How to Cook Alligator

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How to Cook Alligator

Alligator is probably not a meat product you’ll eat often, but they’re a tasty and exotic source of protein.  While alligators have long been a protected species in the wild, alligator farming now made it possible to make alligator meat available for public consumption.  Here are some ways that you can cook alligator meat.

Alligator Meat

Alligator is a popular ingredient in indigenous cuisine, particularly Cajun and Louisiana cuisine.  Alligator is very nutritious; a four-ounce serving of alligator meat contains the following nutrients:

  • 110 calories with 20 calories from fat
  • Two grams of total fat, with 0.5 grams of saturated fat
  • 55 milligrams of cholesterol
  • 55 milligrams of sodium
  • 24 grams of protein
Most alligator meat sold on the market comes from the fleshy parts of the animal’s tail, although some parts of the animal may also be used for cooking.  The meat has a very unique flavor, quite similar to pork, but the texture is similar to chicken or veal.  Like any game meat, alligator meat can be used for a variety of dishes that call for more conventional meats as a base ingredient.

Cooking Alligator

Alligators eat a variety of shellfish and other animals in their habitat, which means that the meat is packed with a lot of flavor.  To improve the taste of the meat, you can marinate it in vinegar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.  You may also add a small amount of herbs and spices to the meat like dill, tarragon, parsley, cinnamon, or anise.  Marinating the meat can take away the very strong flavors of the meat, and the acidic marinade can make the meat more tender.

Alligator Recipes

Here are some common recipes that use alligator meat:

  • Jambalaya. Alligator jambalaya is flavorful and healthful.  Simply stick with the traditional recipe for jambalaya, and replace the chicken meat with alligator.  Some jambalaya recipes may even suggest using alligator meat.
  • Fried alligator. Frying an alligator is a very interesting way to seal in the juices of the meat, and at the same time give it a unique texture.
  • Barbecued alligator. After marinating, alligator can be barbecued to create an excellent outdoor dish.  Alligator has a quicker cooking time and has less fat, so you need to be careful not to overcook the meat.
  • Sauce piquante is a take on tomato sauce that can be served with pasta, crusty bread, or steamed rice  Sauce piquante is made from savory chilies, herbs, peppers, red wine, and the Louisiana Trinity (onions, celery, and bell pepper) mixed together with alligator meat and alligator stock.

For a treat, you can try to create and eat some of the many foods and recipes that you can make with alligator.