How did the Mountain Men cook beaver tails?

Vaughn Cosand

Flagstaff, Arizona

While the main diet of the Mountain Man was meat, it usually wasn’t beaver. Still, roasted beaver tail was considered a delicacy. Not so the rest of the beaver; the cook threw the rest of the carcass to the animals.


Fried Beaver Tail

2 Beaver tails

14 t. Garlic Powder

12 c. Vinegar

14 c. Butter

1 T. Salt

14 c. Sherry or cooking wine

2 t. Soda

1 t. Dry mustard

14 c. Flour

1 t. Sugar

12 t. Salt

1 T. Worcestershire sauce


Strip the beaver tails, clean thoroughly in a solution of salt water. Let soak overnight in cold water to cover, adding a half cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt to water.

The next day, remove from the brine, wash, then cover with solution of 2 teaspoons soda to 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Drain.

Dredge beaver tails in seasoned flour. Melt butter in heavy fry pan and saute tails at low heat until tender. Mix wine with mustard, sugar, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Add to beaver tails and simmer gently for 10 minutes, basting frequently.

– From Northern Cookbook edited by Eleanor A. Ellis, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa 1973 –

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