How to Handle Alligator Meat

Alligator meat has a very mild taste and readily adapts to recipes to veal, chicken and most seafoods. Choice cuts of meat, primarily the tail and jaw, can be used in any recipe. The body and leg meat, with just a little extra preparation and special recipes, can be just as tasty. I recommend cubing the meat for extra tenderness or pounding fillets with a meat mallet.

Regardless of what cut of alligator meat you are using, all fat and sinew must be removed before freezing or preparing. Even the yellowish fat between the layers should be removed. When using leg or body meat, we recommend removing the white tendons and vessels as well.

Alligator meat has been successfully frozen for over a year. This was done by removing all fat, wrapping well in cellophane and then again in freezer paper. Alligator meat can be tenderized in several different ways. Some restaurants run each piece of meat through a cubing machine. Other restauranteurs recommend pounding each peice of alligator with a meat mallet until thin, usually about one inch. All restaurants recommend cutting alligator meat across the grain for a more tender piece of meat.

Body and leg meat cuts are excellent choices for burgers, casseroles, ground meat, soups and stews. Jaw and tail meat work well for baked, cutlet recipes and fried foods.

Regardless of which cut of meat you use, you will find alligator to be a very delicious and versatile meat. It is also low in fat, making it a great item for the calorie conscious person.

Meat cut types

G* - top of neck, cube or use mallet
A - Jaw, very tender
T - tailmeat, very tender
O* - neck meat, cube or use mallet
R - back strap, tender
B - body meat
L* leg meat, must cube or use mallet * less tender cuts