Roadkill: Fresh off the Grill!

It’s not just for breakfast anymore…
Dec 15, 2009 6:00 PM ET

Out on the highway late last night

He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right

He didn’t see the station wagon car

The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got a dead skunk in the middle of the road…..

“Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” by Loudon Wainwright III

Road kill is not a pretty thing, but there it is, on the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes a perfectly good animal meets up with a perfectly good automobile and they both suffer for it. Usually the animal pays a higher price, but not always. A woman in my town was killed recently by a moose that walked into the side of her car, rolled over, crushed the roof, (and her) and ran off into the woods. I hit a deer I had seen and slowed way down for that did a 180 degree turn on its hoof, doubled back and ran right into my van. He pushed the grill in, then got up and loped off like nothing happened. I searched for him for nearly an hour. If he had been killed in the mishap, I didn’t want him to go to waste.

Yes, I confess, I eat roadkill. Not daily or even monthly, but once in a while. if someone I know collides with a deer or I come upon one on the side of the road, freshly “grilled” so to speak, I’ve been known to load them up, take them home and cut ‘em up for the freezer.

Wherever two or more animals and cars are gathered, there is roadkill. It’s a messy scene out there. I’m not going to get into the morals of hunting or eating meat here. But from a waste to resources aspect, doesn’t it make sense to utilize a deer, moose or elk struck by a vehicle? Fact is that folks still eat meat, and using a road kill spares another one in the field, forest, or feedlot.

Wikipedia reposts a roadkill study done in New England schools involving 1,923 animal deaths. The breakdown was as follows:

•    81% mammals
•    15% birds
•    3% reptiles and amphibians
•    1% indiscernible – I like this category!

Based on the data, it’s estimated that nationwide in the US, every year motorists run down:

•    41 million squirrels
•    26 million cats
•    22 million rats
•    19 million opossums
•    15 million raccoons
•    6 million dogs
•    1,500,000 deer

Obviously there‘s a lot of “flat meat” out there, and if it’s found fresh and properly prepared, it can be safely eaten. But before you load roadkill Bambi, Bullwinkle or Kermit into your car, check your state and local laws. In many places, like Alaska, roadkill belongs to the state, where fresh flat meat is usually given to charities to feed the hungry. In Wisconsin, you need to call a law enforcement officer to tag the carcass for you before taking it. In West Virginia, anyone can take home and eat roadkill, and the book Gourmet Style Road Kill Cooking is a runaway success. In Texas People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) even lobbied on legalizing eating roadkill (to save the lives of other animals), and other animal rights activists have condoned eating the flat meat. 

Fresh roadkill is organic, free range (which is how they became roadkill in the first place), hormone free in most cases, low fat, and nutritious.  Some environmentalists support eating roadkill as a “green” practice. 

Roadkill, it’s not just for breakfast anymore…

If you can’t find a local “Road Kill Café” to serve you a possum stew, venison burger or flattened frog jambalaya, here’s a recipe you can try on your own. Usual disclaimer from the Greenopolis legal department applies- It’s up to you to make sure what you are about to ingest is fresh, clean, and cooked properly.

This stew could be just about anything...

Classic Road Kill Stew

  • 2 lbs road kill venison, moose, elk, kangaroo, wombat or mystery meat, cut into 1” pieces

  • 8 carrots, cut up

  • 2 large onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 large red potatoes cut up

  • 1 cup green peas

  • 4 tbsp Olive oil

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Salt and pepper

In a large sauce pan, sauté the finely chopped garlic, then sear the meat in the oil. Add carrots, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, water to cover and simmer 1-2 hours until meat is very tender and well done. Add peas and celery and simmer 30 minutes longer. Serve with cast iron skillet cornbread and pumpkin moonshine. Serves 8-10.

Then sit around the campfire, and sing this classic campfire song:

Road Kill Stew
(To the tune of 3 Blind Mice)

Road kill stew,
Road kill stew,
Tastes so good,
Just like it should.

First you go down to the interstate,
You wait for the critter to meet its fate,
You take it home and you make it great,
Road kill stew,
Road kill stew.

Good eating! In French, Bon Appetite! In German, Autobahn Appetite! is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.