Introduction: How to Cook a Snake

About: I helped start Instructables, previously worked in biotech and academic research labs, and have a degree in biology from MIT. Currently head of Product helping young startups at Alchemist Accelerator, previous…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!