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An Unusual Culinary Quest: What Does Porcupine Taste Like?

This isn’t the best place to be if you’re a vegetarian or aren’t interested in venturing into more unorthodox meat choices for your dinner.

Now that you have been forewarned, let’s get on with discussing what does Porcupine taste like? Yes, this large rodent is a delicacy for many people in the South East Asian communities.

The spiky creature is also eaten in the west, but you’ll hardly ever see it on the menu of famous steak houses or corporate food networks.

Some have even labeled it an ‘acquired taste’ since it tends to overpower the palate if not cooked right.

What is Porcupine?

If you haven’t seen a porcupine in real life and are trying to picture what it looks like, consider browsing a picture or two on the web for reference.

The animal is covered in spikes and looks like a giant guinea pig, minus the fluffy fur.

The mammal is part of the order Rodentia and is classified under two subspecies: Hystricidae and Erethizontidae.

Old-world porcupines or Hystricidae are native to Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Whereas New word porcupines, called Erethizontidae, are found in North America and South America.

Though they are divided into subfamilies, the typical characteristics to identify the beast are the same.

They have quills on their back, snots for noses, and are generally a dark grayish color.

While the latter is mainly arboreal, the other species are terrestrial and easier to hunt.

What Does Porcupine Taste Like?

Often compared to white and red meat, many have debated that porcupine is most similar to pork.

The meat is made up mostly of fat and is extremely rich in flavor.

Some even say there’s a certain sweetness to it.

Most of the food that we consume tastes like the nutrients that its body contains.

And, since porcupines are solely herbivores, it’s no wonder that their meat is succulent, clean, and vibrant.

While slicing into the meat, you’ll notice that the color is darker than usual captive-bred meat.

Wild meat usually has an off-putting muskiness, but while porcupine meat has a strong kick, it also has a subtle sweetness that helps offset the gaminess.

Ironically the name porcupine is a play on words meaning ‘pork of the pines’.

The word is derived from two Latin words, ‘ porcus’ and ‘spina,’ which translates to ‘pig’ and ‘spine.

‘ It could be a coincidence that the animal is named after pigs, or maybe people in the old days found resemblances in the look or taste.

Whatever the reason, most will agree with the similarity in flavor.

In the early days, the meat of this porky roach was compared to very strong-smelling cheese.

American Naturalist William Long even went so far as the say it was vile.

However, in recent years with many people trying to find healthier ways of consuming red meat, this exotic ingredient is now making the rounds in the local market.

How to Cook and Serve Porcupine?

Let’s first clarify the big question of how to prepare the meat for consumption.

Seeing as how the body is primarily covered in spikes or quills, it can take a lot of work to dress the meat for cooking.

You either have to skin the carcass or burn the skin and quills off.

The other methods of manually removing the spikes may be time-consuming and challenging to accomplish.

Great tutorials show you how to complete any of the steps mentioned above.

Once you’ve completed the demanding task of getting the meat ready to cook, it’s pretty easy to prepare.

Many people will separate the skin and Subcutaneous fat and roast it or grill it directly over an open fire.

Other methods of cooking require a bit more preparation time.

You can prepare porcupine stews if you have all the right accessories to flavor the pungent meat.

Or, you can coat them in batter and cracker crumbs and enjoy the deep-fried meat.

However, the most common cooking method would be to leave the skin on and roast it whole, just like how you would prepare a Lechon.

Adding this red meat to your diet can actually do you good because of its high protein content and other nutrients.


As wild game makes a comeback into our kitchens, the porcupine can be a great way to start your culinary experience with exotic meats.

They’re straightforward to cook and have been regularly consumed by people in the past.

It also pairs well with solid wines due to its rich aroma and taste.

The meat from this spiny animal is also highly coveted for all its health benefits.

So much so that it is a staple food item for indigenous people in South East Asia.

So, the next time you’re out browsing for something eclectic and different and see some fresh porcupine meat for sale, you should grab some for yourself.

What Does Porcupine Taste Like? Does it Taste Good?

While porcupine meat is consumed in certain cultures, it's not commonly found in Western cuisine. Reports suggest it has a gamey flavor similar to other wild game meats, often requiring slow cooking methods to tenderize.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


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