New Jersey Town Holds 75th Annual Muskrat Dinner

Muskrats

About 250 people dined on rodent this weekend at the 75th Annual Muskrat Dinner in Lower Alloways Creek, N.J. The annual event, which is organized by the Lower Alloways Creek Township Fire Company, is a part of the town’s history.

“Muskrat identifies with our town,” LAC Fire Company Assistant Fire Chief Tim Burns told the South Jersey Times. “It’s a part of LAC history going back to 1938. It gets passed down from generation to generation. If you live around here, chances are you know how to trap a muskrat.”

The fire department served 1,100 muskrats at the dinner, according to the South Jersey Times article. Proceeds went toward equipment and maintenance for the LAC Fire Company. The dinner raised nearly $5,000 in 2012.

“We start in the first week of December,” Burns told the South Jersey Times. “You got to cut them up, soak them in a salt bath, rinse them, freeze them, thaw them out, rinse them again — and then you got to cook them. We were here until 2 a.m. last night.”

Caroline Pitts, of Washington, D.C., was attending the dinner for a second time.

“The first time I ate it, I loved it,” Pitts said of the muskrat. “It’s different. You can’t get this back home.”

Doug Van Sant, of Bridgeton, N.J., said some people call the muskrats “marsh rabbits” to help others get over the ‘rat part of the animal’s name.

“They are very clean,” Van Sant said. “It is some of the purest meat you can get.”

Have you eaten muskrat? If not, would you try it?

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16 thoughts on “New Jersey Town Holds 75th Annual Muskrat Dinner

  1. I’ve eaten pretty much anything I could hunt, so my answer is a qualified YES.

    I qualify that by saying that it will depend on where ‘ol’ Musky’ is from. If it’s living in clean water with good food supplies and I believe it to be a unpolluted area, then without a doubt I’d eat it.- and gladly. It’s a squirrel with a nekked tail.

    But if it’s living where I think it’s food is sucking up heavy metals and other toxins, then no – because they will be full of that stuff too.

    • They are MUCH better than squrriel ,a lighter textured “dark meat”; very close in flavor to thigh meat of a hen. Very good eating ! Add the fact that thier pelts are worth something : then you have it all ! LOL !

  2. This was a common practice among trappers in New England when I was trapping there in the early sixties. The marsh rabbit name came from the south where it was common restaurant fair. Marsh rabbit looked better on the menu. It would be hard to find a cleaner more organically fed animal.

  3. yes I would eat marsh rabbit… I like a lot of wild game I trap, I have cooked a couple different things for the people at work too show if they don’t know what they are eating it may just be good. like beaver and bob cat, both are delicious if deboned and cut into steaks , rolled in seasond flower and deep fried like dear meat.

  4. I LOVE well prepared muskrat. Large males are RARELY edible. Young females are the best,I pressure cook the cleaned carcass. Use the meat in a recipe for squirrel(brunswick stew) or pheasant. You will LOVE rat more than either. I have some recipes of my own that I will not share, but do as I say……..you will enjoy!

  5. Yes I’ve eaten muskrat. Also exotic game such as raccoon, beaver and even porcupine. I thought all were very tasty in their own unique way – meaning they DID NOT taste like chicken. ha I would recommend any of these.

  6. I have eaten muskrat and love it and I cook it myself .It all depends on how you cook it and I also eat beaver and possum, coon. There is others that I eaten .The muskrat is a clean animal same as the beaver just that they are just small likeness of the beaver .

  7. I have once. I boiled it. I wish to do so again some day when I trap again here. Why not since the economy is going down everyone better begin soon!

  8. Yes, my son had me fix it for him. I tried it, and I actually liked it. It helped me knowing that it was a clean animal, and eats greens. (Montana)

  9. I live the next county over from lower alloways in cumberland cty. i really dont know anyone around here who doesnt eat muskrat. i guess its a south jersey thing cause we all eat them

  10. I enjoy muskrat. A recipe I prepare when guests come over:
    Cut meat from the wide side of the thigh to make a nice “nugget.” Wrap 1/3 strip of bacon around and toothpick in place. Dunk in BBQ sauce and grill until bacon is mostly crisp.

    And no, I don’t always tell them what they are eating beforehand.

  11. My Dad was the best muskrat trapper in LAC, Norwood Dawson. I tried this old hairy rat, watched Pop skin that rat in 2-3 mins, start to finish, Yes, after soaking it, dunk in egg, rolled in flour and fried , oh yeah, It’s GOOD, Marc and Kathy

  12. WELL, THEY SAY MAYBE A FOOD SHORTAGE SOME DAY. NOT AT MY HOUSE. I KNOW HOW TO TRAP AND FIX WHAT I CATCH. MUSKRAT , PAR BOILED, DE-BONED, ROLLED IN BUTTER AND FLOUR OR PANCAKE MIX AND DEEP FRIED IS THE BEST THERE IS. BETTER THAN MCDONALDS AND HEALTHIER FOR YOU. SO COME ON FOOD SHORTAGE, US TRAPPERS WILL ALWAYS BE FAT AND HAPPY!!!!

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