Burmese pythons are among the most formidable and lethal snake species in the world. Even so, they are also considered a delicacy in many parts of the world and hunted specifically for the purpose of processing them for their meat.
Before you decide that you want to sample Burmese python meat for yourself, you need to know where it is legal to hunt the Burmese python. You also need to appreciate if it is legal to eat where you live and how it can be prepared.
Is Burmese Python Legal in the United States?
The question of is Burmese python meat legal in the United States is still under significant debate. By all accounts, no official laws in the U.S. exist for banning the sale and consumption of these snakes, as long as they are hunted and processed in the country. However, U.S. customs laws do strictly forbid the purchase and consumption of meat from a Burmese python from another country.
In fact, these snakes are not native the United States but instead come from Southeast Asia. They are most commonly found in countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The meat is considered to be a delicacy in these countries, with it being readily available from a plethora of street vendors and meat markets there. However, Americans cannot purchase the meat while vacationing or traveling to these countries and then bring the meat back into the U.S. Customs will seize and destroy it because it is not legal to bring in exotic meats from other countries.
Even if you hunt and process one of these snakes in states like Florida where they are now considered to be an invasive species, USDA officials still urge you to avoid eating it. Burmese python meat from these snakes is high in mercury and can cause you to become ill if you eat too much of it.
What Does Burmese Python Meat Taste Like?
Anyone who eats Burmese python meat will tell you that it tastes a great deal like chicken. However, it has a chewier texture and is not tender like poultry is.
Despite the USDA discouraging people from eating it because of its high mercury content, the meat has found its way into local cuisine in places like Florida. A number of restaurants in this state offer what they dub “Hurricane pizza,” which consists of exotic meats like Burmese python and frog.
When cooked thoroughly, it has a flavor that is not entirely unlike that of rattlesnake meat, which can be legally consumed in the U.S. Fans of it advise newcomers to the meat to expect a much chewier texture that can sometimes throw off fans of exotic meats.
Where to Buy Burmese Python Meat
Because there are no official laws in place forbidding the sale of domestically taken meat from these snakes, you can buy it primarily from online retailers. You should ensure that the retailer that you buy it from specializes in processing exotic meats, however. The business also should be affiliated with the USDA and ideally subject itself to inspection of its facility.
How to Cook Burmese Python
Because of its naturally chewy texture, you do not want to boil the meat from these pythons. Boiling it will make it even tougher to eat.
Instead, you need to braise or bake it at a low temperature to bring out any moisture that it contains. You can also bread and fry it in oil to add to its tough texture.
Other ways to prepare it involve grilling it on an open flame. As with boiling, however, grilling can make it tougher to eat, especially if you cook it at too high of a temperature. You can also add barbecue sauce to it to bring out a more distinct flavor in the meat.
Burmese Python Meat Nutrition Facts
Meat from one of these pythons is full of protein and amino acids. In fact, even the wariest of nutrition experts agree that it can offer a high amount of nutrients like protein and iron, which people need for good health. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium.
Burmese python meat is an exotic meat that can be obtained in states like Florida. It has a chewy texture and is naturally low in fat and high in protein.