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  #1  
Old 11-18-2008, 10:38 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Foodie dopers: python meat

On a family visit this weekend, my mother took me and my brother to visit a local meat merchant. They had an "exotic meat" case, whose contents included everything from the not-so-exotic (rabbit, venison) to the rarely-seen-in-the-U.S. (kangaroo). I picked up three items, two of which I have experience with (quail, ostrich), and one I don't — a package of python fillets.

I've eaten a lot of strange things in my life, but this one will be new to me. In fact, at first, I wasn't going to buy it, and I put the python away. (Insert juvenile cackling.) My brother looked at me askance, and said, "I can't believe you aren't getting that." I replied, "I don't know what I would do with it, and I don't want to waste it." He said, "But isn't that the challenge?"

So here I am, with python meat in the freezer.

I did a little Google research, looking for information and ideas. I discovered two things:

First, because Python is also a programming language, it's an exercise in frustration trying to filter out the irrelevant pages and restrict one's searches to only sites talking about the meat. It doesn't help that one of the largest code libraries calls itself the "Python Cookbook" with each of the entries labeled as a "recipe."

Second, it appears that python meat is best described as "generic snake." One of the very few recipes specifically naming python as an ingredient (here, duplicated here and here) can be found on a number of other sites as a snake recipe not particular to python (example). There is almost no detailed information about the particulars of python meat specifically; this page, as far as I've been able to locate, is the sole exception, with helpful step-by-step photographs (the meat shrinks a lot during cooking, apparently) and some tasting notes. But it's hardly a serious culinary treatise; the writer describes the meat as resembling "evil bacon," which is amusing if not that illuminating. More than that, the writer seems to be in the same boat as I am, having grabbed the meat out of curiosity (note that the package pictured on the site is exactly the same as the one I bought) and fried it up as an experiment. He's writing up his results after the fact. I would like more information before I begin, so what's on this site is fun (the overall premise of the blog is entertaining) but goes only so far to meet my needs.

Hence, this thread. I know there are some serious omnivores here (paging Mangetout) and other culinary types (pulykamell, devilsknew, chefguy, soul brother number two, and others), and I figure between all of us, somebody's going to know something about it.

So: Has anyone here eaten (or better yet prepared) python meat? What should I expect? Are there any recommendations for cooking? Quick, over high heat, to prevent it from toughening? Or slow, over low heat, to push through a tough stage and get to tenderness? Am I correct in thinking that I can treat this basically the same as if it were a more common snake, like rattler, just larger, and that I can season and cook the meat appropriately? Anything else I ought to know?

Oh, and also, should I be surprised at the "freakout" reaction my mentioning of this seems to elicit? When I was at the meat counter buying the python, the customer behind me asked what I was getting, and when I told her, she visibly recoiled, as if my bag contained not a frozen package but an actual live snake that was coiling and preparing to bite her face.

Comments, thoughts, and questions are welcome. As far as time frame, I will probably be cooking this on Thursday night, so I've got a couple of days to accumulate intelligence before slapping the fillets into the skillet, or whatever.
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2008, 10:44 AM
wolfman wolfman is offline
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Just make sure your windows are open first.

Reptile meat makes some people(like me) gassy. Like Legendary Epic levels of farts in volumes to float the Hindenberg, and an odor strong enough to melt hardened steel.
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2008, 02:42 PM
Fish Fish is offline
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Hey, bro. Some thoughts occurred to me.

Is there a company name and/or address on the package that would be of use? You know, "Try our recipe for Nestlé Tollhouse Snake Fritters at www.pythonpops.com" or "Processed by Chunder and Yak Meat Markets, Didjabringabeeralong AUS" or something?

Where are pythons usually eaten? The label was in English, but perhaps you might have better look finding python recipes in Spanish or Portugese?
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  #4  
Old 11-18-2008, 02:58 PM
Fish Fish is offline
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P.S. I also tried a Google search with a bunch of filters to try to weed out the superfluous references: python fillet -sherry -module -cmds -script -monty -command +salt

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...ommand+%2Bsalt
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2008, 09:08 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish View Post
Is there a company name and/or address on the package that would be of use?
Not really. The package is exactly as shown in this link from the OP.
Quote:
The label was in English, but perhaps you might have better look finding python recipes in Spanish or Portugese?
Well, now, if I spoke Portugese, that might be useful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman View Post
Reptile meat makes some people(like me) gassy. Like Legendary Epic levels of farts in volumes to float the Hindenberg, and an odor strong enough to melt hardened steel.
I'll keep that in mind, but I've eaten a fair amount of reptile (snake, turtle, crocodilian, ex-girlfriend) and I haven't had that problem.
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2008, 10:43 AM
Fish Fish is offline
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Product of Vietnam? I wonder if our Aunt Yen knows anything about cooking python.
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2008, 04:25 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent
Python was, hands down, one of the best meats I’ve tasted. A thick, tender piece of white meat a little firmer than fish (I’d compare it to swordfish) and a bit more delicate than pork tenderloin.

