Sunday, October 5, 2014

Recipes for Alligator Meat

Hunting season for wild alligator in Louisiana kicks off in October annually.  Here in Ohio, deer hunting season for bow-hunters begins around the same time.  It seems that Ohio's bow hunters have a taste for exotic meats.  Although Homer Village Market tries to keep wild-caught Louisiana alligator in stock twelve months of the year, we get the most requests for alligator when Ohio's hunting season begins each fall.

Many customers requesting alligator meat already have their favorite recipes, but just as many customers are wanting to try alligator for the first time and request recipes.  One can find many recipes for alligator on the many cooking websites such as, foodnetwork, and epicurious.  Also recipes can be found on the state websites for Louisiana and Florida where alligator hunting and alligator farming are significant industries within their local economies.

Below are some recipes that cover the most common techniques for cooking alligator.  If you are already familiar with cooking techniques in your own kitchen or backyard grill, you will be able to adapt your favorite recipes to use alligator meat.  You can make:
  •  a Cajun casserole using tomatoes, garlic, rice, and peppery spices,
  • an oriental-style stir-fry such as "General Tso" style dish over rice
  • lightly pan-fry and serve as a "po-boy" sandwich with usual sandwich toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, cheese, pickles, mayo
  • a family-style fondue pot meal
  • deep fry or pan fry using either a buttermilk and seasoned flour batter or an egg and seasoned flour batter and serve with a sweet/tangy red sauce or a ranch dipping sauce
  • grill marinated gator and veggie kabobs and serve with baked potatoes or rice pilaf
  • grill hand-cut gator "steaks" using a dry rub after marinating in citrus or vinegar-based sauce
  • make a jambalaya or gumbo using a combination of vegetables, seafood, sausage, poultry, and rice
  • cut in half-inch cubes, toss in a seasoned flour and cornmeal mix after basting in milk or buttermilk, deep fry, and serve over baked potatoes with a side of ranch-style sauce
The important thing to remember, no matter which cooking technique you use, is that alligator is considered "seafood" and it cooks quickly.  Just a few minutes on each side on the grill or fry pan, or deep fry a few minutes until golden brown.  If making a gumbo or casserole, be sure to add the alligator meat after the rest of the ingredients have been cooked to tender.  If alligator is overcooked, it will become chewy and tough.

Here are a few recipes collected from the internet over the past several years:

Grilled Cajun Style Gator Tail

4-6 pounds Alligator Tail
Enough milk to cover alligator meat

Seasoning Ingredients:
1/4 cup paprika
6 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons oregano, crushed
2 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper(more if you like spicier)

Seasoning Directions:
Combine paprika, garlic powder, salt, white pepper, oregano, black pepper, thyme and cayenne pepper in jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine. When ready to cook, cut gator tail meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Roll each cube in a tablespoon of the mixture.

Grilling Directions:
Cook over high heat on your barbeque grill for 4-5 minutes, flipping once. Alligator tail should be white and firm to the touch. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing onto the meat.
ALLIGATOR FINGERS "Quick and easy way to fix up gator bites for your friends - exotic, but taste like chicken! "
2 pounds alligator meat, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt and pepper
to taste oil for frying
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon
red wine vinegar

Place alligator meat in a medium bowl, and mix with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate about
10 minutes
Pour oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch, and heat over a medium-high flame.

