Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Patrons Gone Wild: Cherry Smoked BBQ Pulled Beaver Sandwiches

Once upon a time, way up North in the hither regions of the Canadian shield, I found myself encamped upon the tranquil shores of a beaver0wilderness lake. It was night, and all the stars were scattered like diamonds across the blackened canvas above. A chorus of frog song belched from the ether as I wafted off to sleep in my tent, ensconced in nylon and downy feathers. Intermediate loons gently wailed. Let it be said, that nothing is quite so fine as a good night’s slumber in the wilder places, lulled to rest amid the gentle sounds of the forest veld. Truly pleasant. And this would have been the case too, iffin it weren’t for them darn cantaloupes.

I didn’t know cantaloupe trees grew in Canada. And I never saw any there, but that night I swear they were ripening off the branches and plunking into the lake just outside my tent door. “Kerploosh!!” One would go, followed closely by a span of quietude and then another well-meaning, and well-placed “Kerploosh!” I poked my head out the tent flap, moonbeams sparkling off the surface of the lake. And there he was, a lone, but handsome beaver, trolling stoically through his environs.

Could you keep it down“, I croaked, “A feller needs his winks!”

The beaver responded rather rudely, and dove under, with a final last gesture of slapping his tail on the water. And go figure, it sounded just like a cantaloupe landing in the lake. The beaver equivalent, I thus deduced, of flipping me the finger.

Well I never…” I muttered, as I curled back up in the tent, where eventually I dawdled off to sleep. A sleep in vain tho, ravaged by dreams. I drempt of a 500 pound, monster beaver, waddling up out of the lake, and in turn laying waste to my humble encampment. It’s saber like teeth slashing my tent apart, and felling young trees with aplomb. With frying pan in hand, we dueled like man and beast would, grunting and groaning, with occasional wind sprints for higher ground. It was a stalemate. A backwoods stand-off. And mercifully I awoke at dawn. Relieved. Sunlight filled the tent. Tweety birds sang from the tree tops, and the lake sweetly lapped upon the rocky shore, whilst the summer breeze whispered through the pine. I stretched there like a spoiled house cat, scratching my belly, content again, and just glad to be alive. My relationship with the almighty beaver was forged. Not to mention a Pavlovian thing with cantaloupes.

Fast forward a great many years later, to just last week in point of fact. I, through good fortune acquired myself the hind quarters of a beaver. Don’t ask me how. When you’re known in your community as a grill junkie, strange meats have a way of finding you. And thus I found myself, perusing the vast cyber sphere for beaver recipes. I’m not going to lie to you, I hadn’t the first clue how to BBQ a beaver. Turns out the inter-web was of little value too. Only like four people eat beavers out there. Least wise those who wanted to write about it. Well, make that five now, and here is how it went, and came to be.


I decided to treat the meat like any other I would prepare for the pit. Firstly marinating the beaver legs for a couple of hours in a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce and garlic. Then, dusting them over with a suitable rub. We used Sweet & Smoky Rub, by the good folks at McCormick. That seemed to appeal correctly to my pit jockey instincts. Then for good measure, I hit them over with a Cajun Blast, for to add some heat to the mix. I shrugged my shoulders, and took the plunder out to the pit.


I’m sure the keen-eyed readership will note a rack of ribs in the back, and I can explain that. Think of it rather as an insurance policy! You know, a little something to fall back on should this foray into beaver go asunder. Like Clint Eastwood used to bellow, a man has got to know his limitations. And I wasn’t sure yet if I was limited in beaver craft. (The scraps of meat up front, are back straps from the beaver). Anyways, two hours we let it go on the pit, running roughly at 275 degrees. Bathed in glorious hickory and cherry wood smoke. And it smelled point-blank amazing. At the genesis of the third hour, we foiled the beaver.


Foiled the beaver legs with a long squirt or two of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce, and a good tendril of honey. Foiling the meat like this, is a good old trick known in BBQ circles as the Texas Crutch. Many a pitmaster proper does it with ribs or brisket, for to sort of steam the meat for a spell, loosen it up, and make it tender. I figured a beaver might like a trip to the spa as well, so I foiled him, almost out of habit. Returned him to the pit, and went way of most men who BBQ for long hours – to the man chair, belly up with a lovely beverage in hand.


From my chair, let’s just say all the world was right. I could see out the patio door to the pit, first off, to admire it puffing contentedly away there. There is just something about wood smoke rising on a cold day that which sings straight to my soul. It soothes thee. Likewise, just past my toes, and over a field of soft carpeting, the NFL playoffs adorn the big screen TV, and the fireplace crackles off to the side. What more could a man want! I sigh as I pull an old grandma blanket up over me, and sink further into the recliner. A slight droopiness washes over me. This is the high rigors of competent BBQ, people! You gotta know how to deal with the pace!

