I think it’s safe to say that the last thing you want to see at the end of a five-mile hike, especially when the trail is a loop and you can see your car, is something blocking your path. Especially when that something is a particularly large alligator. One who doesn’t feel compelled to move. And there’s rather deep water on either side of the rather narrow trail….
In keeping with my foray into culinary adventures, I cooked gator for dinner the other night. I had eaten gator before, I had just never cooked it. With a recent victory under my belt (I wouldn’t call the frog legs I cooked a smashing success, but they were a success none-the-less, with a pleasant taste and no one got sick) I was feeling brave. I figured since I had mastered the art of cooking amphibians, I should give reptiles a try. The same store that sold the frog legs, McKinnon’s in Portsmouth, NH, also sold alligator meat, so I bought some and gave it a try.
There were slightly more recipes for gator than frog legs. Like usual, I took what I liked the best from each recipe and made it my own. After cutting the meat into nugget-sized chunks, I soaked it in a mix of milk and hot wing sauce for several hours. I made a beer batter by mixing equal parts beer with flour. I used Shipyard GingerBreadHead, which is seasonal and may also be regional, but made the BEST beer batter that I have ever tasted. (It also made a tasty cooking cocktail with a shot of vanilla vodka in it and a cinnamon-sugar rim.)
I seasoned flour with Old Bay, Nature’s Seasoning, salt and pepper. I used Grapeseed Oil for frying because one of the recipes I read named it and I had some that had been sitting unused in my pantry for forever and this seemed an ideal way to get rid of it. Working in batches, I dredged the gator in the flour mixture, dunked it in the beer batter, and fried it in the oil over medium high heat, turning to brown all sides nicely. I have to say that it came out really good, the best gator I’ve ever eaten. I won’t hesitate to cook gator in the future.
I also made a cheddar/mustard/beer dipping sauce to go with the fried gator, which was a big hit. It was a little bland, because on this I more or less did follow a recipe. Next time (and I will definitely make this sauce again) I’m going to try adding a bit of Worcestershire, maybe a touch of Tabasco and a pinch of garlic salt.