Yes. I did.
As I mentioned previously, my nephew is a trapper who occasionally provides me with a variety of meats. My food adventures have ranged from rabbit to kangaroo, and now includes coyote. I've been waiting a very, very long time for this, and thankfully it was worth the wait.
In some ways I identify with the coyote. They're one of my favorite animals for a number of reasons. Topping the list are that they're scavengers (much like myself), and that unlike wolves, coyotes have learned to adapt to human invasion of their environment, making use of us as a food source. They're quite ingenuous. They're highly intelligent and learn quickly, and can often fool or take advantage of other animals.
While I love the adventure of trying all kinds of meat for the sake of pushing my own boundaries, and being able to say "Yes, I've eaten _________," there are other reasons for going to such great lengths for meat. Part of my interest in consuming coyote, and other "exotic" meats, is spiritual. I believe that when I eat the meat of an animal, I also take in some of their spirit, their mana. Different animals have different mana and I think when we consciously consume certain animals, they become part of us. When I eat raccoon, I take in raccoon wisdom. When I eat boar, I take in boar wisdom. When I eat fox, or coyote, I take in fox or coyote wisdom.
So what is coyote wisdom?
Coyote is the keeper of the magic. He is the teacher, the shapeshifter, the illuminator that uses pranks to teach people to laugh at themselves, and learn from their foolish mistakes. Coyote is the great trickster, and expresses the balance of foolishness and wisdom. Wanderer, glutton, lecher, thief, cheat, outlaw, clown, pragmatist, survivor.
"Once, there were no people in the world. So, Sinawaf (the Creator) began a project. He began to collect and cut sticks into little pieces and put them in a large bag. He did this for a long time until the bag was full.
His brother, Coyote, was watching him the whole time. Sinawaf, knowing his brother, told him that this was a special project and not to look in the bag.
One day, when Sinawaf was away, Coyote could no longer hold back his curiosity. He crept over to where Sinawaf had left the bag and peeked in. Many people burst out of the bag. They were wild and would not listen to Coyote, who was pleading for the people to return to the bag. The people only kept pouring out and running wild. They spoke different languages and scattered all over the world.
When Sinawaf returned, he found his brother and the empty bag. He was so angry with him for not listening to him. He said, "The people were not ready to come into the world. They were to be placed evenly across the land. The trouble you have caused will create wars and the people will try to gain land from each other."
As punishment for Coyote's mischievous ways, the Creator sent him to live in the world. He made him what he is today, a coyote. That is why Coyote cries to the sky. He wants to go home.
Sinawaf picked up his empty bag and discovered that deep within the bag a few people remained. To these people, Sinawaf said, "This small tribe shall be known as the Noochew (Ute). They will be very brave because the people in the world are not complete and you will be able to overcome them. I will place you high in the mountains so that you will be close to me." That is how the Utes came to live high in the mountains of Utah and Colorado."
There are many, many coyote stories floating around the net. This one happens to be my favorite because it reminds me of the story of Pandora, and it's an excellent example of how coyote tends to get himself into trouble.
So with coyote wisdom in mind, I prepared a special dish for my birthday, which also fell right before the Full Moon.
Coyote, First Try
1 lb coyote meat, chunks
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup wheat-free tamari sauce
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix your liquid ingredients, garlic and onion together to make a marinade. Rinse coyote meat to remove any hair if you haven't done this already. Trim extra fat and tissues. Soak the meat in the marinade for 1 hour.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Put coyote meat and marinade in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and cover with foil. Bake until meat is well done. Baking time is variable depending on the size of your meat chunks. You will want to cook it well done.
The trick with coyote, as well as certain other wild meats susceptible to rabies, is that it must be cooked well done to kill any possible disease. It helps to only eat a clean, healthy animal of course. Also, to decrease risk of parasites it's a wise idea to freeze coyote meat for 90 days before consumption.
I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of coyote, especially after not being able to find any references or recipes on the internet. I find it very hard to believe nobody out there is eating coyote. With no recipe or any sort of guidelines to follow, I just had to wing it and hope for the best. The results were better than I expected, and all that I hoped for.
Coyote meat can't be called "tender" in my book, mostly because I generally dislike well-done meat, but in the case of coyote I don't have much choice. The marinade gave the meat a slightly Asian flavor, thanks to the tamari. The balsamic vinegar did a nice job tenderizing the meat. Dog meat tends to need it, as I learned last year with fox. Slow, gentle cooking seems to help as well.
An interesting side experiment happened in the kitchen before baking the coyote. I trimmed and rinsed the meat, removing several fairly large chunks of fat. A lot of people say wild animal fat is bitter, so I wanted to taste test the coyote fat out of curiosity. We cut the fat into bits and began to render the fat and make cracklins. While the fat did have a slightly "gamey" flavor that most people oppose (but I rather enjoy,) the cracklins weren't the least bit bitter. We did note that the drippings had a slighty fishy smell and concluded it probably had something to do with that animal's diet. The cracklins made for a good snack while we were cooking the rest of the meal. I also ended up with a lovely jar of coyote fat. What I'm going to do with it, I'm not really sure, but I bet I can think of something.
I have 3 more meal-size chunks of coyote meat left, so there will be more coyote cooking in the future.
Also, I wanted to share with you the start of my April Primal Challenge. For a couple weeks now I've been planning a personal challenge to cut out all non-essentials out of my diet for 30 days. I have been eating far too many treats. Dairy, fruit and nuts have become a staple- a trend I'd like to reverse. This 30-day challenge will be an opportunity to cleanse my palate of sweet flavors, perhaps jumpstart my fat loss, and make me appreciate fruit, nuts, dairy and sweets as treats once again, rather than taking them for granted.
Here are the rules. No coffee. No kombucha. No chocolate. No alcohol. No nuts. No fruit. No dairy. No sweeteners (stevia, erythritol, honey, etc.) No meals on Wednesdays. No weighing. I'm hiding the scale. More sleep. TV and computer gets turned off at 10pm, no matter what.
So what CAN I have?
Meat from any animal. Any vegetable. Water. Green or herbal tea. Tomatos and avocados are permitted. Olive oil. Tallow and lard. Eggs. Hot sauce, mustard, home-made mayo. Salt, pepper and spices.
Workouts are changing too. 20 minutes of FUN cardio, 6 days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be heavy lifting days. Tuesday and thursday will be sprinting days, outdoors, rain or shine! Sundays will be long walks, either hiking or a trek to the grocery store. I think keeping to the workout schedule will be the harder part of the April Primal Challenge, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!
Let the Challenge begin...