I dosed off amid the banter on the TV, and once again, a beaver had made it full circle into my dreams. This time however, I was the victor, and convincingly so, whilst its unruly meat came to succulence swaddled in tin foil. I awoke hungry, and sidled out to the pit. Here is what I found…


Around three hours, maybe a little more, it was falling off the bone. Good enough for my likes. Pulling it, I had to admire its smoke ring, and bark. The texture and appearance of beef. It’s savory succulence! It was thus piled high onto a toasted hoagie roll and consumed. Scarfed like it’s namesake to a Poplar tree! Tasted akin to beef, but with a faint tang of wild game. Very good. And once again, patron to the pit!


Cherry Smoked BBQ Pulled Beaver on a toasted Hoagie Roll. For an aquatic rodent, it weren’t half bad. In fact it was good!

56 responses

  1. I LMAO when reading about your beaver invading your dreams. I do agree that there is nothing like camping in the true wilderness. We love it and did it for many years. I have to admit that I have had nothing but peaceful dreams. We camped with out two dogs.That helped to keep the critters away…. BBQ beaver sounds delicious to me.

    January 14, 2015 at 10:30 am

    • Thank you kindly. Glad you sleep good in the bush. I do most nights, but that night, man the beavers got to me I guess. It’s good fun tho.


      January 14, 2015 at 10:56 am

  2. One of those things I might try if you didn’t tell me what it was!?

    January 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

    • Haha, words my wife would say. Thanks!

      January 14, 2015 at 10:54 am

      • POTP< I have a question we have duly rubbed,mopped and smoked a 14 lb beef brisket, now decided to do burnt ends with fat cap mopped for another hour, any advice or tips on burnt ends?

        January 24, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      • Yum! Well burnt ends are usually done with the point of the brisket. Diced to around a cubes inch or so, put in a pan with some sauce and generally placed back on the pit for a half hour to an hour and half. One rookie mistake is to leave them cooking too long, and you end up with something resembling charcoal briquettes. So check in on them here and there and let them know they are loved.

        Most folk just hit them with more rub and sauce before thy cook them, but you can also pour in a cup of apple cider vinegar along with your favorite sauce to amp up the flavor a bit. No need for any more smoke wood tho, in my opinion, as the brisket has been smoked plenty already. Foiling the pan also helps produce a super tender end game.

        Good luck! I have faith in you!

        January 24, 2015 at 8:14 pm

  3. Pingback: Patrons Gone Wild: Cherry Smoked BBQ Pulled Beaver Sandwhiches - Best 2 Buy Outdoor

  4. I’ve eaten a lot of things – but not beaver! I’m glad that it turned out tasty, but how could it not with the treatment it got? 🙂 I’m in Texas, and pretty much, everything tastes good once you rub and smoke it!

    January 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

    • Nice, thanks Kate! Indeed, I pampered that thing. I truly believe I gave it the best shot I could at tasting good. And it did. Sorry about your cowboys. They had a good run!

      January 14, 2015 at 11:22 am

  5. I love your insurance policy. Rule #1 When trying a foreign meat always have a back up plan!! Was the meat fatty? Beavers look pretty chubby…

    January 14, 2015 at 11:18 am

    • Oh yes, I had the bases covered, so to speak. I wasn’t going to let the beaver get the best of me. The beaver legs, which is what we smoked, seemed the have the same fat as a chicken leg, or there abouts. It was moist at the end of the cook, so, yeah, there was certainly some fat in there. Thanks!

      January 14, 2015 at 11:26 am

  6. Now you’ve got me putting beaver on my bucket list!

    January 14, 2015 at 11:36 am

    • I would have thunk, being Mrs Deerslayer and all, you would already have a few tucked away in your freezer! Anyways, knowing your taste for wild game, I suspect you’ll love beaver meat! It’s quite good.

      Thanks Mrs Deerslayer!

      January 14, 2015 at 12:41 pm

  7. Amazing. I would never have thought of barbecuing a beaver. Very inventive. I suppose one could say “Dam fine”.

    January 14, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    • Well thank you, Sir. Not many folk eat them, but let it be said, that taste just fine!

      January 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm

  8. I was reminded of when I first moved to Craig, Colorado. Folks up there hunt and eat antelope and I arrived during antelope season. All of our new friends invited us for dinner and fed us antelope. After the first meal we tried to beg off saying we did not really like antelope. Everyone would then say, “Well, you just haven’t had it cooked the way my wife cooks it….” I bought that explanation for a few more visits until I decided that it did not matter how one cooked antelope – it tastes just like sagebrush (with the same consistency).

    Maybe, I should try antelope one more time and marinate, slow cook, smoke and foil wrap it. Wish I knew that then! Your beaver looks great!

