Alligator meat is commonly eaten in the Southeastern United States. It is especially enjoyed in Louisiana and Florida. This makes sense, as the only species of alligator, the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), is native to this part of the country, although they are found from Texas to North Carolina, and as far north as Oklahoma. The only other type of alligator alive today is the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis). Alligator flesh is described by most as tasting like the dark meat of chicken, although a bit fishy. In fact, the Catholic church, for purposes of Lent, considered alligator to be fish, permitting it to be eaten when abstaining from meat.
In addition to the meat of alligator, alligators eggs have also been eating. Today, however, although it is legal to hunt alligators in many southern states, provided you have the proper license, harvesting eggs from the wild is illegal, as the alligator is considered endangered. Alligator hunting itself has been regulated since 1973 and, depending on individual state regulations, alligators are hunted for meat and hides and strict limits are placed on the number of alligators that can be harvested by a hunter each year. Alligator meat can also be sourced from farms.
How Is Alligator Cooked?
Both the tail and body meat of the alligator is eaten. The body meat is considered pink meat while the tail has both white and dark meat, similar to chicken. Alligator meat can be prepared in many different ways. One of the easiest ways is to fry it in a similar manner to Southern fried chicken. It can also be used in stews, including gumbo, sauteed, blackened, grilled, smoked, roasted, or placed in sausages. It has also been used in hamburgers. It is very common in Creole cuisine.
As to which part of the alligator is better there is much debate. Some people say the tail meat is the best, while folks in Florida seem to be very fond of the ribs, and restaurants there often serve smoked or grilled alligator ribs. A dry rub can be used for this purpose, similar to beef or pork ribs.
Purchasing Alligator Meat
Alligator meat is sometimes found in specialty shops or, depending on region, butcher shops or grocery stores. If you do not have access to a store that sells the meat but would like to try some for yourself, you can purchase it online.
For example, this Florida Wild Caught Alligator Tail Meat is shipped to your frozen and already cut into convenient chunks to make it easy for you to cook.
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