Smoke n' Fried Ground Hog with homemade pickles

Smoke n' Fried Ground Hog with homemade pickles

Woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, are vegetarians and they’re not too much different than rabbits. A bit slower running, and solitary, but they’re basically just big wild rabbits.

Buttermilk Fried Woodchuck (Groundhog)

This recipe involves an overnight marinade in buttermilk, along with a number of spices including garlic, paprika, and thyme.
How to cook a woodchuck
You will use half of your wet mix to marinade your groundhog, and the other half for cooking dredge.  
2 to 3 lb Groundhog/Woodchuck meat, quartered and skinned and deboned.
3 cups buttermilk
1.5 Tbs. smoked paprika
1.5 tsp. garlic granules or powder (or several cloves fresh garlic, pressed)
1.5 tsp. onion granules or powder
1.5 tsp. each of thyme, oregano and parsley
3/4 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients (minus the ground hog).  Reserve half.  Use the remaining and combine with the Woodchuck in a plastic ziplock and place in the fridge overnight.  
On the next day, start up your smoker to 250 degrees.  
Remove the ground hog from the fridge and take it out of bag and discard the leftover marinade.
Set the woodchuck into the smoker for 1 hour to partial cook.  We are just trying to get smoke into the meat here and not fully cook it. 
Make the pickles while you wait.
After the 1 hour: remove the woodchuck from the smoker and prep for frying.
How to cook a woodchuck
You will need:

2 cups flour (approximate)
2 cups canola oil (approximate)

When you’re ready to cook, heat 2 inches of oil in a deep thick bottomed pan.  I use a cast iron skillet.

Dip the woodchuck into the reserved marinade then dredge the woodchuck pieces in flour to coat, and then dip them back into the marinade before you dredge them in flour a second time.  (The double dredging is key to a good crispy coating.)  

Fry, turning once until the coating is cooked to a deep brown color.  Remove to drain on paper towels.

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    • 1 english cucumber very thinly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
    • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • In a small to medium bowl, combine the salt, sugar, cider vinegar, dill, garlic and water. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  • Add the thinly sliced cucumbers (no need to peel, the skins are thin enough).
  • Use the back of a spoon to adjust the cucumbers so they are submerged in the brine. Let the cucumbers soak for about an hour, then they're ready to use.
  • Store in a tight-fitting container, with the cucumbers covered in the brining liquid.

Assemble your Groundhog sandwich on a nice brioche roll.  I like to use a little spicy mayo along with my garlic pickles.

Have you ever had groundhog?  What’s your favorite way to cook it?  Let us know!

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