Alibi V.17 No.13 • March 27-April 2, 2008 


Street Fare

Grill what you kill

One of our favorite jokes here in the Backwoods Kitchen goes a little like this: Why did the armadillo cross the road? To prove it could be done.

Face it: most people have only had the pleasure of seeing armadillos squashed to smithereens on the highways and byways of this great nation. When it comes to gettin’ to the other side, ’dillos—as we calls ’em—are less than skilled. Why, we seen more ’dillo pancakes between here and Tuscaloosa than our third first-grade teacher could teach us to count.

Now, we think it’s a gosh-darned shame that all these critters die in vain only to rot in the ditch. Simply put, there’s some fine eatin’ to be found in this particular breed of carrion.

So we took a gander down a couple windin’ roads and scooped up a sack of them armored varmints and got to work.

We tried lots of ways to make a meal out of ’em. Casseroles, kabobs, hoagies, stir-fry, sushi and frittatas all landed in our guts with a greasy thud. Each variation pretty much turned out the same: gamy and a little gooey. Finally, we settled on a French method, en papillote, to class up this hillbilly cuisine. En papillote is just fancy for no pan, no cleanup. Our wimmen certainly appreciated our consideration of them in our venture.

Before you try this recipe at home, here are a few tips:

• Don’t bother fightin’ vultures for scraps. They damn near always win.

• Choose relatively fresh specimens. Once the varmints move in there, ain’t much left for anyone else.

• Make sure your vaccinations are current. While yer at it, get some of them third-world travel shots. Better safe than sorry.

• ’Dillos sometimes play dead, so double-check for a pulse. Our motto is, “The flatter, the deader.”

• If ya’ ain’t sure what it is, ya’ probably ain’t sure if ya’ wanna eat it. Go with yer gut.

Armadillo en Papillote

Makes 4 servings


2 pounds armadillo, fur scraped off and then portioned into 4 hunks
1 bottle Mrs. Dash
1 lemon
4 12-inch squares of parchment paper or aluminum foil


1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Put one hunk of ’dillo on each parchment or foil.

3) Shake a bunch of Mrs. Dash on both sides of each hunk of meat. It’s best to use the whole bottle. It ain’t easy to overcome the stench and taste of death.

4) Halve the lemon and give each seasoned hunk a generous squeeze.

5) Fold over the parchment or foil and seal the edges by rolling or crimping to form a packet.

6) Place each packet in oven and bake about 20 minutes or until it occurs to you that you should probably just eat out tonight.