“You kill it. We Grill it.” The West Virginia Roadkill Cookoff

Roadkill Cafe Sign

Photo by Terence Faircloth — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

In 1998, the state of West Virginia reinvented the concept of take-away when they legalized the removal of roadkill by civilians for culinary purposes. This is finders-keepers lawmaking: you could grill it whether or not you killed it, as long as you reported the removal within 12 hours.

The good folks of Marlington, West Virginia didn’t need a law to legitimize a century-old practice, but they did need a little bit of tourism. Knowing nothing gets the cash a flowin’ like stewed blood with moose balls, The Annual Roadkill Cookoff was born.

Held in conjunction with the Autumn Harvest Festival, the Roadkill Cookoff celebrates the culinary worth of the unlucky mammals that frequent our byways. The rules are simple: each participant must make use of meat from an animal commonly found dead on the side of the road, prepare the dish on-site and supply an accompanying recipe for the Roadkill Cookbook. Rubber, gravel and grit must not be present in any of the dishes, and points are deducted for dental injuries resulting from improperly cleaned meat. Although the ingredients can come from actual roadkill, the judges reserve the right not to eat anything that looks putrid or smells like it spent more time on the bumper than it did on the burner. Oh- and if you hit something en route to the cookoff, you can skin it on-site. This is fast food at its finest.

Past entries have included “Bumper Brews Barbequed Bear”, “Deer Smear Fajitas”, “Squirrel Gravy over Biscuits”, and “Stir-tired Possum with Natural Brown Maggots”. The winning chef takes home a cash prize, inclusion on PETA’s Most Wanted List, and the fervent respect of the Marlington natives that share the road with him.

The Autumn Harvest Festival is held yearly in September. For more information, visit the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce.

Read more about other great festivals in West Virginia.

- Courtney Maum

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One Response to ““You kill it. We Grill it.” The West Virginia Roadkill Cookoff”

  1. DCbob
    September 26th, 2009 16:34

    Disgusting. Absolutely revolting. One more reason to stay out of backwoods.

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