- Baltimore Ravens rookie Ben Cleveland occasionally eats squirrels.
- Cleveland, who grew up hunting, said said he will fry squirrels if he has some frozen and no other food.
- Cleveland said squirrels often taste like “squirrel” and they are tricky to cook because they have lots of fine hair.
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Baltimore Ravens rookie guard Ben Cleveland eats squirrels, occasionally.
He explained to reporters on Friday that he doesn’t so much have a squirrel diet as much as he has squirrels stored in his freezer to eat.
“I don’t know if it was a specific diet. It’s more one of those things where you eat what you’ve got in the freezer from the fall,” Cleveland said. “Had a few squirrels freeze-dried in there. Get a little hungry, ain’t got no deer meat left, fry you up a squirrel or two, and just go eat that.”
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Cleveland, who was drafted in the third round out of Georgia, recently discussed this on the Ravens’ “The Lounge” podcast, explaining that one day, as a kid, he was bored and hungry and there wasn’t food in the house. He saw two squirrels in a pine tree, shot his .22, collected them, cooked them, and ate them.
“I went out there and got the squirrels,” Cleveland said. “Threw ’em in some hot grease, made me some frozen biscuits, and let ’em ride.”
Cleveland said it’s hard to describe how they taste other than saying they taste like squirrels. He said with enough seasoning, they could taste like anything.
When one of the hosts of the podcast asked if squirrels taste nutty, Cleveland said not especially, though some southern squirrels do.
“Some squirrels in south Georgia, they’ll taste a little bit more nutty,” Cleveland said. “Up here, our acorns and stuff aren’t really as strong as the ones down south. Most of them up here, it just tastes like squirrel.”
He also added a word of caution for prospective squirrel-eaters: “Very tricky animals to cook. They’ve got really fine hairs on them, so it’s really hard to get all the hairs off them when you skin them. It’s very tricky to get that one figured out.”
Cleveland grew up in the small town of Toccoa in northern Georgia. He said on the podcast that he grew up hunting and finds peace being in the woods now.
“That was how we provided,” Cleveland said. “Neither one of my parents ever had the most outstanding, money-making jobs. Trips to the grocery store got expensive, but whenever you don’t have to sit there and pay for meat and you can just eat deer meat you got processed in the freezer, you can save a lot of money doing that.”
He added: “The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized, yeah, it’s still about providing for your family, but that’s more kind of your unwind time. That’s where I go and just get away from everything.”
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