‘Tastes like chicken:’ Adventurous eaters unite at World Champion Squirrel Cookoff 🐿️

BENTON COUNTY, Ark. -- Chefs from around the world made their way to Arkansas Saturday, Sept. 8 for the eighth "World Champion Squirrel Cookoff."

At the Benton County Quail Barn in Bentonville, Arkansas, cooks battled it out, creating their version of the best squirrel dish.

A panel of judges tasted some interesting flavors, including an Asian squirrel dish, squirrel tacos and even a Bloody Squirrel -- a rendition of a Bloody Mary drink. At the end of the day, only one team could be named champions.

Jerry Miller and his "Okie Squirrel Busters" team traveled 200 miles to compete and they ultimately claimed the title. They made a "Mac and Squirrel Burger," a "Salad ala Squirrel" and the Bloody Squirrel cocktail.

"We are going to take these little things that everyone gets mad at when they run in front of a car and feed thousands of people," said Joe Wilson.

Wilson founded the cookoff seven years ago. He admitted the concept may seem silly, but said people are drawn to the event because of its originality.

"Literally thousands of people come out to join us for this celebration of all things natural," said Wilson.

Ben M. has been coming for five years with his family, and considers himself a fan.

"It pretty much tastes like chicken. It's got a little bit tougher texture I think," he said.

This year's winning squirrel chef won $1,000.

"It's a cash prize, but we donated over half of that back to the cause," said Miller.

Giving the money back to the event was a reoccurring pattern. The money raised through raffles and chef entry fees goes toward funding a charity Wilson created three years ago.

"It's called Steaks for Sheepdogs," said Wilson.

Wilson said it gives back to first responders.

"We buy ribeye steaks and with those ribeye steaks, we go and we feed police and firefighters, first responders and our veterans," said Wilson.