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Alligator in the Kitchen

The processing plants that cut and package alligator meat are licensed and inspected by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The white meat has a fine, light-grained texture that many people compare favorably to pork and chicken. However, alligator has its own unique flavor that is easily enhanced with seasonings and sauces. Many of your favorite recipes for veal, chicken and seafood can be successfully prepared with alligator.

Alligator is usually purchased frozen. Handle the meat as you would any other frozen product; mark the package with the date you purchased it and make sure it is tightly wrapped to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the meat in your refrigerator and use promptly. Do not refreeze once thawed.

If you are lucky enough to be able to buy fresh meat, here are several preparation tips. Remove all excess fat on the outside of the cut and between the meat layers. For extra tenderness, use a meat mallet or a cuber and then cut across the grain of the meat to yield meal-sized portions. For freezer storage, wrap tightly with cellophane and freezer paper to prevent freezer burn. A University of Florida study found that four months of frozen storage had no measurable effect on meat quality.

Alligator for Dinner

When compared to other meats, such as beef, chicken and fish, farm-raised alligator is low in fat and calories and high in protein.

Not only is alligator meat low in fat, but it is also low in saturated fatty acids and high in monounsaturated fatty acids. This is good news,

since saturated fatty acids are generally recognized as a cause of increased cholesterol levels in the body and monounsaturated fatty acids are credited with decreasing cholesterol levels. This mix of fat types represents a correct balance from a dietary standpoint.


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