RECIPE – Coyote: It’s What’s For Dinner

Coyote: it’s what’s for dinner. A 55 or 60 grain .223 is a good choice for coyotes and leaves plenty of meat for tacos. Photo by Nick Holloway.

I’m the kind of guy who likes to eat what he kills. I’ve eaten 18 species of land animals, so far, and each of them has been totally tasty. This includes coyotes.

Now, most hunters can’t fathom eating coyotes and they just assume that they are disgusting to eat. They’re dogs, after all, right? Well, a good portion of the world’s population eats dogs on occasion, too. In fact, my first canine dining experience was in China. The following recipe is much better than the dog and rabbit soup I had in Hebei Province.

 

Coyote hunting is adventurous and keeps you hunting all year. When a coyote comes running in to your call, you forget the cold and discomfort in the excitement of the hunt.

The fact is, you just can’t trust hearsay when it comes to eating wild game – after all, most of the guys who won’t touch coyote also think pronghorn is disgusting (try this recipe). They think that coyotes eat carrion and so they must taste like rotten meat. Well, the fact is coyotes eat more seeds, berries, and live mice than they scavenge kills from other predators. Their meat is rich and tender and if you’re out there killing coyotes, I think you owe it to them to at least give them an honest taste.

Safety First

As with all predators, your coyote probably carries trichinosis. When you’re third-grade teacher told you’d get worms if you didn’t wash your hands, she was talking about trichinosis. It’s a parasite that lives in animals that eat meat, like pigs, bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. Its offspring can grow inside you and make you sick if you don’t cook the meat thoroughly. Predator meat needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 160 Fahrenheit to neutralize the parasite.

If this grosses you out and makes you really not want to eat coyotes, then you should take pork off your menu, too, because pigs are also likely to have trichinosis. Basically, cook your food well, clean up your cooking area and tools and you’ll be fine.

Even a coyote with mange is still ok to eat. Mange is the result of a mite that lives in the hair follicles, and it doesn’t affect the inside of the coyote at all. One symptom of mange is a splotchy coat with patches of fur missing.

Preparation: Trim the Fat

One significant difference between eating pork and eating coyote is that pork fat doesn’t usually have an unappetizing aroma. Coyote fat, however, has a peculiar chemical-like odor, and it tastes the same as it smells. You need to remove all the fat and as much of the silver skin as you can so your meat doesn’t have that “off” flavor.

Start with the Straps

While the hams and shoulders are also good to eat, the back straps are easy, so if you’re going to give this go I’d recommend starting there. You can remove them with a gutless method. After you remove the back straps and trim the fat away, you’ll find that they no longer have that peculiar smell. They just smell like high-quality meat, and that’s exactly how they’ll taste.

Cut the straps crosswise into steaks about 1.5″ to 2″ wide.

Marinate

Start by marinating your coyote for at least a few hours, and leaving it overnight or a couple of days is just fine, too. Make sure it stays refrigerated. Use your favorite red meat marinade, or try this in a zip-lock bag:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves of garlic, sliced

Use as much oil and vinegar as you need to cover the meat in the bag. Black pepper would be a good addition. Consider adding some cayenne, thyme or sage as well. remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking so it can come to room temperature.

Fall or early winter coyotes have a pelt that is thick and soft and fetches a good price. After February, the long guard hairs (those black-tipped hairs on the back) start to shed and the value goes way down. But the meat is still good!

Cook Well Done

Over medium heat, let your pan get nice and hot so that even the rim is hot to the touch so that the pan will maintain its heat when you add the cool meat. Use some oil in the pan or your marinade.

Unlike steaks from elk or deer, don’t brown the outsides and eat the meat medium rare. Rather, cook them slowly and let the inside cook fully. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the interior reaches 160 degrees.

 

Slice and Serve

Now just slice the meat crosswise into strips and serve. This meat is great with street tacos or fajitas, and it goes nicely with some spice in chili. My kids even like it with a sweet-and-sour sauce served over rice. It’s got a rich, meaty flavor and a pleasant texture. It goes well with spicy sauces.

