Eastern Shore Muskrats from “Dead Meat” TV

Most folks have not had the opportunity to try a bite or two of muskrat. And of those people who have had the chance to eat muskrat, most of them probably decided to pass. Here’s the thing about muskrats – they look like a big wet toothy rat. Their teeth are orangish and the flesh is dark and somewhat stringy. When cooked, the meat is deep in color and seemingly devoid of any fat.

This recipe comes from Season 1 of “Dead Meat” TV Series airing on Sportsman Channel. After a morning of shooting divers with guide Charles Laird of the White Oak Guide Service in Crisfield, MD, Scott Leysath, Ken Perrotte and Charles headed over to Dave White’s Pittsville Café for their Wednesday special – a whole muskrat with 3 sides for a mere $12.95. Scott wanted to know how much it would cost if he got a cheeseburger instead. At Dave’s the muskrats are served whole and topped with a gravy that’s about the same color as the cooked rats. If presentation is important, well, this plate needs some work.

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2.40 from 5 votes

Eastern Shore Muskrat

Once braised, muskrat meat can be substituted for just about any pulled or pot roasted meat, but it does have a distinct flavor. Given where it lives, the cooked flesh can have a slightly muddy taste so it’s always best to soak the processed rats for at least 12 hours in a saltwater brine (1 gallon water mixed with 1 cup each kosher salt and brown sugar). After brining, pat dry and consider another soak in a wine-based marinade. Before cooking, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Charles debones the muskrats before cooking, but the quartered muskrats can also be cooked as-is and the cooked meat can be pulled from the bone when tender.  
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people


  • 4 muskrats, fur, feet, heads removed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large onion peeled, roughly chopped
  • Italian Seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut muskrats into quarters (or remove meat from the carcasses). Season liberally with olive oil, salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add muskrat pieces and brown evenly on all sides. 
  • Add wine, broth, garlic and onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender like pulled pork. 


  1. Mark Walker on October 17, 2021 at 7:20 am

    This recipe works very well to remove any wild
    Taste from the meat. Be certain to debone the
    Hams and only use the hind quarters.
    Use the meat to make Rubens, skip the kraut, and use Muenster Cheese!!! YUM

  2. Charro Jones on November 3, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    As a child I disobeyed my Dad who told me not to look in the pot but I was hardheaded?I saw the beginning of him making muskrat and saw fur and teeth and it almost killed me??. He tried to educate me on muskrat but 7 year old me wasn’t trying to hear it. Today I was telling the story to my children and decided to look it up with recipes to find it and the first thing I see Eastern Shore where my Daddy is from and sure enough this is what I saw my dad doing in the kitchen but he had to do it all from scratch boiling off the fur and bones I guess…wonderful trip down memory lane…guess I’ll have to maybe not try it but may want too but probably not????Clarence and Pearl Palmer’s youngest daughter????

  3. Debra on May 13, 2022 at 4:55 am

    1 star

  4. anonoymous on November 15, 2022 at 11:16 am

    1 star
    Yuck! I think just looking at this will make me throw up!

  5. anonoymous on November 15, 2022 at 11:17 am

    1 star
    I think just looking at this will make me throw up!

    • Scott Leysath on November 15, 2022 at 11:57 am

      Don’t look!

  6. Otis Ligon on February 6, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    My dad told me as l was a child to NEVER let your eyes dictate to your taste buds. Try it first and you might be surprised. When l grew up, my dad cooked all sorts of wild game because we couldn’t afford much. But l found out quickly that it tasted great regardless of what I thought of it. I STILL eat all sorts of wild foods and proud of it. Thanks dad!

  7. Gee Byrd on March 14, 2023 at 10:44 am

    love your recipe the muskrat was good and it didn’t take long. Thank you so much

    • Dean Brewer on August 21, 2023 at 10:22 pm

      I was wondering if you could can muskrat so you could have it anytime

      • Scott Leysath on August 21, 2023 at 10:45 pm

        I’d like to speak from experience, but I’ve never canned muskrat. I can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t work. Keep me posted!

        • Joseph Kinzey on September 15, 2023 at 6:47 pm

          Joe kinzey (me) was traveling through Cambridge Md. I found a restaurant in the area famous for local food . I saw Muscrat on the menu . I like to try most wild game food. I ordered the dish.
          I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it.
          It was covered with gravy

  8. John Lipski on December 27, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    5 stars
    Tastes good, eat every year during Lent in Detroit

  9. Litttle Tee on February 11, 2024 at 6:00 pm

    4 stars
    could not believe I ate it it looks like a fat rat Daaaa

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