Ever Tried Alligator Jerky?
Beef jerky, buffalo jerky, alligator jerky, elk jerky - which meat doesn't seem to quite fit? Unless you're a resident of one of the Gulf Coast states, the obvious answer would be alligator jerky. Throughout the country, beef and buffalo jerky, and to some extent elk, turkey, and venison jerky are easy to come by. You can find beef jerky, plain, peppered, or teriyaki-flavored, in most supermarkets.
Alligator jerky on the other hand fits into that special category of "exotic" jerky, along with ostrich, yak, and quite possibly, roadkill. Because it falls in the exotic range, some are afraid to try alligator jerky, although exotic in this sense simply means it is not widely sold. Meat is meat, most meat is quite edible, and unless it truly has a bad flavor, most meat will make a good, if not necessarily outstanding jerky. Alligator jerky, according to most who have tried it, falls in the outstanding category.
Alligator Meat - Alligator meat is served steaks, one can buy an alligator-burger in some locations, or purchase ground alligator patties, and more than one Cajun recipe for stew relies on cubes of alligator meat. Marinated alligator meat is said to be especially tasty, and alligator meat is marinated beforehand when making alligator jerky.
Alligator meat contains less cholesterol and less fat than does chicken, and poultry is usually considered among the healthiest of the meats one can eat. Alligator even tastes a bit like chicken according to some; though others will tell you it tastes more like rabbit, or even pork. The tail of the alligator provides the most popular and to some the best tasting cuts of meat.
As far as the taste of alligator jerky is concerned, it all depends on how it is prepared, and especially depends upon what goes into the marinade. Unsurprisingly, much of the alligator jerky that is sold has a definite Cajun quality about it. If you like alligator meat, and you like jerky, it follows that you'll like alligator jerky. If you haven't tried alligator meat before, but still like jerky, you'll no doubt find the taste somewhat different from beef or buffalo jerky, but delicious and typically addicting nevertheless.
Making Your Own - Making alligator jerky isn't really hard, although making good jerky is considered by some to be an art form. The secret to good jerky usually lies in the marinade, as well as any seasoning added, although how it is dried or processed can also affect the taste and texture. Typically alligator meat is cut into thin strips, something roughly the thickness of bacon, or even a little thicker. The strips are then soaked in marinade for a few hours, or even overnight, and then hung up to dry in the sun, if you want and old-time “natural” jerky, or in an oven, which is much quicker and how most commercial jerky is prepared. While jerky can simply be dried, most modern jerky is cooked as well, and appeals to most people's tastes when it's been prepared in that manner.
Alligator Jerky Marinade - A simple marinade, and one that can be used for other types of meat as well, consists of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, onion salt, and liquid smoke. To this mixture you would add hot sauce and Cayenne pepper in amounts depending on how spicy you want the end product to be. An idea of the proportions to use can be found many places on the Internet. To make alligator jerky folks will rave about (to the point you may be tempted to go into business), you'll usually have to do a bit of experimenting, something you won't mind at all if you have a good source of alligator meat and find the jerky to your liking. You can always purchase a jerky kit, which will contain instructions and everything you need, except the alligator.