How to Prepare Rattlesnake for Cooking

Rattlesnake is considered a delicacy and is prepared (dressed) for cooking in one only way but can be cooked in a variety of ways. It can be grilled, boiled, fried and baked (see Resource 1 for recipes). Check with your local fish and game commission on laws concerning hunting rattlesnake. Rattlesnake can also be purchased.

Put on thick gloves that cannot be punctured by the snake's teeth. Grasp the snake firmly, place it on the laminated cutting board and remove the head approximately four inches below its base with a fish fillet knife. Be extremely careful, as the head can still bite for several hours after the animal is dead. Discard the head inside a sealed container or freeze it if you'd like to keep it.

Using the fillet knife, slit the snake from head to tail along the center of its underbelly. Sever the tail completely with the fillet knife. Peel away the skin starting at the blunt tail end and pull upward to the other end of the snake. The skin will pull away easily, with little force.

Gently scoop out the intestines and organs with your gloved hand and place in the garbage. Rinse the snake meat in cold water for a few minutes to clean it.

Hold the snake firmly and cut the snake in half, width-wise, with the fillet knife, and place in a sealed container with 1/4 cup salt and enough water to cover over the meat if you want to prepare it for a dish later on. Seal the container securely and place in the freezer. The nerves of a freshly killed snake will allow it to move freely for several hours until you cook it. If you want to cook it fresh, simply follow the recipes (see resource 1) of your choice. If you want to de-bone the animal for your recipe, place it in a pot with enough water to cover it and add 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Simmer on medium heat for approximately one hour and the meat should pull away from the bone nicely.

Thoroughly clean your knife, cutting board, and surrounding surfaces with soap and a sponge to remove any possible traces of venom. Throw away the sponge after use.