The Season of Penance Means . . . Beaver BBQ?

Mar 8, 2016

Brenton Brown is the co-owner of Bootleggin' BBQ in St. Louis, Mo., which is now serving "humanely trapped" smoked beaver on Fridays during Lent.
Credit Alan Greenblatt / NPR

It’s Lent, and that means Catholics are looking for alternatives to their beloved beef. Sometimes, that can lead to interesting choices. Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays in observance of the season of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter, notes SDPB radio. But the church has made sometime interesting exceptions at times, in some places. Aquatic mammals, such as beavers, muskrats and capybara, have sometimes been allowed by the church.

As a result, Catholics at Bootleggin' BBQ in St. Louis have been eating beaver for Lent. The beaver is a secret menu item, discussed on social media but not listed at the restaurant.

Though the beaver has become popular, it turns out it may not be kosher with the church. A local church spokesman said he’s “not aware of any current dispensations along these lines.” Even so, the BBQ joint’s proprietor has been wearing a shirt with a cartoon beaver on it. The shirt reads: "God said it was OK.”