Add to a large resealable bag the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder,
cayenne pepper
, and black pepper. Squeeze off excess liquid from meat, and add one handful of meat to the resealable bag. Shake to coat. Remove meat, shake off excess flour, and set on a plate. Repeat with remaining meat.
When oil is hot, place meat pieces into oil, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry until
golden brown
, about 3 minutes. Remove to paper towels, and serve hot.
To prepare dipping sauce, mix together in a small bowl the mayonnaise, horseradish, brown mustard, and red wine vinegar.
Here are some recipes from Food Network's website:
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 8 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 (32-ounce) can tomatoes, diced in puree
  • 1 (32-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound andouille or other hot, smoked sausage
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 4 cups green peppers, diced
  • 4 cups yellow onions, diced
  • Cooked Rice
  • 1 pound chicken, boned and cubed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup scallions, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute the garlic, chiles, and bay leaves in the oil. Once the garlic is fragrant, add all the tomato products and simmer, stirring for about 45 minutes. Slice and roast the sausage for about 20 minutes. Drain the fat off.
Add to the tomatoes, chicken stock, sausage, green peppers, and onions and simmer another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, add salt and pepper. The jambalaya is finished when it has thickened and turned brick color, without any more oil coming to the surface. At this point, cook a big pot of rice to mix with the sauce (equal amounts of rice to the sauce) and add any meats you want to the jambalaya sauce (chicken pieces, shrimp, alligator, veal etc.) Poach the meat in the sauce to cook it. Add scallions at the last minute for color.
To make vegetarian jambalaya, smoke the tomatoes first, in a home smoker, or place them in the oven with a pie plate of smoking chips for a 1/2-hour. This gives the sauce the same flavor as adding sausage. Then use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and add any vegetables of your choice at the end.
  • Peanut oil, to cook
  • 1 pound cleaned alligator meat, 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 8 kumquats, 1/8 inch slices (may sub with 2 zested and sectioned oranges or tangerines)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups snap peas, blanched
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppe,r to taste
In a large saute pan on high heat, coat well with oil and add alligator. Season and quickly brown meat, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside on paper towels. Wipe out pan and coat lightly with oil. Saute the garlic and ginger for 2 minutes. Add the kumquats and stir. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, soy and sugar until dissloved. Deglaze with mixture and reduce by 50 percent. Add back the alligator and snap peas, check for seasoning.
  • Peanut oil, for cooking
  • 1 cup whole roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 5 Thai bird chiles, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cups cooked Chinese rice (or other long grain)
  • 1 tablespoon naturally brewed soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black peppe, to taste
In a small wok or sautee pan, coat lightly with oil and saute the peanuts, chiles and onions for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions start to take on color. Add the rice and stir until hot. Add soy sauce and check for seasoning.
PLATING On a large round plate, place a small mound of rice in the middles and top with alligator. Ladle a little sauce on top. Enjoy.
WINE: Very chilly beer like Foster's or Corona

Baked Grilled potatoes:

  • 4 potatoes
  • Oil
  • 1/2 pound butter

Sauce for Potatoes:


  • 2 pounds gator tail cut into chunks
  • Buttermilk
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • Sliced green onions, to garnish
Wash and coat potatoes with a little bit of oil. Pierce each potato with a fork, wrap in tin foil, place directly on hot coals, and cook for approximately 45 minutes. Use tongs to turn potatoes often.
In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients to make the potato sauce, and mix well.
In a large bowl, toss the gator chunks into the buttermilk, and dredge with flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Using a large skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Fry gator chunks until golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Split potatoes and top with butter and potato sauce. Top potatoes with 2 pieces of fried gator chunks on top and sprinkle with cheese and green onions.

Alligator Balls Recipe

1 lb Chopped alligator meat
1 Egg
1 tb Finely chopped onions
1 tb Finely chopped celery
1 tb Finely chopped parsley
 2 tb Finely chopped shallots
2 ts Lemon pepper
 1/2 ts Salt
 1/4 c Bread crumbs
1 c Cooking oil
 Flour to dredge
Combine all ingredients, form 1 inch diameter balls, allow to set one hour. Dredge in flour and fry till brown. Serve hot.




cup Florida orange juice concentrate

cup Florida orange juice

tablespoons light soy sauce

tablespoons brown sugar

teaspoon cumin

teaspoon cayenne

pound Florida alligator meat, cut into cubes

1-inch cubes assorted Florida vegetables or fruit, cubed

Preparation For the marinade, combine orange concentrate, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar and spices in a medium glass bowl. Reserve half for basting. Add alligator cubes; stir to coat well. Marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator for increased flavor. Soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes to prevent them from burning. Thread marinated alligator cubes onto skewers, alternating with vegetable or fruit cubes. Heat the grill to high heat and grill kabobs for 6-8 minutes; turning once. Brush with extra marinade for the first 5 minutes. Discard any leftover marinade.
Yield 4 servings