Apparently most people still haven't caught on that PETA is not actually an animal-rights activism group but rather a long-running practical joke. It has to be, right? Surely a group that gets witless celebutantes to undress for anti-fur campaigns and tries to get people to call fish "sea kittens"--even as it euthanizes 85 percent of the animals it rescues--is conducting some elaborate social experiment.
As if to remove any doubt that the organization is just a bunch of merry pranksters, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have come up with their most ridiculous stunt yet: demanding that Punxsutawney Phil, the famous weather-predicting Pennsylvania groundhog, be replaced with a robot.
The organization's form letter on the subject suggests that Phil and other groundhogs could be sent to a sanctuary--which sounds awfully similar to the "farm out in the country" cover story parents tell children just before they take an out-of-control dog to a PETA shelter to be put down. And even if Phil weren't euthanized, he would have to live the rest of his life knowing he was replaced by a robot, as if he were just another Detroit auto worker.
Phil hasn't been laid off yet. Today, he saw his shadow, meaning we're in for another six weeks of winter. But if animatronic rodents do replace groundhogs for the February 2 Groundhog Day tradition, groundhogs (also known as woodchucks) will still be useful for one thing: good eatin'! Following are a few recipes using the critters.
First of all, you'll need to clean the critter. Here's WildlifeRecipes.net's suggested cleaning method.
Woodchuck, also known as groundhog, should be handled in accordance with the general rules for game in the field. The blood should be drained, and the entrails removed and the body cavity wiped clean. When hung for 48 hours, they are ready to the skinned and cooked. Woodchuck meat is dark, but mild flavored and tender. It does not require soaking; however, many people like to soak it overnight in salt water. If the woodchuck is caught just before he begins his winter sleep, there is an insulating fat layer under the skin. Remove excess fat. remove 7 to 9 "kernels" (scent glands) in the small of the back and under the forearms. Parboil the meat of older animals; cook by recipes calling for chicken or rabbit.
Woodchuck Stew (via WildlifeRecipes.net)
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Vinegar and water
Salt and pepper
Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into serving pieces. Soak overnight in a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar with addition of one sliced onion and a little salt. Drain, wash, and wipe. Parboil 20 minutes, drain, and cover with fresh boiling water. Add one sliced onion, celery, a few cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender; thicken gravy with flour.
Dave's Groundhog Sliders (modification of Groundhog Patties recipe at Frugal Yankee)
After cleaning and cutting, remove meat from bones and grind. Add bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, egg, and fat; mix thoroughly. Form into patties; dip into egg; then dip in bread crumbs. Fry in hot fat until brown. Cover with currant jelly sauce and place in slow oven for 1 hour. Serve on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.
Contry-Style [sic] Groundhog (via hevanet.com)
1. 1 groundhog
2. 1/2 c. flour
3. 1/4 tsp. salt
4. 1/4 tsp. pepper
5. 1/4 tsp. soda
6. 1/4 c. cooking oil
7. 1/2 tsp. sugar
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NOTE:Clean and skin as soon as possible. Remove all sent [sic] glands. Cut off head, feet and tail. Cure in cool place by suspending from hook approximately 4 days. When ready to cook, lard according to recipe. Dress groundhog as for rabbit, removing the small sacs in the back and under the forearm. Soak groundhog overnight in salted water to remove wild flavor. Combine flour, salt, pepper and sada; rub into groundhog pieces. Brown grounhog in hot oil in skillet; sprinkle with sugar. Reduce heat; add 1/2 cup water. Cover; simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Remove cover; cook for 10 minutes longer.
Oriental Groundhog (via Frugal Yankee)
2 qts Water
1/2c Soy sauce
2 whole Garlic cloves
1 jalpeno pepper
2T Chili powder
1/4 bunch Parsley
4 Beef bouillon cubes
1/4t Freshly-ground pepper
1 cup Beef or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut meat into serving pieces. Soak in 1 quart water and salt for 3 hours. Transfer meat to 1 quart clear water and soak 4 hours. Drain and dry meat. Place meat in a baking pan. Add beef broth, soy sauce, garlic cloves, jalapeno, onion, chili powder, parsley, bouillon cubes and white pepper. Cover and bake at 350º for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Baste frequently. Brush with teriyaki glaze while cooking.
Recipe By: Hunters Information Service