Delicious Animals

Guess what I’m eating tonight? Here’s a hint:

Inuit Whale Hunt
Inuit Whale Hunt


So the animal was bowhead whale–legally hunted and slaughtered by actual Inuit hunters, for those who care. I was under the impression that bowhead aren’t endangered, but it looks like I was wrong! So now I can scratch “Eat an endangered animal” off of my life goals list.

(How did I get whale meat slaughtered by the Inuit? From a guy at my church who helped them with their hunt. Why was he helping them with their hunt? I don’t know, actually. I’ll have to get a clearer story from him at some point.)

But the real question is: was it any good? Eh, not so much. We tried it two ways: first raw and half-frozen with crystals of ice on its surface, and heavily salted. This is evidently the preferred Inuit way to eat whale. If you’ve ever had chilled raw salmon, imagine a similar taste and texture, but drenched in cow’s blood. That’s pretty close to what it was like. Whale meat is incredibly dark and very bloody, so much that the heavy bloody flavor overwhelmed the tasty fishy flavor. If you’ve ever eaten liver or cow’s heart and liked them, then you might like this.

This was actually better than the second thing we did, though, which was to cut the meat into fillets and bake it according to a recipe I found on the internet. The fully cooked meat was black, which was kind of scary. It also wasn’t very good. The cooked-blood flavor even more completely obliterated the fish flavor, and the seasonings we baked it with (red wine, onion, peppercorns and rosemary) didn’t mesh well with the texture and flavor of the meat. We wound up throwing most of it away (but we only had a pound, so I don’t feel very bad).

Despite this disappointment, I found myself with the taste lingering in my mouth all through the next day, and in retrospect I don’t think that it was that bad, especially when eaten raw. If offered the salted raw meat again, I’d probably take it, and I’d be interesting in trying a recipe prepared by someone who actually knew what they were doing.


    1. I’m not sure what maktak is. Google suggests blubber. This wasn’t blubber but the actual flesh. We’ll try blubber next.

  1. Imi pare rau ca nu ne-a placut la nici unul din noi, dar poate o sa ne placa morsa sau foca. Poate daca stiam ca are gust de ficat o gateam ca pe ficat si ar fi fost buna cu usturoi si mamaliga.

  2. Rosemary? I normally wouldn’t do rosemary with fishy things – try thyme, maybe. And white instead of red wine. Never had whale though – so I’m guessing here.

    Also, just searing the steaks, like you do with tuna, might work better?

  3. The idea behind the red wine is that the meat itself is dark, unlike most fish which is very light. Rosemary I don’t think was a good choice, but that by itself wouldn’t have made the difference.

  4. My understanding is that maktak is not blubber, but whale skin, and is a favourite Northern treat. Still different from whale meat.

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