Snapper! From field to table, illustrated.

Discussion in 'Turtle Talk' started by JERMSQUIRM, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    il-waynesv
    Well for all you folks that have asked over the years i have prepaired an illistrated cleaning method i use. This turtle weighed almost exactly 20lbs.

    lets begin. first the turtle needs to be rendered (safe) for handeling. i shot him directly in the head with a .22 cal rifle a couple times and removed the head with an ax. this will heep you with your fingers. Next you need to remove the feet. A snapping turtle can and will continue to move its tail and legs all the way through this cleaning method, this will heep you from being scratched. I removed them by pulling the feet over a peice of wood and cutting off with a blow from a large cleaver.

    pic 1


    Now begin with a good sharp knife. You may even need to sharpen during process. Turtle skin is like trying to cut leather. Start by placing the turtle on its back. Poke knife right next to the breast plate. Begin cutting around it as close as you can. Immediatly you will begin to see the protien rich red meat.

    pic 2

    Cut the skin loose all the way around this breast plate. (shown in the picture below.)

    pic 3
     
  2. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now you need to cut the breast plate from the shell. There is a seperation between them and a knife can cut between this or tap it through on the back of the knife with a hammer. Complete this step on both sides.

    pic4

    Now you need to fillet this plate off the turtle. Take your knife and slice along this plate from one side to the other untill it lifts up. (shown in the picture below.

    pic5

    Complete this process untill the plate comes free from the meat. slice as close to the plate as possible. This is the meat you are eating so any meat on the plate is just less for the table. The picture below shows the plate removed.

    pic6
     

  3. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now that this is off it needs to be skinned. Cut the skin on the front down the center of the neck all the way to where the head was removed. Shown below in the picture.

    pic7

    Start by taking the skin in your fingers and skinning down toward the shell. This is like skinning a deer. Pull on the skin and slice between it and the meat. As you do this you should come to the hole where the foot was removed. This can be seen in the picture below.

    pic8

    As you get past this area where the foot was begin cutting the skin from the shell under this area. work your way all the way around untill the skin is completly removed from this leg 1/4. illistrated below.

    pic9
     
  4. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Complete this step on both sides. In the pic below you can see the skin hanging from the top of the neck. This is where you should be after skinning both front leg 1/4's.

    pic 10

    Now you need to cut skin from shell under neck and skin all the way off. Now you should be ready to remove the front meat from the turtle. 3 main peices. The neck/ The right and left legs thighs. these i will seperate later. they are large.
    You will see some bright yellow blobs suspended in a whiteish gel. This is normal. Its fat. This can be pulled free at any time. It should now be skin free on the front.

    pic 11

    Now you can seperate the meat. there are two bones that are visable on the front shoulder area. The picture shows one being lifted up. Lift this up on one side and begin cutting right along the inside of the shell. this section has a bone that goes back to the shell and as you slice free from the shell you will hit this area with the knife.
    To remove from shell simply get your knife into the joint where ti connects to the shell and pry up and loose with knife or twist to seperate and continue to cut untill the meat comes free from the shell.

    pic12
     
  5. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    pic13

    In the pic above you will see how im cutting the meat loose from the shell. Work this around to the neck and cut free.

    pic 14

    This is the front thigh or shoulder and leg. This is a large piece and will be seperated later before freezing.
    Simply repete this process on the other side to romove that piece. this will leave you with only the neck. Below you see the front shoulder/leg.

    pic 15

    Notice in the picture the clear gel with the bright yellow fat inside. I remove most of this now and finish before freezing.
     
  6. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now your turtle should look like this. Only the neck remaining on the front 1/2. You should now get a large pan with cold water and 1/2 cup of salt to put meat in. Flies become a problem at this point.

    pic 16

    Notice below the neck. there is the windpipe visable . This now needs to be cut out. Remove by cutting it back untill its free of the neck meat.

    pic 17

    Below you can see red and white meat in the neck. Some say there 7 different kinds of meat. You can see red white and dark all in the same piece. this gives turtle its flavor.

    pic18
     
  7. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    In the pic below i have laid the neck back toward the rear. The knife point shows where the backbone in the neck connects into the shell. This needs to be cut free with a cleaver or small hatchet. then cut meat free around the neck.

    pic19

    Now you have the neck out. The turtle is 1/2 done. The front meat is now all removed.

