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This is one of the true fur-bearing animals; prime skins bring a good price in the market. The meat is dark, rich, and delicious, but remember, the beaver can carry tularemia. This is also one of the animals that bears unpleasant glands which must be removed upon skinning. There is a "castor" gland near the tail under the belly and the usual musk glands in the small of the back and under the forelegs. These should be carefully cut out without damage and discarded. Also, remove all surface fat. Hang the carcass in a cool place for several days.

Beavers average about 45 inches in overall length, including the 10- to 12-inch-long tail, and weigh about 40 pounds. Some big ones, however, reach 60 pounds. Beaver is best, even with a young animal, if it is first poached in salted water for 1 hour. Instead of poaching beaver before cooking, some people marinate young ones overnight in water to cover with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt per quart of water. Larger, older ones are sometimes parboiled in 2 baths of water to cover with 1 teaspoon onion juice to each gallon of water. This can be followed by braising (cooking slowly in moist heat in a covered pot such as a Dutch oven). There are many recipes for braised meat in this collection which are just as good for beaver as for venison.

Traditionally the beaver tail has been considered a delicacy. Some people parboil it first, but from what I've seen and friends' experiences it doesn't really need it. The trick to getting the rough skin off the tail before roasting over coals or grilling is to broil the tail over coals (or stove element), turning, for about 10 minutes, until the scaly hide blisters and scales off in sheets. The gelatinous meat is then roasted or boiled until tender. Since the taste is similar to pork, the tail is often cubed and baked with beans.

Jacqueline E. Knight

Eleanor Ellis, Indian Affairs
Northern Development, Ottawa 1973

The industrious beaver is the largest rodent on the North American Continent, and is found in all the waterways of the forested areas of the north. Its rich brown fur has long been prized by trappers and hunters, and the search for beaver pelts instigated much of the early exploration of the continent. Because of its contribution to the development of our Dominion, the beaver has been chosen as an emblem of Canada.

If the beaver pelt is to be prepared for market, care should be taken in skinning the animal. Lay the beaver on its back in a clean place and cut off the legs at the first joints. Then, with a sharp knife, slit the pelt, starting at the lower lip. Insert the knife in this slit and, with the sharp edge up, cut the pelt in a straight line down the belly to the vent. Work out from this centre line cut and, with short strokes,, separate the skin from the flesh. Carefully pull the legs through the skin, leaving four round holes in the pelt. Cut off the tail where it meets the fur. Skin carefully around the eyes and cut the ears close to the skull. Finish removing the pelt, taking as little flesh and fat with it as possible, then lay it on a flat surface, fur side down, and sponge off all the blood marks with lukewarm water. Complete directions for stretching and cleaning pelts are available from the Game Management Officers.

Beaver meat is dark red, fine grained, moist and tender, and when properly prepared, is similar in flavour to roast pork. Cut the head from the carcass and eviscerate the animal as follows: Make a cut through the thin layer of meat from the breastbone to the vent, encircling the vent, and being careful not to puncture the intestines. Lay the body cavity open, and remove the viscera by grasping them above the stomach and pulling down and out from the body cavity. Carefully cut out the tiny musk glands from under the skin on the insides of the legs and be sure to remove the castor gland under the belly near the tail. Trim off all the fat, then wash the carcass thoroughly with warm water.


Beaver Tail Ala Denny	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
4		Beaver tails	
1		Onion	
1	tablespoon	Butter	
2	tablespoons	Prepared mustard	
1	cup	Sherry		
3	cups	Barbecue sauce	
		Grated parmesan cheese	

   Place whole beaver tails on barbecue or oven broiler rack until scaly skin 
blisters.  Let cool in freezer compartment.  Remove cold blistered skin and 
discard.  Put white meat aside.
   In shallow roasting pan, saute onion in butter until clear, stir in mustard
to coat onions, then stir in sherry, tabasco sauce and half of barbecue sauce, 
making sure bottom of pan is covered.  Spread out beaver tails in pan, cover 
with remaining barbecue sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and bake in 450 degree 
oven for 45 minutes.  Serve hot with wild or ordinary rice topped with 
generous spoonfuls of remaining sauce.


Fur Trapper's Beaver

Recipe By:	Jacqueline E. Knight	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1		Beaver	cut serving pieces
1	tablespoon	Celery seeds	
1	tablespoon	Garlic juice	
1		Bay leaf	
1	tablespoon	Onion salt	
1	cup	Seasoned flour	
1/2	cup	Melted lard	
1	cup	Red wine	
2	cups	Medium cream sauce	

   Parboil beaver in water seasoned with celery seeds, garlic juice, bay 
leaf, and onion salt.  When nearly tender, remove and pat dry.  Dust with 
seasoned flour and brown in melted lard.  Add red wine, bake at 350 
degrees, covered, for 1 hour or until completely tender.  Pour on cream 
sauce and broil briefly until golden-brown.

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