Porcupine Meat: Can You Eat Them?

Yes, you can eat them. Porcupine meat is nature’s survival meat and is very delicious. Porcupine meat is cut from the flesh of a porcupine, and it tastes a lot like chicken.

When you think of porcupines, what probably comes to mind is that scary and spiky animal. Who would have imagined that sharp prickly animal would produce such a delicious and healthy variety of meat.

If you want to know more about porcupine meat, if it is safe to eat them, how to prepare them, and what you stand to gain by eating them, then read on.

Overview of porcupine meat

If you’ve been wondering if it is safe to eat porcupines, then you’re in for a treat. It is one of the most healthy varieties of meat you can find, and they taste very good too.

According to the USDA, porcupines are vegetarians, and that means their meat contains fewer parasites or bacteria compared to other meats. This makes them very nutritious and reduces the downsides of eating them.

SEE: Do People Eat Donkeys?

How do you catch porcupines?

Since porcupines are slow-moving animals, the best way to catch them is to hit them with a big stick or a baton. You can also use a more stern approach, like most hunters that use riffles.

Porcupines are common in almost all of Canada, the Northern US, Western US, all the way down to Mexico.

When hunting for them, look at areas with a lot of vegetation, forest clearing, or edges. They can also be found in open woods, at the edge of fields where there are shrubs, and anywhere where there are plenty of covers to hide.

Always ensure that the porcupine is in good health before you go about preparing it. This can be done by checking the skin around his eyes, and if they are clear and free of any discharge, then you are good to go.

How to skin a porcupine?

If you catch a porcupine, the following are the steps to skin it;

Step 1: Burn the quills and hair

The quills are the spikes on the porcupine, you might feel a bit scared of them, but you shouldn’t. Simply burn everything off over the fire; this step also adds more flavor to the meat of the porcupine.

Step 2: Scrape off the remaining quills

After burning them, scrape off the remaining quills with a knife. It will be easier to skin the porcupine properly if the quills are effectively scrapped off.

SEE: Things To Never Do With Your Kitchen Knife

Step 3: Skin the porcupine from the hind

This can be done by hanging the porcupine by its hind legs with a rope to a tree branch. Cut around each hind below the rope and down toward its stomach.

After which, pull the skin downward while you use the knife to separate it from the carcass, so it pulls away easily.

You can also use this technique without burning the quills, since the hind has no quills, you can start from there. Although you still need to be extra careful, so you don’t get spiked.

How do you cook porcupine meat?

Although, many people like the old survivalist method of cooking this meat, which is heating over an open fire. You can also bake them in the oven and enjoy the fullest taste and nutrition.

The following is a step-by-step guide to baking porcupine meat;

Step 1: Parboil the carcass

Parboil the meat for about 15 minutes after adding a teaspoon of baking soda.

SEE: What Does Baking Soda Taste Like?

Step 2: Marinade and cover with foil

For more flavor, you can marinade it with butter. After which, wrap the meat completely with foil so the flavor can remain trapped in the meat.

SEE: Can You Only Cook Chicken In The Marinade Or Not?

Step 3: Bake the meat

Bake the meat at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 – 50 minutes. Ensure you add broth to the baking pan for more moisture, and remove the foil 15 minutes before it is done so the meat can gain its brown coloring.

If you are not a big fan of baking, you can also fry the porcupine meat like chickens. Also, they can be cooked slowly in a crackpot with vegetables and even porcupine stew.

SEE: How To Fry Spam

What are the health benefits of eating porcupines?

1. High protein content

Porcupine meat has a high amount of protein that is similar to that of beef, pork, and lamb. Protein is crucial for building and repairing cells in the body.

2. Speeds up the healing process

Study shows that the amino acids present in them prevent muscle wasting, increase muscle growth, and decrease muscle soreness. Along with the protein, it helps accelerate the healing process.

3. Low cholesterol level

Low cholesterol food is crucial as it helps prevent some chronic or fatal conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

4. Treating asthma

The organs of porcupines contain ketotifen. This is a compound that prevents muscles in the airways from contracting.

This ketotifen works better when taken with omega 3 and 9 acids, both of which are present in porcupine meat. Together they help in treating asthma.

5. Strengthens the immune system

Besides treating asthma, the ketotifen compound also stimulates anti-body formation to strengthen your system’s immunity.

6. Boost stamina

Porcupine meat is rich in minerals like iron and zinc; specifically, iron helps boost stamina. This is because iron optimizes the production of red blood cells so metabolism can work optimally, thereby improving stamina.

Facts you didn’t know about porcupines

  • Even with their spikes, they are very easy to catch because they lack defensive instinct and speed.
  • Porcupines are also called Erethizon dorsatum, which means “quill pigs.”
  • Apart from beavers, porcupines are the largest rodents in North America.


What do porcupines taste like?

Porcupine taste is likened to that of chicken, perhaps even sweeter. It is a very delicate type of meat with a particular and unique fragrance.

What do porcupines eat?

They eat leaves, bark, twigs, and green plants like skunk cabbage and clover.

How many quills do porcupines have?

A normal-sized porcupine has an estimate of 30,000 quills.

Can porcupine be eaten raw?

Although they can, it is not advisable as raw meat has been associated with a number of health conditions.

Can porcupines shoot their quills at predators?

No, they can’t. Surprisingly, the quills only spike up when they feel threatened, but they do not have the ability to shoot them.

Conclusion: Can you eat porcupine meat?

Yes, it can. It is a very healthy kind of meat, full of protein and other nutrition that your body needs for various activities. Although the preparation matters, follow the preparation tips highlighted in this article, and you’re good to go.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see if it is safe to eat medium rare burgers.

Thank you for reading this article.