly simple, ie pasta. Its just didn't hit me, I guess :P

canida (author)zachninme2007-09-09

Well, we're food geeks, and were probably raised wrong. ;D

canida (author)whatsisface2007-08-21

Well, this one mainly tasted fried because I overcooked it; however, there were definitely bits that had a distinctive almost nutty taste that was clearly snake. I liked it, and would definitely make it again.

whatsisface (author)canida2007-08-22

Hmm.. sounds good. Not the cliche'd "Tastes like chicken" deal then?

zozzen (author)2007-12-09

i have a snake soup all the time, usually in winter to keep the body warm. If the smell is too strong, add some chrysanthemum and make the taste mild. I know some guys drink snake fresh blood with liquor too.

deathmango (author)zozzen2008-11-25

Interesting. I was under the impression that Chrysanthemums are poisonous -- same toxin as in Permethrin. Is this only in large doses, or only for bugs? Do you live in a place where snake soup/blood is common and available?

solidsquid (author)deathmango2009-02-10

Chrysanthemum is a genus of flowers rather than a specific one. some can be used for cooking, others aren'tt. As I understand it though, the seeds are what contains the insectiside, but these are not as toxic to humans as to insects (although you still wouldn't want to eat them)

deathmango (author)2008-11-25

Nice Instructable, canida. Especially the skinning and cleaning tutorial. I cooked up a garter snake this summer -- it had been caught and wounded by one of our cats. Before skinning, I sprayed it with a soap solution (for parasites, germs...). This didn't become an issue when cooking. One thing you did with yours that I wish I'd done with mine: you cut your snake into pieces. When my snake curled up as it cooked in the pan, that was a bit off-putting. I fried mine in oil and white wine. The texture was chicken-y, while the taste was more like trout. If there's a next time, I'll probably cut it up and fry it as you did. Thanks for sharing your experience. The photos are great, btw! ~dani

Gjdj3 (author)2008-04-21

That's awesome that you were in Indiana. What were you guys doing? Oh and nice instructable. Actually makes snake look tasty. I'm going to have to try that.

canida (author)Gjdj32008-07-20

Visiting family and riding bicycles.

DuctTapeRules! (author)2008-07-19

Can you make boneless snake?

canida (author)DuctTapeRules!2008-07-20

You'd have to have an awfully big snake to be able to cut off boneless chunks of meat of any decent size. I'm hoping I don't run across one in my neighborhood.

n8man (author)2008-07-18

*Runs to trash can*

DJ Radio (author)n8man2008-07-18

no wonder!

Shifrin (author)2008-01-03

A stuffed snake would be awesome! Nice instructable!

Whaleman (author)2007-09-11

Cool! Were you guys in Indiana? I thought that you lived in Alameda. One time there was a king snake in my backyard, so we took pictures of us holding it and released it

canida (author)Whaleman2007-09-12

We do ocassionally leave work and do a bit of travel!

Whaleman (author)canida2007-09-12

Yeah, after I read the snake skin instructable, I realized you were visiting your mum and dad

ermockler (author)2007-08-22

When I was camping at 16 we caught a 6' timber rattler. Killed it, and thought the killing wouldn't be so bad if we ate it. It was a VERY big snake, probably 4" in dia at the widest, but we didn't seem to get such a big meal out of it. I cooked it all wrong according to this. Roadkill is out of the question.

canida (author)ermockler2007-09-06

Well, did it taste good? That's the important part. If it tasted good you cooked it right. ;)

Mr. Rig It (author)2007-08-27

I hear that snakes carry tongue worm. So make sure you cook it really good. That is what "Bear" off of the "Man vs Wild" TV show said.

stephen20x6 (author)2007-08-23

Snakes on a plate!

acosby (author)2007-08-22

Hey, as regards the flavor: We used to cook/skin/preserve snake on a regular basis. Rattlesnake, Western diamondback, specifically. It's a fishy texture, a little less flaky than fish. Bland meat flavor. Basically "it tastes like chicken" is pretty accurate. Almost identical to gator, goes great with chile *green, not texas "chili"*. There is, if one is really discerning, a slight "nutty" flavor, but mostly it is dominated by the "chickenesque" taste.

canida (author)acosby2007-08-23

I'd agree- gator is the closest I've found in taste. Good stuff, when you can get it!

stasia-realsimple (author)2007-08-22

do you have the recipe for that scrumpdelicious-looking couscous-y side on the plate there?

canida (author)stasia-realsimple2007-08-23

I'll ping my mom- it's her recipe. Might qualify for the contest!

stasia-realsimple (author)2007-08-22

this is outrageous! canida, do you watch top chef? the first episode of this season, one of the contestants fried rattlesnake...but it doesn't seem like his dish faired nearly as well as yours!

zipykido (author)2007-08-21

What about the bones? I've never studied the anatomy of a snake but I think there are a lot of them.

musicalbee2003 (author)zipykido2007-08-22

I think this was explained clearly..."The ribs are quite firmly attached to the spine, so scrape your teeth over them firmly to remove the rest of the meat from the ribs." In other words, don't mess with 'em till ya eat 'im (or her, whatever)!

zachninme (author)2007-08-21

Ironically, this instructable qualifies for the RealSimple contest...

canida (author)zachninme2007-08-22

The Instructable qualifies, but I don't! It's in there for inspiration. ;)

awoodcarver (author)2007-08-21

I pan gold in Calif Mother Lode area , snakes are a real problem , I walk on a cane and move or go around them as much as I can but those shedding are mean and a load of snake shot out of a .45 or .357 works well . Beer works in place of the egg.....................nice job of skinin and cookin

ichipoodle (author)2007-08-21

Whoa! This sounds...odd, but i like the idea! My uncle once told me when i was little how he killed a snake...he said it tasted like chicken (what doesn't these days lol) Anyway, good recipe!

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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