Presidential Squirrel Soup

Reblogged from Terrierman’s Daily Dose at Terrierman’s Daily Dose: Presidential Squirrel Soup (

James A. Garfield was President of the United Stated from March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881.

Garfield’s exceedingly short tenure as President is due to the fact that in September of his first year in office, he was shot twice as he stepped out on to the platform at the Baltimore and Potomac Railway Station in Washington for some fresh air. The shooter was a disturbed failure by the name of Charles Guiteau, who was angry that he was not given a federal job despite his complete lack of qualification to do anything at all.  For his trouble, Guitreau was given a trial and hanged in 1882.

Garfield, who was raised on an Ohio farm, had his own recipe for Squirrel Soup, which was monumentalized in the White House cookbook of 1887.

Wash and quarter three or four good sized squirrels; put them on, with a small tablespoonful of salt, directly after breakfast, in a gallon of cold water. Cover the pot close, and set it on the back part of the stove to simmer gently, not boil. Add vegetables just the same as you do in case of other meat soups in the summer season, but especially good will you find corn, Irish potatoes, tomatoes and Lima beans. Strain the soup through a coarse colander when the meat has boiled to shreds, so as to get rid of the squirrels’ troublesome little bones. Then return to the pot, and after boiling a while longer, thicken with a piece of butter rubbed in flour. Celery and parsley leaves chopped up are also considered an improvement by many. Toast two slices of bread, cut them into dice one-half inch square, fry them in butter, put them into the bottom of your tureen, and then pour the soup boiling hot upon them. Very good.

For the record, the old standbJoy of Cookingcontained recipes for squirrel between 1943 and 1996 — complete with a drawing of a boot holding down the rodent’s hide.

Squirrel liver

When field dressing a squirrel, the organs are often discarded. The truth is, the liver can totally be eaten and is one of the healthiest parts of the squirrel. Its taste is very similar to chicken liver, but a bit chewier.

Cooking liver is very easy as long as you know what part of the body you’re looking for on a squirrel!

See diagram. The organ marked “4” is the liver, which rests on top of the stomach and is split into 3 chambers.

Before you discard the squirrel’s organs, cut the liver from the rest of the organs using a sharp knife or a pair of small game shears.


  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 or more squirrel liver
  • Olive oil


Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat.

Rinse the liver of any excess blood.

In a medium bowl, toss together a mixture of flour, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well.

Place the squirrel liver(s) in the bowl. Cover bowl with lid, and shake until all livers are completely dredged in the flour mixture.

Drizzle pan with olive oil, spread evenly.

Using tongs, place livers in pan flat side down. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on a side until liver is evenly fried and reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 F.

Serve immediately. Some suggestions:

With 1 squirrel liver, you can make a Michelin-style dish, you know, the ones with a bite size bit of food dressed up to look like a $50 dish?

Pan-fried squirrel liver, served Michelin style, with garnish of olive oil, ground black pepper, ketchup, and parsley leaf

With multiple livers, serve as an appetizer. No dipping sauce needed!

Deep fried squirrel


For the squirrel:

  • 2 gray tree squirrels, quartered
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1qt frying oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • Wasabi (horseradish)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Garlic, minced
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt


Make the sauce: Whisk all sauce ingredients together until well blended, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat frying oil in pot or deep fryer to 350F.

Dip squirrel quarters in flour, then egg, then cover lightly with panko crumbs. Set aside on a mesh tray.

When oil reaches desired frying temperature, lower the squirrel pieces into the oil. Fry for about 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160F.

Remove from frying oil, and drain excess oil.

Serve with desired sauce.

Pulled squirrel sandwich

4 1/2 hours

20 minutes hands-on


For the meat:

  • 3 adult gray squirrels, skinned and dressed
  • Salt
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Melted butter
  • Apple cider

For the sandwich:

  • Hamburger buns
  • Butter, sliced
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Coleslaw


Preheat grill to searing temperature (about 700F)

Preheat oven to 200F

Baste squirrels in melted butter.

Season the squirrels liberally with cajun seasoning, and a few drops Worcestershire sauce each. Don’t forget to rub seasoning in the organ cavities.

Place squirrels on the grill. Using tongs, press them as flat against the grill as possible. Sear for 4-5 minutes on a side.

After squirrels have seared, remove from grill and wrap individually in aluminum foil, shiny side inward, leaving a small opening at the top

Place squirrels in a large cast iron pan or pans, fill each pan with a liberal amount of apple cider, pouring some apple cider into the foil wrap. Cover pans.

Place pans in oven for 4 hours, checking every hour and refilling the apple cider as necessary.

To test whether squirrels are “done”: Take a fork and pull at the leg meat. Squirrel is done when leg meat flakes off with light pressure.

Remove squirrels from cast iron pan and unwrap, draining any remaining apple cider. Using two forks, pull apart the squirrel, separating any small bone pieces from the meat. Shred the meat to the desired length and thickness.

To make the sandwich, butter and toast buns on one side. Meanwhile, mix together pulled meat and barbecue sauce over a pot on medium heat. Assemble sandwich: bottom bun, then pulled meat, then coleslaw, then top bun. Serve immediately.