Actually, the swordfish comparison is pretty good. Both times I had it the same way “gratiam prik thai” which is a pan fried Thai dish style based on “garlic black pepper.”
From Here


Here is a Burmese Curry Recipe for Python and an interesting article...

Recipe for Poached Python Curry

Python meat may not be available from your local butcher - indeed it is illegal to kill or eat python in some countries - but you can use the same quantity of monkfish or cod, as python is regarded as a terra firma fish.

Ingredients:

Python steak (1kg)
Shallots (4-5, peeled and sliced)
Turmeric powder (1 tablespoon)
Garlic (5-7 cloves, peeled and pounded)
Ginger (2-3 inches long, peeled and pounded)
Lime wedges
Kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped)
Lemon peel/skin
Lemon grass (ten stems, peeled; tender parts finely chopped and pounded)
Paprika (2 teaspoons)
White rice wine (4-5 pegs)
Salt (2 teaspoons)
Peanut oil (2 tablespoons)
Chillies or black pepper seeds (as much as you like, pounded)
Several pints of mountain spring water

Method:

First, boil/poach the steak with lemon peel, rough lemon-grass stems, skins of shallots, garlic and ginger in a couple of pints of spring water. When the flesh is soft, take the steak out and leave it to cool. Separate the bones from the flesh.

Next, fry shallots on low heat until slightly brown and add the ginger, garlic and all other spices. Turn the heat up and keep on stirring for a couple of minutes until a round, toasted aroma arises from the pot. Add flaked and diced python flesh. Add rice wine, a cup of water and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.

Serve this with a plate of piping-hot steamed rice, boiled seasonal jungle greens, wedges of lime and a pot of hot tea, or a glass of cold, crisp Chardonnay if you want to take the dish out of the jungle or the jungle out of the dish.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2008, 05:22 PM
devilsknew devilsknew is offline
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If you're interested in trying the python steak in the “gratiam prik thai” style, here is a traditional recipe that uses pork- simply substitute the python fillets. {I'm sure a bit of cilantro stems and leaves would substitute if you can't get a hold of some cilantro root.)

Mu Thot Krathiam Phrik Thai (Fried Pork with Garlic and Pepper)

1 pound pork neck
2 tablespoons thinly sliced sauteed shallot
2 tablespoons mixture of garlic, black pepper, and cilantro root pounded in a mortar.
3 tabelspoons light soy sauce
vegetable oil for frying

Wash pork and place in a bowl. Rub the pounded garlic paste and soy sauce onto the pork and marinade for one hour.

Place a wok on medium heat and pour in the oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to low and fry the pork. When it is golden-brown and the outside is starting to become crsip, remove it from the oil, drain, and cut into pieces. Arrange on a plate topped with the fried shallot.

Last edited by devilsknew; 11-19-2008 at 05:25 PM..
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2008, 09:46 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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I doubt python steak would be anywhere near as tasty as beefsteak. Not much fat on snakes. Best to season liberally.

Place snake meat in stew pot.
Over low heat, add in shallots, carrots, fava beans, new potatoes and one-third ounce of butter.
Mix in pinches of basil, rosemary, sage, oregano and salt to taste.
Cook for one hour.
Discard snake.
Serve over brown rice.

Yum.
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  #10  
Old 11-20-2008, 02:52 AM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
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I haven't had python, but I've eaten European viper on several occasions, killed & grilled on the spot sans seasoning. Translucent white, extremely low-fat meat with almost no discernible taste. Think pollock.
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  #11  
Old 11-20-2008, 06:43 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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Sorry, I thought we were going to be discussing Spam (tm).
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2008, 10:52 AM
Fish Fish is offline
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So, Cervaise, did you wrestle with the python last night?
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  #13  
Old 11-21-2008, 11:48 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Yes. But I will be cooking the meat tomorrow.

