Frog Cleaning

I have processed many different types of game and fish from bluegill to bull elk and everything in between. I will say that cleaning frogs is by far one of the most challenging for me to this day, not because of the difficulty of preparing them for the freezer, but the fact that even after 24 hours on ice and obviously deceased they still kick and jump during the cleaning process. Therefore, I did not include a video with this post. However, if you understand the anatomy of amphibians and reptiles it makes it easier to process these abundant food resources.

The Equipment

Before you begin the process of cleaning the frogs you will need to gather a few things. I would recommend doing this outside, as it can get messy, but if you must do it inside have the following items: Cutting board, fillet knife, pliers, two bowls (one for the guts and one filled with salt water), and a vacuum sealer and bag.

Step 1

You will want to start by clipping the back feet off with the scissors. This allows the skin to come off smoothly and it does look a little creepy when you serve the frog if the toes are still attached.

Step 2

Next, make a cut behind the head of the frog. You will notice that the skin of a frog is not like most other animals. It is more like a sock, meaning it is just covering the meat, not attached as you would find on a mammal. I would say that it more like catfish skin than anything else.

Step 3

The third step in this process is skinning the frog. You will want a pair of skinning pliers, or if you don’t have those handy you can use a pair of normal pliers, or if you are not squeamish just use your hands. You will want to grab the edge of the cuts that you have just made and in one smooth motion pull the skin towards the feet. This will leave you with a frog that is skinless from the head down.

Step 4

Use a heavy-duty pair of scissors to cut the two bones just above the frog’s hind legs. They come down to form a “V” just above the legs. You will have to give this some effort, as the bones are rather thick and can be hard to cut. Once you have cut the bones, hold the frog upside down by its legs and continue to cut until the body of the frog is separated from the legs. you will then have the two back legs.

Step 5

Cut the legs in half, using the scissors. Grab one leg and hold it, allowing the other let to hang. Then take the scissors and cut one leg free from the other. This will leave you with two separated frog legs.

Optional.

If I have big frogs, usually in the 2-3-pound range I will cut the front legs off as well. They need to be cooked longer than the back legs. They tend to be a little tougher, but I use them for tacos after I pick the meat. They are also great for soups and stock. This is an optional step and honesty isn’t worth it unless you have some giants, but I like to use every part of the animal that is safe to eat.

Step 6

I prefer to soak my legs in salt water for about an hour and let them rest in the fridge. I feel like this lets them keep longer in the freezer. If you do choose to use this step, be prepared, the muscles will react with the salt water and begin to twitch and move. I think it is a cool science lesson to share, but I have seen a few people be weirded out by this reaction.

Step 7

The last step is preparing them for the freezer. Use a vacuum-sealable bag and place the frog legs inside. Make sure not to overcrowd the bag. Place the frog legs in vertically so that the air can escape the bag. The less air you have in the bag, the longer you can keep them in the freezer.

This can be a messy job, but it is well worth it. My house does not have the opportunity to eat much white meat. We try and eat what we can hunt, so besides fish and a few game birds, we have a limited menu. I welcome the opportunity to put some frogs in the freezer every year.

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About the author: Jake Wallace was introduced to the shotgun sports after breaking his hips when he was 11, which forced him into a wheelchair for 23 months. He saw a shooting program on one of the outdoor networks and thought that it was something he could do from a chair. Jake started shooting ATA from a chair and progressed to international when he was able to walk again. He loves being in the outdoors because nothing clears his mind like sitting in the woods or on a boat. Jake was part of Lindenwood University’s history of success having graduated from there in 2012 after being a part of four ACUI National Championships for the Lions from 2009-12. He currently resides in Colorado Springs where he’s a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. JAKE WALLACE: Hunting for Trap Superiority http://www.usashooting.org/news/usasnews/USAnews-2017-August/?page=22 Competition Highlights • 2018 World Cup Gold Medalist, Mixed Team • 2017 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2017 World Championships Team Member • 2017 Qatar Open, First Place • 2016 Fall Selection Match Champion • 2015 Shotgun Team Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 USA Shooting National Championships, Gold Medalist • 2014 Championship of the Americas, Silver Medalist – shot a perfect 125 in qualification to tie World Record • 2014 Fall Selection, Silver Medalist • 2014 Spring Selection, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Granada World Cup, Sixth Place • 2013 World Clay Target Championships Team Member • 2013 National Championships, Bronze Medalist • 2013 Spring Selection Match, Bronze Medalist • 2010 World Championships Junior Team, Silver Medalist (w/ M. Gossett) • 2010 World Championships Junior Team Member

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • William Moody August 17, 2021, 11:02 am

    My Dad taught me to remove the nerve from the legs before cooking to keep them from “jumping” from the pan. It is the black looking “cord” in the joint and the legs will kick when removing it,

  • Larry Mills August 4, 2020, 10:06 pm

    when my kids were 9 and10 i took them froggen we got quite a few we got home i showed them how to clean them then my wife tryed to fix them for supper and we heard a loud noise from kitchen and my wife comes out of kitchen and had a comment like you said she went on to say she would not fix anything that moves when it jumped out of pan and landed on her foot

  • Norman Dvorak August 4, 2020, 7:07 am

    When I was younger I went frog gigging often. When I read your article I noticed that you did not keep the back strap and to me this is the best part of the frog. I know you said you and your family did not eat much white meat but if cooked right it is very delicious.

    • Brad Howren August 5, 2020, 1:42 am

      I’ve ate frogs all my life. I cut in the middle of the back, right where it’s joint is. Insert 4 fingers, 2 on each side and pull like you’re trying to pull it in two. Skin right up to head and all 4 feet, like a squirrel, then cut feet & head off. I keep whole thing, it’s all frog meat.

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