Alligator meat is still an exquisite delicacy appreciated all over the world. It is quite common in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. However, over the last ten years, alligator meat popularity has spread to Europe and the USA – more and more people want to try the delicate meat of an exotic animal and enjoy its health benefits.
If you have never eaten alligator meat before and want to know if it is worth buying, check out our in-depth review of alligator meat taste, price, health benefits, and more.
Gator Meat Taste – All You Need to Know
What does alligator meat taste like? Alligator meat has a delicate, flavourful flesh reminiscent of chicken and quail and a pleasant, fishy aroma. Some say that alligator meat tastes like frog legs. Alligator meat is chewy and tough, so it needs to be marinated and served with sauce (chili, bbq, tomato, ketchup with lime slices).
Even though alligators remain an expensive delicacy, their meat has been consumed for thousands of years. However, over the last decade, the population of alligators has decreased dramatically due to the unregulated hunting industry, climate change, and habitat loss, and some countries like Japan, the USA, Cuba, and Japan have even started farming alligators.
All this has led to increased demand and insufficient supply, making alligator meat an expensive delicacy for everyone – 1 pound of alligator tail costs as much as $30 – it is the most valuable and delicious gator meat part, which is used for making steaks.
So, how much does alligator meat cost? Alligator tail meat costs around $20 per pound, alligator nuggets cost $22 per pound, alligator sausage costs $16 per pound, alligator tenderloin costs $17 per pound, alligator legs come for as low as $12.50 per pound, and whole-skinned alligator costs $14 per pound.
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Alligator meat is appreciated for its delicate taste – most people say it tastes like chicken or turkey with a pleasant fishy odor. Some even say alligator resembles frog legs. Alligator is a very popular exotic dish, but to decide if it tastes good for you, you need to try it. Alligators acquire the taste of foods they were eating during their life, so if you buy high-quality fresh alligators that were raised on special farms, alligator meat will have a subtle chicken-fishy flavor and a delicate texture. Transportation conditions play an enormous role in alligator meat’s taste – if it was transported incorrectly, the meat will have a rotten odor.
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But why is alligator meat becoming so popular? Well, the main reason is its unique taste. But does alligator taste good? Alligator has a very delicate, mild flavor comparable to chicken and quail. When cooked properly, alligator has a pleasant creamy taste and soft texture. To prevent alligator meat from being chewy and tough, marinate it in your favorite sauce and leave it in the fridge overnight.
While you can buy alligator in the shop and choose a recipe for it, we recommend you first try alligator meat in the restaurant, where it will be cooked according to the standards and remain juicy and tender. Alligator meat is also appreciated for its unique health benefits.
Since more and more people are opting for a healthy lifestyle and following diets, low-calorie meats like alligator or kangaroo are increasing their popularity. Some European countries like France and Germany even increase the gator meat import to make it more accessible to people.
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Cooking Alligator Meat
Before choosing a recipe, we need to know the texture of the gator meat. So, is alligator meat tender or chewy? Since alligator meat is lean, just like chicken, it is not very tender and has a chewy texture. Use a meat tenderizer, marinate the meat in your favorite marinade and leave it in the fridge overnight to soften the texture. Serve alligator meat with pickled vegetables and sauce (bbq, tomato, chili).
However, if you cook gator meat properly, you will enjoy its juiciness and tenderness. To ensure the gator meat is soft and yummy, remember to marinate it. You can use soy sauce, chili sauce, mayonnaise, cream, or citrus juice. Gator meat, just like kangaroo meat, is lean with little fat, so we recommend cooking or serving it with sauce.
Interestingly, alligators younger than 15 years old are not used for eating – the best age to eat a gator is 25 to 35, when the meat is the juiciest and most tender. Old gators over 40 years acquire a swamp mud flavor. But how do you cook gator meat properly so that it would remain tender?
What is the best way to cook an alligator? The best way to cook an alligator is to grill it with vegetables (zucchini, corn, eggplant, asparagus), or stew it in cream and dry wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir). Alligator meat can be prepared in many ways – fried, boiled, baked, grilled, fried, or stewed.
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Gator meat is very similar to chicken and turkey, so it can be cooked in various ways – frying, stewing, baking, grilling, and added to soups and pies. Alligator meat is even used to make pizza! Gator is often fried with onion or stewed in cream and dry wine to preserve tenderness and juiciness, it goes well with herbs and vegetables. Gator meat is often added to pies, quiches, omelets, and sandwiches. Gator meat preserves its vitamins when frozen, so you can enjoy healthy meals all year round.
Overall, gator meat is very popular all over the world, but every region has its unique recipes. For example, Indians like making a curry from the gator, Australians make mince and add it to meat pies, while in Thailand, this delicacy is simply fried with onion and ginger. In the US, alligator meat is added to soups or cooked on a barbecue.
What do you serve with alligator? Alligator is usually served with vegetables (tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, pepper), mashed potatoes, pasta, and rice, added to soups, or put on a sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Alligator can be eaten by itself grilled or fried to enjoy the delicate fishy flavor of this healthy lean meat.
Fresh alligator meat is best for cooking, but it is not always possible. If you buy a frozen gator, thaw it in the fridge overnight, avoiding sudden temperature drops. It is also not recommended to combine alligator with too many ingredients and spices as it can fade the delicate taste of the exotic meat. When cooking g alligator meat, it is important to cook it over low heat to preserve tenderness and a delicate flavor.
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Okay, now you know how to cook gator and what to serve it with, but can you eat gator meat raw? Since gator meat is super chewy and tough, you cannot eat it raw. Moreover, raw alligator meat can contain bacteria and viruses that will be dead after the heat treatment, so you should always cook alligator meat according to the recipe to avoid food poisoning.
If you have never cooked gator meat before, we advise you to try some alligator dish in a local restaurant first to get the real taste of this delicacy. If you want to cook gator at home, make sure you marinate the meat (citrus juices work best) and put enough oil or cream to avoid dryness. Alligator meat goes well with any exotic sweet and sour and spicy sauces, rosemary, garlic, and ginger.
Alligator Meat Health Benefits
How healthy is alligator meat? Alligator meat is extremely healthy since it contains 22 g of protein, vitamins B1, B6, B12, C, and PP, as well as minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese, iron, sodium, and has anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory properties and is good for muscle growth.
Since alligators have special antibiotic in the blood that kills bacteria, they are entirely safe to eat. Gator meat is eco-friendly and is super healthy as it is rich in protein and vitamins B, C, H, and PP, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids. This meat has high amounts of monounsaturated fat that regulates cholesterol and sugar levels. Gator meat has very little fat and virtually no carbs, so if you want to cut on your carbohydrate consumption, why not include this exotic meat in your diet? Alligator meat will also be helpful if you want to gain muscles since it has over 22 g of protein.
Protein and amino acids in gator meat have a beneficial impact on your hair, nails, and skin. It removes small wrinkles and prevents their formation thanks to Omega 3. If you are suffering from arthritis and rheumatism or liver diseases, gator meat is here to help you – its vitamins and amino acids have anti-inflammatory properties and promote cell regeneration.
If you are suffering from cardiovascular diseases, potassium and amino acids contained in gator meat will improve your heart health. Moreover, gators contain much less cholesterol than other meats (beef, pork, and even chicken), which will benefit your heart and vessel health a lot. Gator meat also helps remove fatty deposits from the arteries and blood clots. Interestingly enough, gator bones and cartilage are often used in alternative medicine – it is thought that these parts have anti-carcinogenic properties.