What Does Alligator Taste Like? [Definitive Guide]

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If healthy meat alternatives are what you are looking for, alligator meat is a great option to consider.

Chicken, fish, and pork are popular meats around the world, but alligator is becoming more popular.

Gator meat is winning the hearts of many worldwide. It is especially popular in Southern United States.

This article will cover what alligator tastes like and common questions related to its taste.

What Does Alligator Taste Like?

Most foodies argue that alligator tastes like chicken. Some others claim that the answer to the question, “what does alligator taste like?” is a mild fishiness.

Alligator is often chewy. However, it can be less so depending on how it is prepared.

Moreover, the part of alligator you eat affects your flavour experience. The meat tastes different when it comes from different parts of the reptile.

A significant reason the parts taste differently is that they are prepared in different ways. Cooking methods affect the eventual taste of the reptile meat.

Different sorts of muscles make up the various parts. Invariably, this affects the flavour and texture of the meat.

Alligator meat is categorised into three basic parts. There are the white tail meat, the body meat and the ribs. 

Alligator Tail 

The alligator tail tastes very mild. It is the most delicate part of the meat from the animal.

The tenderloin comes from the tail. It is similar to veal because of its tenderness.

The tenderloin is the part of alligator that people compare to chicken. This is because it has a light flavour, mild and easy on the tongue.

Alligator tail is mostly white meat. 

It is tender and quite juicy. Typically, alligator recipes will require marinades, but meat from its tail do not. This is because of how soft it is.

Alligator tail meat is best served as fillets or steaks. They are also served as appetisers accompanying a very rich sauce.

Because alligator tail is quite tender, they are more popular and served as the chicken-like, crowd-pleasing meat.

They can be grilled or pan-fried and usually have a great flavour when cooked either way. 

Alligator Body and Legs

Alligator legs and body make up the dark meat section.

The meat from this part of the reptile is tougher and gamier. Nevertheless, alligator’s dark meat is also delicious.

The body meat has a strong flavour which is much tougher than the tender veal-like tail.

Some consider it to be similar to pork shoulder. Alligator legs are a known delicacy. They are popularly served up as “alligator wings”.

The treat is fried to crisp brown perfection, then served with a spicy sauce. 

Alligator Ribs

Another alligator inspired delicacy are alligator ribs. Particularly delicious, this sweet dish is easy to prepare.

It is cooked with a sweet glaze or citrus marinade. Alligator ribs can be braised in the oven till they fall off the bone.

If prepared well, alligator ribs will taste tender and rich.

All you have to do is cover them with foil, so it does not dry out. You can also smoke the ribs on a smoker.

They also turn out great when grilled. To grill alligator ribs, soak in a marinade for 2 or 3 hours.

Furthermore, the ribs are meaty, with tons of flesh on each rib.

So you can be sure they will barely shrink when prepared.

All in all, alligator meat has a great taste, with a vibrant, rich flavour, especially when cooked well. 

What Does Fried Alligator Taste Like?

To answer the question of how does fried alligator taste, imagine a crossbreed between pork, chicken and fish.

Fried alligator meat has a firm texture on the outside, but not too crisp.

Inside, it maintains a firmness quite similar to that of pork. However, it is also chewy and rubbery.

Its chewiness is more than that of beef or chicken. Some even consider it chewier than pork.

The taste of fried alligator meat is like a fishy chicken, but somehow still unique.

Overall, it maintains a unique flavour profile. You can’t miss the fact that it is a water animal. 

Does Alligator Taste Like Chicken?

When does alligator taste like chicken? Depends on what part of the reptile you are dining on.

Foodies reference the veal-like tail of alligators. It is a white meat that is quite similar to poultry.

If you don’t have a wide range of taste experience, it is easy to mistake alligator for chicken. Some blame this on genetic similarities between birds and crocodiles.

Birds are the closest living relatives to crocodiles. Still, a lot of people argue that flavor-wise, alligator meat isn’t like chicken.

But, as we’ve stated earlier, the taste will depend on what part of alligator is being served. 

Does Alligator Taste Good?

Generally, alligator meat from all edible parts of the reptile tastes pretty good.

Since alligator meat is lean meat, it has a low-fat content. This means it is not overly fatty.

Instead, the meat is firm with a light-grain texture and delicate flavour.

The tail meat is more popular than the darker middle meat.

People prefer alligator’s tail meat because it feels just like rabbit, fish, chicken or pork.

Alligator tastes best when cooked in cutlets.

They are also delicious in baked and fried foods recipes. You can use alligator meat to make a variety of recipes.

Some include Gator Ribs, Gator, Tail Picadillo and Gator Piquantes. Alligator meat is versatile.

This is because it tastes good, whether grilled, fried, baked, or smoked. 

Is Alligator Considered Meat or Fish?

While people question what alligator tastes like, they also wonder if alligator is considered meat or fish.

Well, the answer depends on who you ask. 

The Catholic Church has classified reptiles as ‘fish’. This classification was necessary because members cannot eat meat or fowl during Lent.

However, the definition is strictly Catholic.

Alligators are reptiles. Some classify the animal as meat based on the texture of its produce.

Tail meat from alligator is similar to veal while the darker meat is compared to red meat. The tougher section is cooked like beef or ground like sausage.

The body and legs are raw and look more like a rabbit or pork meat.

Because of alligator’s unique taste, it is hard to determine whether it tastes more like fish or meat. 

Is Alligator Meat Safe to Eat?

Alligator meat is relatively safe to eat.

Nutritionists consider alligator a healthy meat source. Regardless, there are still ways to ensure eating alligator is quite safe. 

  • Keep the alligator meat in the freezer until you are ready to use it. 
  • Avoid refreezing alligator meat, so only thaw the quantity you need.
  • Never serve alligator rare. Make sure your alligator is well-cooked. 
  • Remove fat content as much as you can.
  • Cook with as little oil as possible to preserve the nutritional value. 
  • Marinate alligator meat for as long as is necessary (2-6 hours)
  • Don’t reuse marinades to avoid bacterial growth from raw juices. 

Can You Eat Alligator While Pregnant?

Yes, you can eat alligator while pregnant.

Alligator meat — especially the tail — is clean and mild meat. Also, gator contains preservatives and additives.

Farm-grown alligators are also reared in freshwater and feed on frogs. Therefore, they are supposed to be harmless.

Nevertheless, you ought to ensure the source of your alligator meat. Make sure they were correctly reared in a safe environment.

If you have any doubts about the origin of the meat, do not eat it.

Ensure that you cook the meat properly before consumption. All undercooked meats are dangerous for pregnant people.

Undercooked meat can lead to toxoplasmosis, which is relatively harmless except during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis can cause stillbirths, miscarriage or eye problems for the fetus. 

Is it Healthy to Eat Alligator?

Yes, it is healthy to eat alligator.

Alligator meat is carb-free and has barely 3% total fat. Besides, most of the calories you’d find in alligator is from protein.

It also has high iron content. Alligator meat helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.

Furthermore, its meat contains muscle-building nutrients. Because it is lean meat, it is recommended for gym rats.

Alligator is excellent for people with heart conditions. This is because of its low cholesterol content.

It also has an extraordinary amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Also, lovers of the meat believe that it can cure a cold and manage asthmatic conditions in humans.

Finally, alligator meat is said to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-arthritic properties. 

To Sum Up 

Alligator meat is filed with several delicious contradictions.

Some parts of it are lightweight and mild, while other parts are heavier and dark. Even so, the reptile meat is also healthy and safe to eat.

Therefore, there is no reason not to try out the delicious delicacy that is alligator.