Possum Jerky

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About: I am a mortuary student, and an artist with a passion for the strange and bizarre!

Intro: Possum Jerky

Contrary to popular belief, the meat from the common Virginia Opossum (shown above) can be very flavorful if handled and prepared properly. It is very good when added to soups or stews, or just baked on its own.

I also like to make this meat into jerky, and people are often quite surprised when they find out that tasty snack they just sampled was from none other than a possum!

Possum jerky is easy to make, and the exact same recipe can also be used for raccoon, beaver, or other small game meat as well.


Here is what you'll need:

  • 1 large opossum or 2-3 smaller ones
  • Sharpened knife
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Salt, pepper, and other spices of choice



Step 1: Prepare Your Meat

Proper handling of your 'possum meat begins in the field when you first harvest your animal. I trap all of mine and dispatch them with one single shot to the top of the skull with a .22, which is humane and also avoids damaging the meat.

Skin the opossum as soon as possible after harvest. Remove the skull, feet, tail and organs from the carcass, and trim off any excess fat. Rinse the meat under cold water, until the water runs clear. Result should look like the photo above.

>As an extra tip, I like to allow jerky meat to freeze slightly before cutting it, because this makes it easier to cut thinner slices. To do this, put your meat in the freezer for a few hours or until it feels "firm" to the touch, but not frozen solid.

Step 2: Slice the Meat

Begin cutting the meat into thin, even slices. The thinner the better, because opossum meat can become very tough if you leave it too thick. Quartering the carcass, by removing each leg separately before slicing the meat off, makes this process easier.
There is also some good meat along the spine of the animal, as well as the neck and ribs if it is large enough.

Step 3: Marinate

After you finish slicing the meat, place all of the strips into a fitting container in which to marinate it.

For the marinade, add:

  • Equal parts Worcestershire and soy sauce - measurements will vary depending on your amount of meat, but use enough to thoroughly coat the meat.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (salt may be used sparingly because both the Worcestershire and soy sauces already have a high sodium content)
  • Other spices of choice - I have personally found that hickory or maple flavorings go very nicely with the taste of opossum meat.


Stir your meat and marinade together until all meat strips are coated. Then cover your container and place in the refrigerator, and allow to marinate overnight.

Step 4: Dehydrate

After the meat has marinated overnight in the fridge, you will notice it has turned a darker color than it's original light pink. This is a good thing and means that it's fully absorbed the marinade and is ready for your dehydrator.

All dehydrators are a bit different, but most should have a temperature setting specifically for meat or jerky making. Ours makes jerky at 150 degrees, for 4 hours. Sometimes it may take a longer or shorter amount of time depending on the quantity or thickness of the meat, so check it about two hours in and flip the pieces over if needed so they can dry evenly on both sides. Again, this varies by machine so use your best judgement here.

You will know when possum jerky is thoroughly done, when it has turned a dark brown (almost black) color and is dry to the touch.

Step 5: Enjoy!

After your possum jerky has been thoroughly dried, remove it from the dehydrator and allow to cool at room temperature. Then it's ready to eat and enjoy! To keep freshness, store your jerky in the refrigerator and it will last for several weeks.

This is a high-protein, all-natural snack that you can take pride in having harvested and prepared completely on your own!

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    33 Discussions

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    rorotofu

    3 years ago

    Hi this is a really great tutorial on everything and survival. though I myself have grown up with the Internet, I am many others don't exactly appreciate being dead things when we don't expect it. There are people out there with possums as pets and friends. Please try to be more respectful with your imagery.

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    UndeadArtsrorotofu

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I am glad you liked the tutorial, however my thoughts are that if you see a posting titled "Possum Jerky", you can pretty much expect to see something dead and being butchered for its meat. It's just the reality of how these things are done, and while I can certainly respect the fact that other people's views will differ on the subject, these folks are under no obligation to keep looking at this page. Personally, if I see something I don't like on another person's site, I simply click the "back" button without comment. Others can do the same here.

    Thanks,
    Trapper Ellie

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    PaulB629UndeadArts

    Reply 9 months ago

    Great answer. People need to have and utilize common sense. I am dying to try this now. Thank you so much

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    rorotofuUndeadArts

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the reply. I guess I should be more clear, as I said it's not the content of your post that gives me pause, it's the instructables thumbnail. Putting all debates and oppinions aside, you can't unsee things, or avoid it on the phone app, or site if you visit instructables often. Not trying to cause you drama. Just please remember there are people here from all walks of life and belief systems.

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    BAR3Rrorotofu

    Reply 2 years ago

    I Do NOT Think It Is At All "Offensive", It Isn't Like He Showed Them All Bloody & Battered In The First Image!! As Far As Having Them For Pets Ya Better Watch Out Because, I Live WAY Out In The Country & See Possums All The Time And, They Have Some HUGE Fangs On Them & They Will Attack If They Are Cornered & Playing Dead Doesnt Work!!

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    JeremyGilman

    2 years ago

    I'd try it. To proceed with the roadkill, not likely.

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    JM1999

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with bullfrog, I even cringe when I hear the term 'possum' used for a much toothier 'opossum'.

    I like the photos, they are really good (especially the intro!)

    Good job on the win!

    2 replies
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    UndeadArtsJM1999

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    They are very commonly called "possums" here, but I suppose it could be regional thing. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos though, and thanks! I was surprised to have made it into the contest finals, I did not even expect to get that far with it :)

    Opossums are not possums They are different animals.
    Possums are native to australia, New guinea and Sulawesi.
    But were named possums because they resembled Opossums, Which are native to the Americas.

    1 reply

    While technically you are right, according to wikipedia, colloquially, across the southern US, the Opossum is regularly referred to as a 'Possum'. Mainly 'cause we don't English so good I 'spect.

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    jmcdonald23

    3 years ago on Introduction

    I ain't tried possum yet, or coon, but if someone else prepared it for me I wouldn't say no. I have heard they are both great eating. Great job on your Instructable!!

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    bushman89jmcdonald23

    Reply 3 years ago

    I've never had possum before but I've had coon, didn't even season it , just skinned it and spit roasted it over a camo fire and it was some of the best meat I've ever had. I was super surprised

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    stateit

    3 years ago

    Won't the meat be tough if they've been trapped then despatched? Adrenaline in the muscle tissue from a stressed animal makes for tough eating.
    Better to shoot from a distance without a chase for more more tender meat.

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    UndeadArtsstateit

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    No, because trapped animals are not necessarily "stressed". They tend to just lay down or sit still in the trap once they realize they can't escape, and I am very calm when I approach and dispatch them. I've never had an issue with trapped meat being tough, unless overcooked.

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    themullusk

    3 years ago

    I believe he was referring to your cover photo. A photo of the finished product would entice more people to actually read the article then just automatically skim by or feel offended.

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    UndeadArtsthemullusk

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Possibly, but then again if some people are too squeamish to look at a photo of a deceased opossum, those individuals probably wouldn't want to read this whole tutorial anyway ;) I used that photo not only to show the very first stage of this process, but also to help attract my target audience for this article, which is trappers, hunters, survival enthusiasts, etc. So I will leave it up for the time being, as it's getting some positive feedback on my Facebook page at least!