The World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off Just May Be the World’s Quirkiest Cooking Competition

Staff Writer
The World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off is an annual tradition in Bentonville, Arkansas, where chefs catch the squirrels themselves
A squirrely situation indeed.

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A squirrely situation indeed.

When it comes to cooking competitions, no one does it like the South, where blue ribbons are prized at every state fair, and “best chili” accolades are among the highest honors one could ever receive. But this cook-off takes the cake for the most unusual culinary competition south of the Mason-Dixon line: the World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off, an annual event in Bentonville, Arkansas held every fall.

During the cook-off, 36 teams with humorous names catch and slaughter their own squirrels and then have two hours to prepare an entrée and side dish for the judges to consider.

If you’re feeling a little squeamish thinking about eating these bushy-tailed rodents, the cook-off’s regulars insist that eating squirrel and other small game is a time-honored tradition in the South.

"You don't have to promote that it's organic, that it's grass-fed, anything of that nature. It just IS," Joe Wilson, the guy behind the cook-off told CBS News. "I mean, this is tree-to-table."

Some of the winning dishes include squirrel sliders, squirrel bisque, squirrel ice cream, and even squirrel brains with cream cheese in a puff pastry. The champion dish this time around was squirrel empanadas.

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