Is Roadkill the Next Big American Cuisine?

The New York Times brings us an unusual update on America's growing acceptance of home-cooked roadkill. Earlier this year, Montana's state legislation passed HB 247, the "Roadkill Bill," a measure that allows people to scrape up a car-killed carcass—specifically antelope, deer, elk and moose—and eat the meat for dinner, provided they present the corpse to a peace officer within 24 hours of the animal's death.

Interestingly, Montana food banks were already serving roadkill quietly:

Under a previous state law, Mr. Lavin was required to tell people who had hit a deer or elk that they could not keep it. In some instances, he would take the dead animals to a local food bank, which would gratefully accept the meat, he said.

The Times also reports that a dozen states have similar laws. Colorado allows residents to scrape up "edible portions" of roadkill after obtaining permission from the state’s Division of Parks and Wildlife. Georgia's provision includes dead bears as potential meals.

According to the Missoulian, Montana's legislation doesn't require the person applying for possession to be the driver who hit the animal. Such potential loopholes have caused Colorado already to be vigilant with the law's application:

“The goal is to make sure that meat doesn’t go to waste, while making sure people don’t poach with their vehicles,” said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the division.

Of course, the Times informs us that you can't just throw any oozing slab of rancid, tire-tracked elk on the grill and expect a delicious flesh feast.

The meat must be fresh and not too bruised, said Nick Bennett, owner of Montana Mobile Meats, a mobile wild game processing company.

Expert tips can only mean one thing: Roadkill is the future of American flavor. There's already a vintage cookbook and an annual "roadkill cuisine" cook-off in West Virginia. Earlier this year, a MasterChef dingaling tried to impress judges with stripped and shaved Cajun beaver tail. Next we will most certainly have roadkill BBQ joints, roadkill jerky, roadkill-flavored potato chips.

Roadkill food trucks. Artisanal roadkill cheese.

Roadkill cronuts!

[h/t @DavidGrann / photo by Shutterstock]