Beaver is a fine textured red meat. Fat deposits are found outside or between muscles, much like venison. While the meat will not dry out while cooking as fast as venison it will dry out faster than most lean cuts of beef. Unlike venison, the fat is not as likely to become rancid. Removal is however recommended, especially deposits inside both the front and rear legs which contain glands. The castor glands are found in the lower abdominal cavity. As with other internal organs, fluids escaping will give the meat an off or bitter flavor. Castor glands should be frozen and sold or given to a trapper who can in turn sell the glands to be used by the perfume industry.
Also unlike deer, beaver needs to be soaked overnight in salt water to remove blood from the meat. Trapped beaver do not have a chance to bleed out.
Cutting up a dressed beaver requires special attention to bone structure or most meat will end up on soup bones. Meat tends to cut easier when it contains some ice crystals. Most of the best meat on the beaver will be found on the hams and along the back bone. The larger muscles attest to the powerful back legs and tail. The tender loin or back strap found along both sides of the top of the back is wider at the shoulders and tapers to a point near the hams. The tender loin is found inside the body cavity at about the middle of and to either side of the back. Steaks are difficult to cut from the ham area. Most meat will be chunks or strips. The flanks, between ribs and the hams, are often strong tasting either by nature or contamination by body fluids.
Many of your favorite venison recipes will probably work with beaver.
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