Thanks to all who've contributed. For the record, I'm going to fry one of the pieces in bacon fat.
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2008, 10:14 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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My after-action report:

I cooked the python fillets three different ways. I found a few references to the meat being tough and chewy, but none of the recipes seems to take this factor into consideration, so right out of the gate I wanted to apply different cooking methods to see if any of them made a difference. One sample, I sauteed in bacon fat, with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. Another sample, I breaded and deep-fried, katsu style. The last sample, I cut into very small, thin pieces and cooked very briefly at a low temperature in a Thai soup.

Result: yeah, it's pretty goddamn tough and chewy. No matter how it was cooked, it all came out the same; it felt like we were trying to eat a pink pearl eraser.

The taste was fine. It was mild and inoffensive; the version in the bacon fat was fairly pleasant. It was strongly reminiscent of certain other reptile meats, like two parts rattlesnake, one part crocodile. (Somewhat stronger than alligator; nowhere near as strong as turtle.) The tonkatsu dipping sauce was an excellent complement.

But the texture was hideous. I ate most of mine, looking for variation, treating it as a learning experience; my companion ate very little. (Good thing I'd made plenty of side dishes. She liked the Indian-spiced potatoes and green beans.) There was no significant difference between the cooking methods; sliced thin and braised for three minutes, deep-fried for six or seven, or sauteed for fifteen, it all came out the same.

If I were to cook this again, I'd treat it like an extremely-dense muscle meat, and cook the shit out of it for a really long time. Tongue comes to mind as an appropriate analogue.

I'd also be happy to eat a dish of python prepared by someone who knows exactly what they're doing with it (my ignorance, sadly, was left almost entirely unalleviated by extensive attempts at research). Per post 6 above, my brother suggested talking to our Vietnamese aunt; I don't know the likelihood of getting my hands on python meat again, but if that happens, it's be worth checking with her.

Conclusion: Add it to the list of culinary experiments, and move on.

Last edited by Cervaise; 11-24-2008 at 10:15 AM..
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  #15  
Old 11-24-2008, 10:25 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Blast. Got here too late.

Nearly all reptile meat, python included needs to be slow cooked, ground, or pressure cooked to get through the toughness if you aren't going to to kill and grill.

I've had it with a cheesy jason sauce and some breadcrumbs, it was divine.
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  #16  
Old 11-24-2008, 10:54 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Well, balls.
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  #17  
Old 08-10-2012, 09:38 PM
TahoeBeckey TahoeBeckey is offline
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If it's a tough muscle - treat it like Abalone

I just bought some Python fillets at a local game meats supplier in Reno Nevada. I was going to surprise my brothers at a camp-out at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week by barbecuing some game meats for them. (I also got some wild boar sausage and some venison). Then I started looking for recipes. I assumed Python was like most snakes or eel, but I guess not. Rattlesnake BBQs real nice and tender, as does the eel we used to catch off the dock at our grandparents house in Ling Island New York. After reading about the toughness of Python meat I will try a couple of ideas.
1) Treat it like abalone,which is all muscle... slice it thin, (about 1/4") beat the hell out of it with a tenderizing hammer, and then BBQ or fry it after coating it with your favorite salad dressing.
2) Slow cook it in beer seasoned with what you like when roasting a chicken.
3)Slice it thin and layer it in a baking dish with sliced red onions, mushrooms,bell peppers, pineapple chunks, and smothered with a good sweet and sour sauce. Bake it until tender (a bit of the tenderizer hammer might help prior to placing it in the dish)

I'm going to experiment on my brother this coming week so I'll let you know afterwards

Rebecca
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  #18  
Old 08-10-2012, 10:37 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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In Norway, for some reason, the expression "this tastes like python" means that something tastes really disgusting.

(No, I'm not making that up. Dunno where it comes from, as the python isn't native to Norway, as you might have guessed.)
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  #19  
Old 08-10-2012, 11:47 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by Martian Bigfoot View Post
In Norway, for some reason, the expression "this tastes like python" means that something tastes really disgusting.

(No, I'm not making that up. Dunno where it comes from, as the python isn't native to Norway, as you might have guessed.)
That's funny because here when something tastes really disgusting we say "this tastes like lutefisk".
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  #20  
Old 08-11-2012, 08:54 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Since Burmese pythons released into the Everglades are making little pythons by the thousands, I think this thread on cooking the things will come in handy someday.

