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“Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns”

Young squirrel is good simply quartered and fried. Old squirrel is good stewed. When in doubt, it is safest to braise or stew a squirrel. Sometimes, for flavor and for whimsy, I like to add acorns to this recipe. Native Americans used to eat acorns, usually by grinding them and then boiling them. They are sometimes bitter because of their tannins, but this can be improved by grinding them and running them under cold water. Acorns from the white oak, the chestnut oak, the swamp white oak, and the Garry oak are all ideal.

This was an old squirrel, which I cooked in Arkansas a little while ago. Since I was in girl hunter mode and not photographer mode, I didn’t take a lot of step-by-step photos as I normally do. But the directions are detailed in the recipe. And of course you can be flexible and include your favorite ingredients!

Here is what you’ll need: squirrel, garlic cloves, bacon, corn kernels, chick peas, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, tomatoes, bay leaf, okra, potatoes, beer (not pictured), cayenne (not pictured), sea salt (not pictured), and rosemary (not pictured).

You will first par boil the squirrel in water with a nice dose of sea salt, lemon halves, rosemary, bay leaf and cayenne.  As it simmers for an hour, skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Those are the impurities, and the lemon, salt, and rosemary are particularly excellent at extracting them.

In a separate pot, you’ll render the bacon, add the onion and garlic cloves, deglaze with the beer, and then add the remaining ingredients. Once you saute them for a few minutes, you’ll add 2 cups of the squirrel cooking liquid from the other pot, then the squirrel and Worcestershire sauce. You’ll cook this for another hour until it is all tender and stew-like. Then season it to taste.

It is wonderful and is a dish that was often made by my great grandmother and other great grandmothers across the land.

Give it a try! And of course if you don’t have squirrel in your midst, other proteins will work well.

Want more squirrel recipes? Check out my book “Girl Hunter!”


“Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns”

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

“Squirrel Brunswick Stew with Acorns”

For more squirrel recipes, check out the book "Girl Hunter"


  • 4 squirrels, cleaned and quartered, plus rib cage and loin
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • Sea salt
  • 3 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups red potatoes, skin on, which have been cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups okra that has been cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup shelled and minced acorns (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper


  1. Place the squirrel parts in a pot and cover with water. Add the lemon halves, rosemary, bay leaf, cayenne, and about a tablespoon of sea salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour, skimming the foam from the surface as it forms. Once the meat is tender, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.
  2. In a separate pot, render the bacon. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, okra, chickpeas, corn, and acorns and stir.
  3. Add 2 cups of the squirrel cooking liquid and stir in. Add the squirrel and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With this stew, as with most, it is best to let it sit for several hours before serving.


Also try: rabbit, dove, turkey, upland game birds


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  1. I am having problems just trying to get my wife over the fact what she ate has once been living. She has problems just trying to pull the bag of guts out of the chicken! I love to hunt squirrel and I want my younger kids to enjoy it as I do, but I’m afraid to bring it into the house because of her squeamish reactions. Does your book include anything about how to get over the fear of a eating an animal that you harvest from your own hands? She needs some words of wisdom. Thanks!

  2. Wow what a dish–
    Why dont you enter the 2013 World Champion Squirrel Cook off? http://www.squirrelcookoff.com

    We love to have folks like you with ideas like this cook, look us up and give us a try.

  3. Beth Tollas says:

    Question? Could I substitute walnuts for the acorns? Our family grows/sells English Walnuts & so we have an ample supply of these, yet a limited supply of acorns now with the snow covering the ground here in Michigan. If so, what would be the best way to add another nut to this recipe? (Ground, soaked, pieced, whole?) Thanks so much~ LOVE your book & recipes!

    *Avid hunter/fisher & mother of two boys~ Most of our meals come from the game (deer, wild turkey, squirrel, bluegill, bass, trout, salmon) that I’ve harvested myself! I thank my father for my love of the outdoors :) I also purchased your book and have passed it along to another girlfriend I hope will join me out hunting! Thanks~

  4. Looks yummy! When you “impurities”, what exactly does that mean?

  5. Georgia says:

    Any kind of residue that is on the meat, whether it be bacteria, dirt, blood, etc. The scum that comes to the surface is what you skim off. The same goes for when you’re making stock!

  6. Thank goodness! This recipe (and your website in general) finally allowed me to bring game meat into the house! I have a wife and two teenage daughters who are not exactly thrilled with the idea, particularly squirrel. A previous “from woods to plate” teaching adventure ended up with daddy banished to the backyard with the dogs, eating a tough old squirrel cooked on the grill (the dogs didn’t mind). Anyway next step is both of your books in her stocking at Christmas! :)

  7. Sounds great :) I’ve converted a lot of women which in turn creates family harmony. Send them on one of my Girl Hunter Weekends! Add your name to my mailing list on the website sidebar to find out when the next one is announced.