Monday, January 25, 2010

The Road Kill Grill

Seems like the cat is officially out of the bag and the world now knows how real Alaskans can dress a moose--and we're not talking a suit a tie here folks. I apologize in advance to any PETA people out there but life in Alaska sometimes deals with brutal things like hunting and fishing and it's pretty common to have your freezer stocked full of tasty vittles such as bear steaks, caribou sausage and moose fillets.

Do I personally have a freezer full? Um . . . no. I myself have never been into hunting and fishing and I'm not into eating strange and unusual things that once had a head attached. I've eaten reindeer sausage (which is completely excellent by the way) but never eaten bear (I hear it's pretty horrid and if you think about what bears eat that shouldn't surprise you). I haven't had muk tuk or mikiaq or any part of a whale though I have had moose. In high school I had dinner at a friend's house and after the meal she let me know with a huge "I just slipped one past you" grin that I'd just consumed a bona fide moose taco. Talk about your fusion cuisine.

I went home and gagged but then I was really weird about meat back then--I even remember freaking out when my mom tried to serve a pork butt roast. The very thought of eating a pig fanny so grossed me out I refused to partake. Apparently no one felt it necessary to inform me about where ham and sausage comes from and I was able to hold onto my innocence a little longer.

Even now I still have a hard time dealing with raw meat, de-boning a chicken breast is my absolute limit, so you can be pretty sure than I'm not up here, sitting on a pile of frozen meat that we shot and butchered ourselves. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Which brings me to my topic for today. Anchorage has a bit of a moose problem. Yes, they're big and impressive animals and seeing one of them can give you a thrill . . . the first half dozen times. Then when you find them destroying your garden or taking over the school playground they suddenly become a lot less awe-inspiring. What I worry about the most is hitting one with the car. They're all over the place, especially higher up on hillside where I tend to spend a lot of time, and all I need to make my day complete is to have one gallop out of the bushes across the icy road to smash up my car. I have no moose clause in my insurance policy you know.

People hit moose with their cars fairly regularly here and if you feel so inclined you can march yourself down to the local authorities and get yourself on a list so that whenever someone in town hits and kills a moose with their car the next person in line gets a call to come and collect the carcass.

I think they give preference to non-profit and humanitarian organizations--feeding the homeless and that kind of thing--but if you really have a thing for fresh, industrially-tenderized moose steaks you too can find yourself in possession of a very large quadruped for your grilling pleasure.

It's kind of like in the movies where someone is on the heart transplant list and they have a special phone line reserved, waiting for the time when the call will come in. We've had friends on the road kill list, waiting with that same hope and longing for the time when their phone will ring and they can run out with their chain saws and ropes to claim their prize.

My brother-in-law got on the list and while his father was in town the call came: a moose had been killed and they were called into action. He grabbed his tools and his gloves, jumped in his SUV and went out into the wild Alaskan night to harvest his moose.

But why not? Maybe other cities could adopt similar policies. Phoenix residents could start looking for ways to cook up coyote, New Yorkers could make it posh to nosh on pigeon and Texans surely could come up with creative ways to use all those smooshed armadillos.

Seems to me it's the ultimate in 100% organic, eco-friendly, free-range meat. We Alaskans are serious trend-setters you know.

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31 comments:

Lucy said...

LOL. Don't apologize to PETA. As much of an animal rights person I am, and though I eat meat on rare occasions, I think PETA goes over the line. Although meat has never been a favorite. Could I hunt, kill and then eat? I don't know. Probably if stavation was setting in. Roadkill??? I gotta think about that. :))

Patricia L said...

The area of IL where I'm originally from is so over-populated with deer that they have a HUGE hunting season and encourage hunters from the tri-state area (and beyond) to come and help "control" the population. I'm not sure what they do with the roadkill-- and trust me, during hunting season especially, there is plenty of it.

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

That's funny, Patricia L. beat me to it. I'm also from IL and the deer population is out of control. Usually if you hit a deer they ask you if you want to keep it. If not, there's a list and it goes to the next name on the list. My mom hit a deer (totalled her car) a few years back and they asked her if she wanted it. Thankfully, she said no.

Carmen said...

We've got deer and skunks. With my luck the call would only come in for skunk.

The Source said...

At least it's a moose. And at least they get put on a list. Down here in good old South Carolina folks have been known to fight over the still steaming deer carcasses on the side of the road.

My in-laws think it's funny to feed me things and tell me later that I just ate raccoon, possum or eel. After 20 years of that, I only eat meat at their house if I SAW it come out of the package.

Trixie said...

Haa haa, it's like that with deer here in Michigan. Game is one of the best lean organic meats you can get and most of the time it's way cheaper when you get it yourself.

Of course I'm not signing up to eat opossum or racoon anytime soon :)

Trixie

SmallTownRunner said...

We actually do have a similar list in Indiana for when people hit deer with their cars.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I'm pretty sure we have the same road-kill phone chain here in Minnesota -- only it's for deer, as noted by some other Northern Midwesterners.

And I had bear once. It was pretty greasy and very sweet. Not bad, but I wouldn't want it again, if you know what I mean.

chelle said...

So rather than eat the meat, what would be done with it? sheesh. I am all for using what nature provides. I have never tried moose, but deer, buffalo and elk are yummy.

Jenna Consolo said...

Good idea! I imagine the moose do become a lot less awe-inspiring when they start destroying gardens. I'll never forget the thrill of seeing them when we visited, though. Don't know that I want to eat them.

