In five minutes, Montrose, Mo., trapper Larry Brownsberger is sold out in the lot at 39th Street and Kensington Avenue. Word has gotten around about how clean his frozen coon carcasses are. How nicely they're tucked up in their brown butcher paper. How they almost look like a trussed turkey ... or something.
His loyal customers beam as they leave, thinking about the meal they'll soon be eating.
That is, as soon as the meat is thawed. Then brined. Soaked overnight. Parboiled for two hours. Slow-roasted or smoked or barbecued to perfection.
Raccoon, which made the first edition of "The Joy of Cooking" in 1931, is labor-intensive but well worth the time, aficionados say.
"Good things come to those who wait," says A. Reed, 86, who has been eating raccoon since she was a girl.
"This right here," she says, holding up a couple of brown packages tied with burlap string, "this is a great value. And really good eatin'. Best-kept secret around."
Raccoons go for $3 to $7 - each, not per pound - and will feed about five adults. Four, if they're really hungry.
Those who dine on coon meat sound the same refrain: It's good eatin'.
I hate raccoons. When I was an apartment dweller in north Overland Park I had a raccoon problem. They would congregate at night about 20 feet away from my door with their glowing eyes waiting for me to leave the apartment so they could feast on my supple skin. They had actually ripped up the lattice work under my step so they could hide under there. I actually cheer a little bit when I drive by the old place (near Metcalf and I-35) and see a raccoon roadkill.
If I had known I could trap them, skin them and sell them then, I might be in a different line of work than I am today. Raccoon meat is apparently quite lean like rabbit. But unlike rabbit it takes quite a bit of work to make it taste good including brining and slow cooking.
I'm up for eating any kind of meat and I can attest that raccoons have a lot of meat on them. They're the size of small dogs donchaknow. I just don't want to be backed into a corner by a raccoon, a dead one wrapped in butcher paper is fine by me.