If you are looking for healthy meat as an alternative to fish, chicken, or pork, alligator meat is what you should opt for. Popular in the Southern United States, this meat is nutritious and good to taste.
The Classical Chinese Materia Medica, which was written during the Ming dynasty, includes a mention of the alligator meat as a delicacy and a favorite dish for wedding feasts.
Alligator meat is consumed by humans and is an excellent choice for health-conscious people. It is consumed in many countries like Australia, Thailand, Philippines, South Africa, and some regions of the United States. In the United States, alligator meat is available in alligator farms and in specialty food stores and grocery stores. In the mid-1800s, alligator meat was consumed by people in some parts of the Southern United States. At that time, it was used in food called gumbo. Even alligator eggs were consumed in the early 1900s.
Many of us confuse alligators with crocodiles for they look similar. However, they are different from each other in a few aspects though biologically related. The meats of both are the same. They have the same low-fat and high-protein content. The only difference is that alligator meat is a bit lower in sodium content than crocodile meat. Alligator meat can be easily found in the market. It is commonly sold frozen, but can also be obtained fresh.
Alligator meat can be cooked in many different ways. Generally, restaurants serve it as an appetizer. However, in many restaurants, the cuts of alligator meat are baked, sauteed‚ grilled or fried, and served as a main entree.
3.2 ounces of raw alligator meat contains:
PROTEIN: 46 grams
TOTAL FAT: 4 grams
SATURATED FAT: 0
Alligator meat is high in dietary fibers and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Alligator meat is a lean meat that has high protein and low fat content. So it is regarded as a healthy food.
Alligator tail meat is white in color and tender.
The meat of an alligator is firm, has a delicate flavor and a light-grained texture.
The most preferred meat of an alligator is the tail meat. The ribs, nuggets and wings (front legs) that are dark in color and have a strong taste are also used. The tail meat tastes just like that of fish, pork, chicken, or rabbit.
The middle-portion meat of an alligator has a stronger flavor than the tail section. The meat of the feet region of an alligator, also known as wings, tastes like frog’s legs.
Alligator meat can be used for making fillets, sausages, stews, steaks, soups, hamburger patties, and in taco fillings.
Many recipes for veal, chicken, and fish can be prepared with alligator meat which is of a mild flavor.
▸ The health benefits of alligator meat are obvious from its low carbohydrate content, high protein content, low saturated fat content, high iron content, and less calories. Thus, it reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.
▸ The meat has muscle-building nutrients.
▸ It has low cholesterol and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. So, it is good for the heart. Its health benefits outnumber those of home-bred chickens.
▸ It is believed that the meat can help cure cold and asthma.
▸ It also contains many important vitamins and minerals.
▸ Alligator scales were previously used to cure syphilis.
▸ It is believed that alligator meat has anti-carcinogenic and anti-arthritic properties.
Handling and Preservation
▸ Always keep alligator meat in the freezer until it is ready to be used, and thaw it when using. Avoid re-freezing the meat once thawed.
▸ The meat should be tightly wrapped to protect it from freezer burn.
▸ Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot soapy water after handling raw alligator meat.
▸ Alligator is cooked in the same way as chicken or fish.
▸ The meat should be well-cooked and never served rare.
▸ Remove all fat on the exterior of the meat and from between the meat layers.
▸ Cut through the grain of the meat to get meal-sized portions.
▸ Alligator’s meat should be cooked with as little oil as possible to preserve its nutritional value.
▸ According to culinary experts, alligator meat should be marinated for up to 6 hours before preparing it. This helps the meat to tenderize.
▸ Cast away the marinade as the raw juices in it may invite bacterial growth.
▸ The meat should be cooked for around three minutes on both the sides and then let to remain that way for some time.
▸ It has a natural flavor of its own that is intensified with seasonings and spices.
▸ Alligator meat hardens and dries when overcooked. So it should not be baked or cooked too much.
▸ It should always be fried using butter or olive oil so that it contributes its natural flavor to the food.
▸ The meat tastes the best in cutlets as well as baked and fried food recipes. It should be cooked to medium rare.
▸ Fried alligator tail, nuggets, and bites are some popular alligator recipes. Gator Tail Picadillo, Gator Ribs, and Gator Piquantes are some other popular dishes that use alligator meat. This meat tastes good grilled, fried, or barbequed. Even alligator eggs are used in some recipes.
Consumers like alligator meat because of its originality and health benefits. Farm-raised alligators show good meat production. The American alligator meat production has also increased. More than 30% of the alligator producers’ income in Florida is from the sale of the meat. To increase the sales of this meat, its health benefits are being promoted.