Alligators and crocodiles are exceptional animals that haven’t really changed over the last 200 million years, largely due to the fact that they haven’t needed to. These are apex predators that rule their environments. But while the American alligator is known for coexisting fairly peacefully with humans, several species of crocodiles are known for being rather deadly (killing about 1,000 people every year).
Of course, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of alligators and crocodiles humans consume on an annual basis. Why? Because their meat is downright delicious! The following is a quick look at both alligator and crocodile meat and how best you can grill them up for your next party:
Grilling up Gator Meat
Depending upon what side of the country you live on, you may be able to get gator fairly cheap or even free if you know a fisherman (or if you fish yourself), otherwise, wholesale price of alligator meat tends to average out at $15 a pound. In general, alligator meat is growing in popularity thanks to its veal-like quality and ability to easily subsitute seafood, chicken, and pork. Additionally, gator packs an incredible amount of protein into each serving. Just a 3.5 ounce slice of alligator contains a whopping 46 grams of protein, that’s double the amount of protein found in the same sizing of beef.
When choosing alligator meat, note that often the best cuts will be found in the tail as these are the most veal-like in texture. While other parts of the gator are still tasty, it also tends to be darker, tougher, and less flavorful.
This short video showcases Magic Swamp Dust seasoning for grilling gator:
Alligator, marinated and grilled
We soak alligator meat in orange juice for several hours to get rid of any gamey taste, then make a marinade: worcestershire sauce, sugar, Magic Swamp Dust ...
To grill gator meat straight up:
- Combine your favorite seasonings to create a healthy mix in which you can dip the gator meat.
- Prepare your grill, ideally get a fire going then let the coals burn down until they are white for optimum cooking.
- Prepare the meat by cutting the gator tail meat into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Roll each of these cubes in at least one tablespoon of your seasoning mixture or as much as desired.
- Grill in a pan or aluminum foil on your outdoor barbecue grill for about 4 to 6 minutes (alligator cooks extremely quickly), you can tell the meat is done when the tail meat is white and firm to the touch.
- Serve immediately and preferably with lemon wedges.
Grilled Gator Burger Recipe
Gator Burger Ingredients:
- 1 pound ground up gator meat
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
- 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 bell peppers, any color
- 1 sliced onion
- Bread rolls or buns
Gator Burger Recipe:
- Preheat your grill, same as before until you have white coals
- Combine the gator meat, egg, chopped onions, and some salt and pepper to taste into a large bowl and mix thoroughly
- Shape into 4 burger patties bout 1/2 inch thick
- Heat oil into a medium nonstick skillet at medium high heat
- Add strips of onion and pepper and saute until tender, season to taste and keep warm
- Grill the gator meat patties for about 10 to 12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, you should only turn over once
- Serve everything together on your rolls
Other popular methods of cooking alligator meat include grinding it up and blending it with pork to create sausage and other tasty concoctions. This pork/gator blend is nice as the pork adds some desirable fat to the mix while the gator ensures you retain the quality and flavor of the wild meat.
Cookin’ that Crocodile
The popularity of crocodile meat has really taken off thanks to a number of Australian celebrity chefs and shows highlighting its taste and versatility. Similar to alligator meat, it is low in fat, high in protein, and can be cooked just as any cut of lean pork or chicken. It differs from gator in having a bit more succulent with a richer, more unique taste. Crocodile meat is generally sold frozen as tail steak, burger, stew meat, wings (aka legs), or blended as a sausage.
For best grilling results, make sure you thoroughly rinse the meat and marinate in a mixture of milk and spices for a minimum of three hours. Then, drain out the marinade mix and pat the meat completely dry. Brush with your favorite oil and place on a prepared grill with a thin rack at least 4 inches above ready coals. Grill for 8 to 12 minutes on each side (try to flip only once while cooking). And finally, serve when done and enjoy!
Three key things to note before you buy and cook crocodile meat:
- You do not need to tenderize crocodile meat as, while the outside of the animal might appear tough and scaly, the meat is characterized as being succulent. Using a mallet on crocodile cuts will often only result in damaging it and compromising its flavor.
- Unlike alligator that cooks very quickly, crocodile meat takes longer, generally about the same time to grill a beef steak of the same thickness. So be sure to not rush the grilling process. But at the same time, you also don’t want to overcook it or it’ll become too tough to really enjoy.
- While you should eat crocodile shortly after it is finished cooking, most croc chefs recommend allowing it to rest for a few minutes before making first slices in order to prevent excess moisture loss and preserve flavor.
Enjoy Grilling Alligator