Hey, I LOVE the new look of your blog! Very, very cool. Did you do that yourself?

Headless Mom said...

I'm all at once horrified and laughing at this!

edj said...

Once we went to a conference in Pennsylvania and our driver told us of a similar program with deer that they have there. I've eaten ground bear in chili and it was fine.
Here in Morocco, we go one step further: We have Carrion Cafe, serving coffee. The name isn't meant to be funny--most people here don't speak English. I love it, although I always stick to the coffee ;)

PS Blogger hates me today--won't let me post on openID. Grr. It's edj from Planet Nomad.

april said...

You crack me up!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

What is amazing is that even after they get rid of the damaged meat from a moose, there is usually about 500 lbs. (at least)left over. But I have to admit that my man does look pretty good, even when he is gutting the moose. I'll have to show this post to Curtis, he will love it Michelle!

Bobbie in AK said...

Bear burgers are quite tasty. You just need to know when it's okay to eat them - berry or fish season , one is good, one is bad. I forget which.
Moose, by far, is my favorite meat. I am not adverse to trying muk-tuk. Personally, I think the road-kill program is great for those who need the meat and who can get out there and get the job done - why let the meat go to waste?
Great post.

Lynn said...

HA! I think the only thing we get in these parts is raccoon, and there's no way in hell I would eat one of those.

Moose doesn't sound too bad though. I have a friend who lived in Alaska for a few years, and he ate some of the craziest stuff I'd ever heard of! Shot most of it too ... hmm.

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

When I moved to West Virginia, My best friend gave me a bumper sticker saying: "I eat my own roadkill."

MommyTime said...

As long as you call it "squab," it's totally posh to eat pigeon. :)

Also, I think there is something kind of honest, that PETA ought to be more in favor of, about hunting your own meat. It's free range, anti-biotic and growth-hormone free. You are facing the facts about where your food comes from and taking responsibility for every step of it. Not that I could ever do this, mind you. But just that I think it ought to be far lower on PETA's list of sins than, say, raising minks to make a coat out of.

Michelle said...

I'm okay with others hunting and have been known to eat assorted meats and sausages made by what would be considered unusual meat. I'm like you though and struggle with raw meat in my own house. I cannot even de-bone a chicken. In fact, I cannot serve chicken with a bone in it! Crazy, isn't it?

Daisy said...

In our area, we worry about hitting deer. So mundane, I know! I've never eaten moose, but I do enjoy venison and buffalo meats. Maybe I should have been born into a family of hunters? Nah. I'm fine with the market.

Terresa said...

Yes, I, too have a problem with raw meat. Funny, isn't it? I can eat it just fine if someone else preps and cooks it, but if I have to handle it, I gross out.

Pass the menu, please. :)

Stephanie Frieze said...

When my children and I were faced with hard times the hunting brother of a friend gave us a lot of game. Most of it was ground and in tacos or spaghetti or lasagna it was fine and we were grateful for the food. I buy buffalo sometimes because it is supposed to have less fat and be better protein, but it comes from the super market in a nice meat tray with plastic wrap. I'd probably starve in the wilderness because I'd have trouble doing more than try to catch a fish.

Inkling said...

Yeah, I hear you on the bear thing. We had a juvenile bear adopt our house this fall, thanks to our landlord thinking it was okay to store the garbage cans outside in a rubbermaid "shed". The bear tore it apart and dined on his favorite food of all.....my son's dirty diapers. No kidding. The conservation agent told me diapers are a favorite, even above kitchen garbage. So it was my job to convince the landlord to give us garage access to properly store our garbage. The juvenile bear can dine on someone else's droppings, and will hopefully leave us alone....because I looked pretty funny ringing a bear bell, talking loudly, and wielding a big stick while carrying my son and the diaper bag to the car for every errand.

tonyastaab.com said...

I'm a little speechless :).

Although, when I think back to when I was little and we lived on a farm, my dad caught a rabbit or two for dinner on occasion. I think I've blocked out what it tasted like, although maybe it was okay.

Lori said...

My mom was just telling me about these lists! I think they extend even to deer and dogs around here, but I've heard that most people pick them up and take them to our local zoo/big animal rescue for the tigers and lions.

This did remind me of a shirt my dad had when I was little that said "The Roadkill Cafe--you kill em, we grill em", supposedly from a real place, unless he was just trying to get me to freak out!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised you've lived here all this time and haven't had bear. I've only been here a few years and have had it several times. Its pretty good. ;)

Kim said...

LOL! Loved your post. We don't have moose here, but lots of deer. This past year there were a lot of accidents in the early summer.
We hit a deer a few years ago, couldn't take it with us as the car was packed. Dh went back with the truck but someone had already grabbed it. :-(

Unplanned Cooking said...

This post reminds me of the time I saw my husband's brothers carve up a deer in ND :)

WEndy said...

I agree with what Mommy Time said about it seeming more realistic to use an animal for a necessity than for a luxury. Hunters provide a very necessary service to us all, keeping the deer, moose, or whatever populations under control is important not only to our safty and comfort but to the deer population as well. A few die so not everyone has to starve type thing. Wish we could have a free Moose. 500lbs of free meat, who wouldn't want that? Crazy.

Michele said...

I became a vegetarian when I was 13 - couldn't stand the thought of eating a cute animal. Still can't 29 years later. I would never make it in Alaska!

Organizing Mommy said...

I love moose! My dad is a big moose hunter. He travels all the way to Newfoundland to hunt and pays to have the thing shipped back. He could come and take a few out for you...