Food + Wine

World's Scariest Foods

Fried Rattlesnake

What it is: Battered, deep-fried, and sauced…but still a snake

Where it's served: Texas. Where else?

Want a bite? Every March, the humble burg of Sweetwater, Texas, hosts its famous Rattlesnake Round-Up festival, where one of the many attractions is the Cook Shack, offering "Deep-Fried Western Diamondback Rattlesnake" with hot sauce for dipping. The Sweetwater Jaycees' recipe calls for decapitating the snake (the head contains the venom); hanging the headless snake to drain for at least an hour; then marinating chunks of gutted, skinned snake in sweet milk for a couple of hours before coating them in cornmeal and deep-frying. Any brave cooks who feel they can do better are encouraged to register for the festival's cook-off, in which the best rattlesnake recipes have a competitive edge over those made with animals sans fangs. And for reptile gourmands, the rattlesnake eating contest is the ultimate challenge.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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