Eating alligator is a strange choice to some, a tasty treat to others, and even a delicacy in some places. Like most animals, different sections of the animal differ in tastes, but overall, what do alligators taste like?
Many people say that alligators taste like chicken. Not only do certain quarters share a similar taste to chicken, but they also share two types of meat- white or dark. An alligator’s tail is most commonly used commercially, but many other parts can also be consumed.
What Does Alligator Taste Like- Wild vs. Farm Raised
Though the white meat of a group of alligators closely resembles chicken in taste, it’s not chicken. It’s not going to taste “just like chicken” completely. The environment and diet heavily influence the flavor of the meat.
Because of the difference in diet and environment between farm and wild, a wild alligator tail will taste different from farm-raised gators. The wild variety will have a fishier taste to it, reflecting on the sum of its diet- fish, turtles, snakes, and whatever mammal or bird it can manage to take down.
Farm-raised gators are often the ones that will taste like chicken. They are fed on fishmeal and oil and whatever catch that can be collected from the sea.
Also, wild gators have a more gamey flavor to their meat, just as we experience with other hunted wild game. Farm raise has a bit more of a bland taste, less the gaminess.
Would Alligator be Considered Fish or Meat?
There is some argument concerning whether or not alligators are classified as seafood or meat. Those who are most concerned are so due to religious concerns, Lent being among them.
Putting the arguments aside, overall, an alligator is seen as seafood for a couple of reasons. One would be its low-fat, high-protein, lean meats. The other would be its mild and tender taste, which aids it to push over the fence into the seafood classification.
Is Alligator Meat Good for you?
Alligator meat is a great addition to a strict diet plan for those trying to bulk up and find an excellent protein source. A 3.5 oz serving is only 143 calories, 29g of protein, and 3% fat.
Also in the mix is a healthy dose of phosphorus, vitamin B12, monosaturated fatty acids, and niacin. Alligator meat is right up there with chicken and fish in the healthy foods department, proving healthier than red meat.
In comparison, red meat at 3.5 oz is nearly double the calories and a few points less on protein, coming in at about 26.1 grams.
What is Alligator Meat Like?
The meat itself is described as having a firm texture, a light grain, mild flavor when compared to other meat types, and can at times be chewy, depending on where the cut is from. Aside from the popular adage that it tastes like chicken, it is often compared to quail, but with a slightly fishier tinge to the flavor.
As is true with all kinds of meats (or any food for that matter), preparing the meat makes a big difference in the consumers’ experience. There are all kinds of recipes available on the internet, many of which consist of deep-fried dishes or broiled steaks of a gator.
How Much Meat is Harvested from One Alligator?
This answer changes due to several factors, such as the gator’s size and whether or not it is being consumed by a hunter of wild game or sold commercially via farming. But on average, after all of the fat and other undesirables are removed, about 40 pounds of good meat is left over.
As I said, this is average. It is possible to get a lot more out of a full-grown wild gator than what you’d get from a farm. Farms will typically sell off or butcher their stock at a much smaller yet more consistent size.
What is the Best Part of an Alligator to Eat?
The best portion of an alligator is determined by its popularity. In the case of gator meat, the best part would be the tenderloin. Customers and chefs alike will testify that if you like filet mignon, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy a cut of alligator tenderloin.
Tenderloin on an alligator is found along its tail. Though sharing real estate with the white meat portions of the tail, the tenderloin is not white meat.
Can One Eat Alligator Tongue?
With all of the alligator meat to choose from, the right question should be, “Who would want to eat alligator tongue?” It sounds rather strange and, well, maybe even a bit taboo to most folks.
In reality, the tongue of an alligator is considered a delicacy by a lot of people. If you can get past the thought of eating a creature’s tongue, people think that it is pound for pound the tastiest part of the animal.
According to enthusiasts, all you need is some butter, high heat, and the herbs of your choice, and you have yourself a meal in very little time without a lot of preparation. Again, that’s all assuming that you can get past the idea of what you’re eating enough to enjoy the flavor.
Is Restaurant Alligator Meat Farm-Raised, Wild, or Both?
Many restaurants located close to where alligators are being hunted will take in kills from hunters. In most states, there are caps on how many one hunter can kill per season- regulated much like other game.
But, an exceeding number of restaurants, grocery stores, and diners purchase their alligator meat from alligator farms. The consistency of the packaged weight and portion size is much more controllable, as the gators are slaughtered once they reach one particular size.
Some people would never try alligator because it’s strange to them, and that’s fine. Some foods are popular in different areas of the world that would disgust people from somewhere else- different food types tend to cause outsiders to resist.
Alligator meat is one of these foods, even within the same country. The southern United States is much more agreeable with eating gator than the northern sections. It’s just not the norm, so it causes some hesitation if a northerner is suddenly presented with the possibility to eat gator.
One might argue that they don’t know what they’re missing.