Bear Grylls always cooked a snake on a stick over a fire on his TV show, and I always wondered how it tasted.
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  #21  
Old 08-11-2012, 09:38 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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I've always wanted to make chili with rattlesnake meat. I guess python would be an acceptable substitute.
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  #22  
Old 08-11-2012, 09:45 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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Hmm.. we have crockpot. I wonder if I could A) find python anywhere nearby, and B) convince my husband to attempt cooking the everloving snot out of it.

I've eaten a lot of weird foods, and I actually really used to enjoy rattlesnake when I was little. We had 40 acres of swamp, and my mother hated live snakes. Dad was a pretty good snake-cooker.

I bet you could do like a python version of beef stew, where you just cook it forever and a day in the crockpot, and when it falls apart when you poke it that means its done.

Mmm.. now I want fried rattlesnake again. Bugger all.
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  #23  
Old 08-12-2012, 08:24 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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I know this is a zombie thread...but wouldn't the assumption from the OP be that cooking python meat would pretty much be the same as cooking any other snake meat? Are there any essential differences between snake meats? The only thing I can possibly think of is that a constrictor snake like a python might require a more low heat, braising method than say, a rattler as (I'm assuming) it is a more muscled variety of snake.

Otherwise I'd assume flavor and texture are extremely similar amongst snakes. But perhaps not.
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  #24  
Old 08-12-2012, 02:34 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Maybe someone should hunt the wild pythons in Florida and the wild hogs running amuck at the same time. Butcher them and sell them to restaurants as 'snake and bake'.
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  #25  
Old 10-20-2012, 11:16 AM
HippieThrasher HippieThrasher is offline
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Python Chile Verde:

Ingredients:

10 Tomatillos

1 Garlic Head

1 each Anaheim, Ancho or Pasilla, and Jalapeno Pepper

1/2 bunch fresh Cilantro

1 c Chicken broth

1 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsead

1 lb. Python filets

1 Onion, medium yellow

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Water or Chicken Broth to fill (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Peel the papery husks off the tomatillos and rinse well to get the sticky residue off. Slice them in half and put the cut sides down on the foil. Scatter the garlic cloves (unpeeled) among the tomatillos halves. Broil until the tomatillo skins are blackened and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from the broiler and set aside to cool.

While the tomatillo/garlic mixture is cooling, place the three peppers on another foil-lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Remove from heat and place in a paper bag to steam the skins loose.

Once the tomatillo/garlic mixture is cool enough to handle, peel the garlic cloves (they should slide right out), discard the peels, and put the tomatillos and the garlic in a blender or food processor. Remove the skins from the peppers, cut off the tops and remove the seeds, and add the flesh to the blender. Add the cilantro and chicken broth. Blend until ingredients are liquefied but not too fine. We're not going for bisque, here. Pour the mixture into your waiting 2-quart Crock Pot and add the beans. Stir and turn on low, and put on the lid. Might as well start the cooking process while you wrangle the snake.

Using a sturdy pair of kitchen shears, remove as much of the "silverskin" as you can because it is tough as nails. Then cut the python filets into thin strips about 2-3 inches long and 1/4-1/2 inch wide. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the python in small batches so that the meat browns rather than steaming. The pieces shouldn't touch each other. Lightly salt and pepper each batch, and add to the Crock Pot when they're browned. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking/burning. Taste test a piece. It's good. Chewy as hell, though.

Once the snake is in the Crock Pot, quickly dice up the onion and caramelize it in the snake/olive oil drippings, then add to the Crock Pot. Stir everything together and if the mixture is a little low in the pot, add water or chicken broth so that it's up to about 1/2 inch below the rim. Shouldn't need more than about 1/2 cup. Replace the lid and cook on low for 8-12 hours - you will need a long, slow cooking time to break down the muscle tissue in that constrictor meat and make it tender.

Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream, tortillas, whatever you like with chile verde. Serves 4-6.
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  #26  
Old 10-23-2012, 03:31 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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I've eaten snake, didn't know which variety it was, roasted, very nice ;but you get a lot of "fishbones" in it.

Also eat same boiled in sea water, totally disgusting.
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  #27  
Old 08-26-2013, 10:21 AM
arns arns is offline
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Python chile verde

Dearest HippieThrasher
I just made your chile verde and it was absolutely AMAZING!!! I didn't play around with it and made it just as the recipe said to and I loved it. Since Python is so expensive where I live, next time I will use beef tongue or goat. I think those meats will hold up to the long cook time without becoming mush. Thanks so much for the recipe it is going in the book for sure. arn
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