If you’re killing coyotes, I dare you to eat them. Treat them like good meat, and they’ll treat you well, too. Cook the meat thoroughly, but not too fast or it’ll become dry. Slice it thin and serve it in tacos, and I bet your friends won’t even realize they’re eating one of the most wiley critters in America.

Coyotes are unique to America. They are fun to hunt, their pelts can offset your gas money, and there’s enough meat to keep you in tacos for a couple of weeks.

About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Andrew January 12, 2021, 4:37 pm

    I came here looking for a recipe for coyote.

    I 100% appreciated the “you owe to them to at least give them an honest taste.”

    You’re a genuinely good person. Thank you for this article.

  • Zachary Truskolaski March 9, 2020, 10:08 am

    Just killed my second yote and I’m enjoying pulled coyote BBQ sandwiches. The 1st one went to tacos. Tasty stuff, it really is good meat. Also what a great way to keep your marksmanship skills up during the off season. No more depressing lulls between Deer and bear!

  • jeffrey April 5, 2019, 2:43 pm

    Coyotes are not unique to America. Coyote’s range throughout North America and northern Central America. United States, Canada, Northern and Central Mexico and Panama.

    • jeffrey's dad August 20, 2020, 1:29 pm

      Yeah so I don’t know how to break it to you buddy but all the places you listed are considered America. If he meant the United States he would have said so.

  • Jeff April 1, 2019, 2:34 pm

    Thank goodness I am a Jew and observe the kosher laws. Coyotes are not kosher. Plus, coyotes will kill and eat anything.

  • mrpski April 1, 2019, 2:32 pm

    I never would have tried AZ mountain lion until a few years back-now I get an over the counter tag every year. Just like this coyote marinade works best but I had this lion barbecued marinated in italian salad oil dressing and it was great. Looked a lot like and tasted like pork. So no “tastes like chicken” jokes from me.

    Suppose I will try the coyote also if it is offered. By golly you never know-would never have known lion was so good

  • David Bradford April 1, 2019, 10:07 am

    I have a theory that our aversion to eating other meat-eating animals is more instinctual rather than cultural. Outside of aquatic lifeforms and invertebrates, nearly all predators avoid eating other (strictly) carnivores or scavengers. That holds true for just about anything that walks, crawls, or flies with the exception being dedicated scavengers like vultures, jackals, hyenas and excludes aquatic life as a whole. When people eat carnivore meat (usually cats, large and small) it is usually out of desperation or ritualistic. The more likely an omnivore is to eat meat the less likely it is to be hunted and eaten.

    • Joanna S December 29, 2020, 4:07 pm

      I am interested in this comment. Do you mean to say that it is for protection? The more likely an omnivore goes out to hunt the greater the risk something could eat it?

  • Ronald Peek April 1, 2019, 7:30 am

    Well heck…Guess i’m gonna have to try me some skunk now. Good article.

  • Donald Hoyle March 9, 2019, 1:59 pm

    That said , whats your best recipe for the common house cat? Other than the grill of course!

    • Levi Sim March 14, 2019, 1:39 am

      I’ve had some tasty bobcat jerky, but I haven’t had the opportunity to try Felix domesticus–yet.

  • Dr. Strangelove March 9, 2019, 5:24 am

    For some odd reason, I just had a Beverley Hillbillies flashback.

  • Marcia Mason March 8, 2019, 7:28 pm

    The thought of eating canine turns my stomach, I will have nightmares for weeks now. Didn’t think the article title was serious or I wouldn’t have started to read it. No, eating what you shoot does NOT include predators or vermin.

    • Jon Shephard August 30, 2020, 10:28 pm

      Well, if your not gonna eat it then dont kill it, it’s that simple.

  • Toprudder March 8, 2019, 10:49 am

    OH! I thought you were talking about those folks who bring illegals into this country and sell them into human bondage.

  • MB March 8, 2019, 10:13 am

    Trichinosis hasn’t been in domestic food supply for many years, but all meat from unknown sources should be carefully cooked. Avoid reptiles and amphibians because the parasites that live in them are hard to kill.

  • Matt March 8, 2019, 9:51 am

    I wonder, Does the writer eat fox ?

    • Levi Sim March 8, 2019, 5:16 pm

      I have eaten fox. It was a lot like coyote.

