All that you need to prepare the snake is a long plank of wood, a staple gun or hammer and nails, a sharp knife or scissors and a strong stomach. The first step is to ensure that the snake is dead before handling it. This might sound silly, but the last thing that you want is to be handling a poisonous snake and risk getting bitten as you secure it to the plank. The easiest thing to do is give it a good whack over the head with a blunt object.
You want to lay the snake upside down along the length of the plank of wood and staple the end of the tail to the board. Stretch the snake and secure the head in a similar fashion. The next step is to start cutting down the middle of the snake from just below the head to the tail. However, it is very important that you cut only the skin and connective tissue that rests above the body and internal organs.
This may take some practice and patience, but it is much easier to clean and prepare a snake if its body is intact.
Start by making a small incision below the neck that is about two inches long. You will need to lift and cut as you go down, taking care not to penetrate and cut away at the meat below. You will be able to dig your fingers in the cut and start to separate the skin from the flesh at this point, and this will make cutting down the line much easier. Another option is to use a pair of surgical scissors instead of a sharp knife.
Once you have cut and separated about four inches of skin, pull it apart and staple each side to the board. This will help to make the skin taut and easier to remove as you go down. Keep repeating the process every few inches, and you will notice that the cuts get easier as you get down around the halfway point. You should be able to cut the skin all the way to just above the tail.
Once you have cut through all of the skin, you can separate it from the flesh by working your fingers around and beneath the meat. You don’t want to pull out the meat as it can tear and cause the entrails to spill and contaminate your product. Gently separate the meat from the skin until you have reached the tail.
Cut away the meat just below the neckline and just above the tail. Hold the meat at a 45 degree angle against the board. Gently place your fingers inside the center of the meat and pull out the entrails. It should separate very easily and in one long strand, just like when pulling off a piece of string cheese. Discard the entrails and rinse the flesh in some water.
All you need to do to cook the meat is season it, add some barbecue sauce if you like and place on a hot grill. You can also cut it up into smaller strips and place them on a stick or skewer and cook with a campfire as well. Keep in mind that the meat will contain numerous small bones that will need to be picked out as the snake is consumed.
Remember that you can process and consume poisonous as well as non-poisonous snakes as long as the skin, head and entrails have been removed, and different snakes have different tastes. However, they are an excellent wilderness food source, and knowing how to prepare them can give you more meal options out in the field.