Alligator is a classic protein around Louisiana and for good reason. The lean white meat has plenty of flavor, plus it can be a lot of fun to feast on an animal that could just as easily feast on us. Although we’ve witnessed the rapid rise of Swamp People (its seventh season starts in February), alligator dishes remain popular.
There’s really no limit to what you can do with alligator meat. Golden-fried nuggets of well-seasoned alligator are fun to pop in your mouth, while a tender alligator sauce piquant works well at a large gathering of family and friends. For the adventurous, the Ready Portion Meat Company makes alligator and beef hamburger patties. And, of course, there’s the all-time favorite: blackened alligator.
Blackening is a method of cooking made famous by the late and legendary Louisiana chef, Paul Prudhomme. The culinary tactic involves a screaming hot black cast-iron skillet and a blend of spices and seasonings to create a crust around a protein, redfish in Chef Prudhomme’s case.
Blackened alligator is a delicacy, as long as you make sure to cook the meat quickly so it doesn’t dry out. As always when blackening, don’t be afraid to get your pan extremely hot. Make sure you do it in a well-ventilated kitchen, or even outside, as it creates a fair amount of smoke if you’re doing it right. Most importantly, get ready to please your taste buds and impress your friends.
- 2 pounds alligator tail meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 tablespoons Jay’s Blackening Mix (recipe follows)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- White rémoulade (for serving)
- Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 7 minutes. In a large bowl, add alligator meat, and toss with Jay’s Blackening Mix.
- Add canola oil to the skillet, and carefully add alligator in batches. Let cook until meat is blackened and releases easily, 2 to 3 minutes. When it releases, turn each piece, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove alligator from the skillet, and serve hot with white rémoulade.
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated onion
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground oregano
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Store covered for up to 1 year.