We eat Coot. No, that’s not any more than you need to know about our personal lives; the Coot is a bird and it has quite a reputation notwithstanding the slang. Coots are members of the rail family and, while they resemble ducks in some ways, they’re divers. Coots eat plants, fish, and small water animals, but their butt-up status in the water gives them a bad rep for being mud eaters. The eats-mud-so-it-tastes-like-mud rumor goes around about these birds on a regular basis and for that reason, a lot of hunters (especially yankees) won’t touch them.
There’s not much that Cody won’t try to cook, so you guessed it – he shoots Coot. After a particularly large group of them fell victim to his shotgun at the end of the season, we looked for some recipes. In a fun twist, the farther south you get, the more acceptable it is to eat these birds and the Louisiana contingent have some great gumbo recipes featuring Coot. But gumbo is a lot of work.
The group of recipes that caught our eye was coot tacos. We compared several and in the end, came up with one of our own that tastes nothing like mud and everything like a great waterfowl taco. Here’s how it plays out.
First things first, cleaning a Coot is surprisingly easy. As Lowell Washburn puts it, “…make a single cut at the lower end of the keel, slip your first two fingers under the hide and pull upward. In the time it takes to read this sentence, you’ll be done.” Harvest the breasts and you’re ready to go. You’ll want to clean them as soon as you get home – Coots have a special gland that does not-nice things to the meat if you let them sit around.
We used about 14 Coot breasts in this recipe and ended up with enough meat to fill tacos for four people. Cody brined them overnight in salt, water, and Johnny’s, but that’s totally up to you. You can also soak them in milk for a couple of hours if you’re worried about an earthy taste.
The recipe is super easy to follow and makes for some pretty fantastic tacos with a unique and delicious flavor. We started with this recipe for Tacootos for Two as the base and made some changes as we went for a little more punch. See for yourself, and don’t forget the avocado – it’s a great accent to the Coot flavor.Print
Yes, You Can Eat Coot: A Coot Taco Recipe
The not-so-popular Coot gets the taco treatment and we think it’s a recipe you’ll make regularly.
14 skinless Coot breasts (Totally up to you how much meat you want to use)
1 cup Yellow Onion
1 or 2 large tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, sliced
Green Leaf Lettuce, chopped
2 cups colby jack cheese
1 small can black olives
1 small can (7.76 oz) La Costena Homestyle Mexican Salsa, Medium
3ish ounces Cholula Chili Garlic Sauce (to taste)
1/2 medium red pepper, diced.
1 tbsp. Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. dried Thyme
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
Optional: brine the breasts overnight in water, salt, and seasoning salt. About 1 tbsp of each seasoning OR soak in milk a couple of hours prior to cooking.
Boil Coot breasts on a rolling boil until medium-rare. You don’t want to cook them all the way through or they’ll be tough.
Rinse with cool water and hand-shred or shred with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Set aside.
Sauté onion in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent.
Add bell pepper, half of the diced tomatoes, Oregano and Thyme.
Add the Coot breast and sauté for several minutes.
Add Cholula and La Costena
Season with Johnny’s to taste.
Serve hot in flour tortillas and garnish with lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, olives.
Aside from the Oregano and Thyme, seasoning on this is totally to-taste. We love Johnny’s for this and throw some garlic salt in from time to time as well. We took the almonds out after the first time we made them, because the texture they created was a little odd, but see what you like!