  • Black March 8, 2019, 9:36 am

    Raccoon roast was among the best roasts I’ve ever made. Succulent, soft, very tasty. Recipe: skin, clean, salt and pepper, 400 degrees for 30 minutes, cover, lower temp to 190-200, 3 hours. Serve.

  • Terry Price March 8, 2019, 8:27 am

    I also like to eat what I kill just thinking that it might make great jerky but not sure about the 160 deg. What do you think ?

    • Levi Sim March 8, 2019, 5:17 pm

      I think you’d better get it up to temp. I’ve heard that keeping the meat frozen for a certain time also kills the parasites, but I haven’t substantiated that, yet.

  • Frank S. March 8, 2019, 8:07 am

    Most people have an adverse reaction to eating Coyote because they look too much like Fido, the family pet. Same with rabbits and some other animals… and some people with “Bambi”. To many city folks who don’t realize where meat in the grocery store comes form — it’s just a package! I grew up on a farm and helped raise the occasional pig (grand dad would buy a piglet and raise it up to butcher, not a lot of pigs around!), but mostly cows and chickens. As a whole we are to far removed from the farm! Want fried chicken for dinner? Go out in the yard and wring a chickens neck, pluck and clean, and you can have it in 2-3 hours! Most people don’t seem to realize where the grocer meat comes from, and you have the animal rights people who don’t realize what it takes to put it there! My brother runs a chicken farm (broilers). those poor animals! Yeah, they have a heated and air conditioned house, don’t have to search out food or water, always a ready supply! They live a good life for about 8 weeks they off to the slaughter house… what God intended, really. There is a food chain and some animals multiply readily for a reason — to feed those higher up!

  • Jimbo March 6, 2019, 8:49 pm

    Just don’t think I could eat crows. They eat too much trash. Anyone here eat them?

    • Levi Sim March 8, 2019, 5:20 pm

      I really want to, but I haven’t had a chance, yet. People say the same about pigeons, which I have eaten. Pigeon is just fine–granted, I ate cliff pigeons form the desert, not from the city.

      • Charles Sappington December 6, 2019, 9:00 pm

        Have had pigeon several times they are just like Dove taste the same also have had blackbird when growing up.

    • Randall December 6, 2019, 7:34 pm

      I have been told the only bird you should never eat is a buzzard. This is because they have no poop hole and they regurgitate their waste. Just what I’ve been told.

      • Bill January 11, 2021, 6:09 am

        turkey vultures definitely poop…my deer stand has had many gallons of it from them raising their young in it. My trail cam caught plenty of action in there. They claim vultures poo is actually a sanitizer, they go on their feet after dinning to clean-up, like a wet nap.

  • Lloyd Dumas March 6, 2019, 11:13 am

    If it walks, crawls, fly or swims it’s good eating, meat is meat.

  • JGinNJ March 5, 2019, 8:49 am

    I get teased a lot for eating Coots. Never thought of trying coyote! I learned though as a child that meat is meat – when we skinned a frog and suddenly we had what looked like any other meat in our hands. We cooked it up and I still remember how good it was. How about Woodchuck? I kept telling a nephew that the woodchucks he was trying to get rid of were eating his lettuce, they are good to eat. Sure enough, once you skin it, as I wrote, meat is meat.

    • Levi Sim March 5, 2019, 11:37 am

      Yup, we have rock chucks, here, which are virtually the same animal. I’ve been dying to try coots–we have a high bag limit. Meat is Meat. Some just needs to be more well done.

      • Sgt. Pop March 5, 2019, 12:09 pm

        Coot, blackened is great appetizer. Marinated in buttermilk overnight the cooked like other duck is good also, skinning is good, better is getting them when they first arrive south here before they feed a while taking on the marsh delta bottom flavor. My milage, yours may vary……

  • Eddie March 5, 2019, 7:25 am

    Can you say Kagogi? LoL

    We should sell coyotes to China.

    • Levi Sim March 5, 2019, 11:38 am

      There’s an idea for fixing the trade deficit!

  • Dennis Droege March 5, 2019, 5:25 am

    I thought I was the only person who had eaten coyote. Thanks for the article.

    • Levi Sim March 5, 2019, 11:38 am

      You’re not alone! Thanks for eating what you kill.

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