What Does Bobcat Taste Like?

What does bobcat taste like and how do you prepare it?

What Does Bobcat Taste Like?

Grilled bobcat with a Memphis-style rub. (Photo:  Keith Sutton)

Ever wondered what bobcat tastes like?

Unlike coyotes or foxes, which have questionable dining habits, bobcats prefer what seem to be similar fare we humans sometimes consume: rabbits, squirrels, birds, other small game. Bobcats also eat mice, rats and likely a few things we wouldn't eat unless in an emergency situation.

Their mealtime fare is varied and based on availability. If your area has a lot of squirrels and rabbits, bobcats probably will snack on those pretty heavily. If those are in a down cycle, they'll target rodents or other animals, including whitetail fawns. Similar to bigger cats, they go after substantive meals of protein.

If you've ever hunted and killed or trapped bobcats and skinned them, you know the meat is pink. There's not a lot of meat on a bobcat, either, even with a big one. Once skinned and cleaned, you get a pair of loins (or backstraps) and hindquarters. If you're hunting with a rifle and put a bullet in the wheelhouse, you'll probably not have much of anything left of the ribs or shoulders.

The meat looks similar to pork tenderloin. It's pink, lean and probably could use something to help from drying out while cooking, such as a wrap of bacon or light marinade. Bacon makes anything taste good, of course. I'm not a fan of heavy marinades or rubs but some folks like them. I believe they mask the flavor of the meat, though.

Bobcat is tender and handles a nice saute with butter or a few minutes on the grill. As with any lean meat, don't overcook it.

A lot of people, including some of you, will scrunch your nose and think, "Ewwww, bobcat?" But don't knock it until you try it. Bobcat is good.

Here's a recipe from Keith Sutton of Arkansas, whose family enjoyed this one better than the others he tested:

Grilled Bobcat With Memphis-Style Barbecue Rub (pictured above)

  • Boneless loins from one bobcat
  • 1/2 cup sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the seasonings, and sprinkle on all sides of the meat to form a thick coating. Allow to stand 30 minutes at room temperature until the rub appears wet, then season heavily again, pressing the barbecue rub into the meat so it sticks.

Slow-cook on the upper rack of a gas grill, turning frequently, until the meat is done to taste. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce on the side.

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