    January 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    • Great story, John. Man you’ve lived in all the great places! Yeah, meat well pampered with smoke and bbq sauce surely helps the unruly likes of beaver and probably antelope alike. Sage brush you say? Now who would wanna eat sage brush!

      January 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm

  9. I have dispatched a few Beavers to meet their maker in my past … pesky varmints tend to make a soggy mess of things, damming this and damming that. I must say though, I’ve never considered them a meal time choice … now I’ll hafta reconsider. Do tell … how’d you come across yours ?? Stay hungry my Smokie Brutha 🙂

    January 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    • Well smokey brother, it goes like this. I know this man…well sort of. I do not know his name, but we chat often at the loading dock at work. He drives a truck for a company that shall go nameless. Anyways, he said he was a trapper, and had some extra beaver if I pleased. I said sure, please! So one day he dropped by the office and handed me a bag of bloody meat, and said there ya go.

      Now one ought to take pause, when one is handed a bag of bloody meat from some one you do not really know. I did. For all I knew this man could have handed me a bag of terrible wrongness, but alas I sought to just have some faith in my fellow man. So later I threw it on the pit and ate it. I guess I can’t prove it, other than taking him at his word, but I’m choosing to believe it was beaver!

      In closing, do not take candy from strangers, but a sack of unidentifiable bloody meat is fine. It’s a man thing, I guess.

      January 14, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      • A perfectly reasonable explanation although … you are braver than I … accepting a bloody bag of mystery meat is one thing … eating it, well … you’re braver than I. Stay hungry my hickory smoked friend.

        January 15, 2015 at 8:07 am

  10. I really should unfollow you…or not read your post before dinner. I am so hungry now, I am going to eat SOMETHING/ANYTHING before Dinner and will blame the extra pound on you 🙂

    January 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

  11. A friend of mine is a trapper and has said that if properly cleaned, a well prepared beaver tastes just like beef. I guess he is right. I just may have to smoke some beaver the next time he offers me one to experiment with. This post also reminds me of an old South Park episode where a beaver king ruled the world in an alternative universe. Very interesting…

    January 14, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    • Interesting indeed. It would be fun to read your take on smoking a beaver. I’d bet you’d do it up good! Who needs beef when you’ve got beaver! Thanks Bill!

      January 14, 2015 at 6:31 pm

  12. Liz

    you what the wha’? Wow–did not see that one coming. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to grill and eat beaver. But you are the patrons and I bow humbly before your knowledge and experience with all things grilling. If you say it can be done, I believe you completely. I’d taste grilled beaver and likely enjoy it, but would be too squeamish to try it myself. Glad there are folks like you around to try these things and write about it. Nicely done–chuckled more than once while reading.

    January 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    • Thanks Liz! Yeah this was a fun one, for sure. A little different. A little off the culinary bell curve. But a place I don’t mind being. A place to learn, to laugh, grow, and turns out eat pretty well too. Yes my bride politely took a bite and then handed it to me. She’s not one for wild game I guess. The gamey taste was just barely there tho. I think you’d like it just fine.


      January 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm

  13. After reading this I thought I might try it. Wow did I ever get strange looks from the kid behind the meat counter at the grocery store when I asked for 5lbs of fresh beaver.

    January 14, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    • Haha, that’s good humor. The kid didn’t know what to do with you, sounds like. Yeah not a cut of meat in most grocery stores, that’s for sure. I think you would bring one to culinary justice tho, with your pit craft. You’re good that way!

      Take care, mate!

      January 14, 2015 at 11:31 pm

  14. Hmmm beaver? Thats interesting! We dont have them over here yet we do have river otter..

    January 15, 2015 at 1:47 am

    • Indeed, it was pretty good too. We have a trapping season here for beaver, which last over the winter months. I’m not a trapper but I know one, thus my rodent plunder!

      Thanks Mr Fitz!

      January 15, 2015 at 9:20 am

      • i need a trapper… that air mails!

        January 15, 2015 at 11:02 am

  15. Rob

    I love your posts. Cookery, relaxation and philosophy!

    January 15, 2015 at 4:01 am

  16. This is amazing!

    January 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

    • No doubt! Get you a beaver and have at it!

      January 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      • We trap them sometimes…have always joked about eating it but now we might have to try it!

        January 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

  17. loved this post and many of the comments that it has gotten.. I teased you a year or so ago about not having enough wild meat on the pit …. Well I am pleased and surprised at the addition of Beaver to you collection of recipes.

    January 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    • Ah yes, I do remember your humorous ribbing back then. It took a while, but yes, wild meat has finally been achieved! And it was good! There are plans for some more too.

      Thanks for chiming in. Good to hear from you.

