The question is short and sweet. My wife is on her way to buy some alligator meat (I don’t know why, she just wants to try it). As I am the cook in the family (and no slouch, at that) I will be the one to cook said meat. I need tips from folks that have done so.
Will it behave more like beef, fish or chicken? How do I know when it is done? Will it tend to be tender, or tough? Any pointers welcome. Also, what does it taste like (serious demerits for the first person to say that it tastes like chicken!)
Extra information: For cooking, we are looking at either stove top or oven. BBQ is not set up yet.
Well, in my experience (I’ve only cooked it a few times, and many years ago at that) it seems closest to the texture of a rubbery mollusk - conch being the one that comes to mind. It took a bit of cooking to eliminate the rubberiness, and I seem to remember the most successful recipe I made was an alligator chowder.
It was a random idea that I had after realizing how the gator meat, when cubed, seemed an awful lot like clams, and I had a hankering for some new england style clam chowder.
I actually seared the diced meat in the pan with a little bit of shallots and white wine before adding to the stewpot.
It turned out pretty well.
Mmmm, gator is good. I think you’ll be pleased.
Here is a great source of gator-cooking info.
Alligator has the texture of cheap beef, which I guess is kinda rubbery. Most filets I’ve seen are only about the size of a medium-sized catfish filets, or sold in cube sized portions. I’d stew it, or add it in a gumbo. “Alligator gumbo” sounds good.
I’ve eaten it as fried nuggets (like chicken nuggets), and it was…strange. You know how some cuts of pork, like a Boston Butt, have two different types of muscle in them - one is darker, softer, almost a little spongy, and one is lighter, leaner, firmer. The two muscles have slightly different tastes, like dark and white meat chicken.
Although our alligator was served to us battered and fried and we couldn’t observe the actual meat, there were definitely two separate “types,” and I assume it was two separate cuts or muscles. One was firm and tasty, much like dark chicken. The other was spongy and rubbery and NASTY tasting. And you never knew which one you were getting when you picked up a nugget.
I don’t know if the cut you’re cooking will be clearly one muscle or a combination of “light” and “dark” meat, but I’m really curious to hear how it goes. Please give us an update!
Watch out with reptile meat if you’ve never had it. Some people(like me) get reeeeaaallllllly farty on reptile meat. I can play an entire ass-trumpet symphony.