    pic 20

    Now its time to go to the rear. Begin cutting the skin free from the shell under one side on the rear leg. these will be skinned out like the front.

    pic21
     
  8. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    pic22

    these rear feet skin out like the front. skin them out and cut skin loose from shell like was done on front cutting at the tail.

    pic23

    This picture shows the turtle skinned out to the tail.

    pic24
     
  9. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now its time to finish skinning. Lift the tail and cut through the skin at the shell and skin back to the vent.(rectum.) Now cut the tail off with a cleaver.

    pic25

    In the pic below ive removed one rear leg already. where im pointing you can see a white bone line. Cut down on the outside of this line down toward the shell. You will come to a knuckle. This is much like cutting a chicken thigh from the leg at the joint. Seperate with a knife.

    pic26

    This shows the joint after seperation.

    pic27
     
  10. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Free the meat by cutting it from the shell and repete this step on the otherside. Now the only thing remaining is the back piece. Cut under it untill you come to the backbone. this can be chopped free or twisted and this will break the backbone and meat will come free.

    pic28

    In the above picture you can see the back piece. It is still attached by the intestine. Heres how to remove. Turn the meat on its side relevent to how it came from the shell. the pelvic bone needs to be cut in 1/2. The picture below shows my fingers around the round bone that i will be cleavering in 1/2. It is directly above where the joint of the leg connected to it.

    pic 29

    After you cut these bones into seperate the pieces into two 1/2's careful not to cut intestine. One will come free the other will still be attached to intestine. Showing this seperation below.

    pic 30
     
  11. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now turn the piece with the genitals and intestine attached and slice them free. this can be seen in the picture below.

    pic31

    and now your meat is free.

    pic32

    This is the bounty of meat that came from this turtle.

    pic33

    But theres a bit more. Its all white, and heres how to get it. First cut and pull all the insides from the shell, because if this was followed correctly they all will be still inside.
     
  12. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    Now heres what your looking at.

    pic34

    take some dikes or in this case wire cutters and cut each of these rib bones off. Under them there are little strips (one each side) of white backstraps.
    They can be carefully sliced out. These are shown below.

    pic35

    Meat should be soaked overnight in a strong salt water solution to draw out blood and kill bacteria.

    To seperate the front leg pieces there is a joint inside this piece where im pointing.

    pic36

    Cut into the meat and seperate at this joint. shown in the next post being seperated.
     
  13. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    pic37

    Here is the meat shown. There is a neck/two front legs/two front thighs/two rear legs/two back or pelvic pieces/ and two straps.

    pic38

    This 20 lb turtle boasted 6lbs 14oz of meat. about 1/3 the weight in meat.

    This turtle will frozen in ziplock bags. I will be completeing this soon with the preparing and cooking of turtle that will be as tender as roast beef from a crockpot. Keep looking back. thanks.

    pic39
     
  14. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

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    13,145
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    il-waynesv
    This post will be easier to see and follow in the next day or two. Whistler will be putting the pics up where you will not need to click on them to view. Thanks for looking and i hope this helps.:wink:
     
  15. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

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    Best illistration I have ever seen. Kudos and reps to ya.
     
  16. Redd

    Redd New Member

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    Southeast Kansas
    If this thread ain't one for the library, I don't know what is. Thanks for posting, bud. I've always just guessed on how to clean turtles and I realize now that I've been wasting meat... Reps to ya!

    -Red
     
  17. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

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    Thats great Whistler is gonna put it in the library! Definitely some great info!!! Maybe next time I catch one of those big turtles,I may have to try to clean it. Thanks for all the time you put in to this to share with us! I sent you Reps for the hard work. :big_smile:
     
  18. Larry69

    Larry69 New Member

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    14
    State:
    Florida
    Thanks for the info! So, this was as the title says, from the field to the table without holding it in clean water for a few days to flush its system out? Is that really only in case you do accidently cut into the guts or whatnot it won't be as bad?
     
  19. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

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    4,875
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    Great discription, and photos!!! Will check back in for the preparation. Are softshells as good as snappers?
     
  20. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

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    TN
    I will be posting this in the library soon. It's worthy, that's for sure. I will copy this to a work area so I can post the pics properly, then we'll see if we can find a place on the board to post it as well with pics inline. Thanks Jeremy, we've been waiting for this a long time. Can't wait to see the finished product.