      January 16, 2015 at 9:34 pm

  18. Pulled beaver just like that! Bam!

    January 17, 2015 at 10:21 pm

  19. Always fascinating. As others have said, I had no idea beaver was an option, and now I feel I can’t live without it. Cheers.

    January 18, 2015 at 12:44 am

    • Beavers are like that, I guess. Honestly they are pretty tasty!

      Many thanks, Todd!

      January 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

  20. Sounds great be over for the second round of dinner?

    January 19, 2015 at 7:33 am

  21. you… ate… a.. beaver? Horror of horrors, man. I had no idea one could eat such a thing, but I suppose somebody had to do it. Sounds like you honored the critter quite nicely too. I recall the tail slapping “kerplunks” from a fly fishing trip to Northern B.C. a few years ago myself when we got too close to an irritated beaver. Kudos for taking the road less traveled!

    January 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    • Yeah…yeah some body had to do it indeed. It weren’t a rack of ribs, thats for sure. But it was rather fun, I must say, to try an experimental meat. Turns out I’m not above bbq rodent!

      January 21, 2015 at 9:01 pm

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  24. I’m putting this on my 2018 bucket list. I know a couple of old beaver trappers down the road in the backwoods.

    January 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

    • There ya go! I was skeptical at first, but it ended up being quite tasty, and one of my all time most memorable cooks. I would do it again if a beaver ever came my way again. They just are not in every grocery store.

      Happy New Year, Gary!

      January 19, 2018 at 3:09 pm

  25. N8Cheff

    Not sure if you are still active on here but I have a trapper friend who gave me some beaver tail (the meaty portion), it was kind of hard to work with on my smoker being that it encased the vertebrae but very good flavor! Well he got another and let me have my pick of the meat (not much competition) and I got the hind quarters and straps like you have here. Would you say you did about 2 hours before and then 3 hours crutched? Just want to make sure I do this right. Thanks! This article has been very helpful in planning my beaverly escapades.

    January 6, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    • Hey Cheff! No, haven’t been active hardly at all, as you deduced, but thanks for comment even so. So how did your beaver turn out? You know, there just wasn’t a lot of data on the interwebs when I smoked this beaver. Just sorta winged, guided by instincts and my stomach. And it was long enough ago, that I’ve forgotten the details really save for what is archived in this essay.

      What I remember is treating the beaver much like a rack ribs. 2 to 3 hours in the smoke, and then foiled up until tender. I think to not screw it up, one would just check in periodically in the crutch processes and when it gets to the tenderness you like, then go ahead and pull the meat off the heat and rest it.

      I gotta say, it really was good tasting meat. I would eat it again in a heart beat.

      Anyways, hope it turned out for you. Sorry for the 4 month delayed response.

      April 18, 2022 at 9:42 am

      • N8Cheff

        You know it’s funny you respond this time later! Since this first post I have smoked upwards of 10 beaver or more, hind legs and back straps mainly. I will say it is amazing meat! A flavor I really love and enjoy. Currently it still reigns as my 3 year olds favorite food as well! I did follow your guidelines here and found that 210 for me was where I absolutely had to be. It also helped to brine for 48 hrs, marinate in something acidic for 12-24 and then crutch like you’ve described. Thanks for the advice and helping me develop my own instincts as I’ve worked toward perfecting more “traditional” meat. Oh, from hanging around the same trapper friend I’ve smoked or barbecued: wild hog, bobcat, turtle, deer, catfish and bass. Awesome times! Bobcat is amazing and turtle is surprisingly not too weird.

        April 19, 2022 at 11:41 pm

  26. No kidding!!! That’s fantastic, Cheff! Too cool, man… That’s funny it’s your kiddo’s favorite food, too. That just makes me smile. Very cool. And bobcat!! What the heck. Wow, you’re the pit master now! I humbly bow to your tongs. Man, you got me there. How does one even go about starting to barbeque a bobcat. That sounds more awkward than the beaver cook even. Anyhow, very cool to connect with you. Thanks for your patience. We got a 4 year old too, and boy ever since she popped up, the blog here has certainly taken a back seat. Hope to get back into it again if my ability to focus ever returns.

    April 20, 2022 at 7:55 am

    • N8Cheff

      Oh it’s an absolutely incredible meat but insanely similar to pork. I had heard that (from some of the other trapper-friends) and decided I would just treat it like that! It worked perfectly. My wife, who’s often skeptical, even tried it and liked it. So a win there too! Yes, kids definitely need a lot of time. I’ve gotten lucky mine are interested in some of my same hobbies because otherwise I wouldn’t get to do it at all. Regardless, hope you are well and things work out. I’ll have to check out the rest of the blog here for good tips as I continue on the smoking escapade! Thanks again

      April 21, 2022 at 12:49 pm

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