Roadkill is safe to eat in many instances but there are risks of rotting, rabies, and disease. You can avoid these risks by knowing what signs to look for and using common sense:
Look for freshness. Obviously, if you have witnessed the animal being hit, it’s fresh. In terms of coming across roadkill, signs of freshness include clear eyes, fleas still active on the fur or hide of the animal and general signs of it looking fresh. Rigor-mortise sets in quickly, so stiffness of the body does not mean that the animal is not fresh.
Use the temperature as a guide. Roadkill in winter is likely to remain fresher longer than roadkill in summer.
Avoid roadkill that has maggots, fly, or other scavenging insect infestations, as this indicates a lack of freshness. However, the presence of fleas is a good sign and means that the animal is probably still edible.
If the animal’s eyes are milky, clouded, or white, it is less fresh but may still be edible.
If it stinks of rotting flesh, trust your nose but be aware that there will be some stench just as a result of the impact, as wind, excrement, etc. is forced rapidly through the body. This odor may release when moving the carcass too, so odor isn’t the sole indicator of the state of the meat.
Look for whole roadkill. Roadkill that has to be scraped off the road because it has been flattened or is so crushed up as to be unrecognizable is not worth it and won’t be healthy for you to consume. Avoid roadkill in the middle of roads. Instead, look along the side of roads, on the shoulders and beyond, where bodies often end up from impact or after crawling away from the hit point..
Except in a survival situation, don’t eat roadkill you aren’t sure is fresh. Why risk your health? If the roadkill seems to be in good shape, you could still use the hide.
The Christchurch, New Zealand artist and taxidermist sourced the bag’s material, a ginger tomcat, from the side of a country road. It was dead when she found it. She kept the dead cat in her freezer for three months while she looked for the owner. When no one claimed the body, she made it into a purse.
Just about anything is acceptable:
(armadillo, rabbit, possum, chicken, unidentified…)
Stay away from skunks since their odor-ferociousness may have a negative effect on the result.
If you live in an area where there’s not much highway traffic, or where urbanization has scared off all the critters and your neighbors keep their pets indoors, then you can use (all) the following meat as a substitute:
2 lbs. ground beef (chili grind)
1 lb. venison (chili grind) .. pork is ok
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
12 oz. Mexican chorizo sausage
Mix all the meat in a large kettle.
If using the ‘substitute’ ingredients above, then cut open the chorizo wrapping and squeeze out the contents into the mixture of the 4 lbs. of other meats.
Brown the meat, stirring occasionally to mix well.
Once the meat has browned, add the tomato sauce, beer (or wine) and all of the seasonings.
it is a good idea at this early juncture to use only half of the chili pepper and oregano and reserve the rest until later so that you can season to your taste.
Cook over low-medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring from time to time.
Sample for taste, increase seasoning as desired, and cook on low for another hour, stirring occasionally.
Sample again and add additional cumin, chili pepper, oregano, Jalapenos or critters to suit your taste; turn off heat and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat on the following day and serve.
For an especially tasty presentation, serve up in bowls and sprinkle the top with chopped white onions and shredded Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheeses.