Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alligator: Grilled Sirloin

In June 2004, we flew into Baton Rouge and spent three or four days in southern Louisiana, including New Orleans, before driving to Memphis to spend time with Rachael and Nate. I had never eaten alligator and took every opportunity to order it as part of a meal while we were there. I probably had it 5 or 6 times in one form or another. I specifically remember having fried alligator as part of a cajun platter at Bayou Delight outside Houma and a spicy sausage "gator dog" after the Honey Island Swamp Tour. What I wanted, but could never get, was alligator that was not fried or spiced up so much that I couldn't tell what alligator really tasted like. Well, I just recently got my chance. I found alligator sirloin meat at Charlie Brown Farms (
The sirloin is primarily from the tail and has very little fat. As instructions for cooking virtually all low-fat meat go, you are supposed to cook it at a high temperature for a short period of time, rare or medium rare.

I put on a coat of olive oil and salt and put it on the outside gas grill on high.

It cooked quickly and was very different from what I expected.

The flesh had the look and firmness of lobster tail and was quite juicy.

It had a slightly fruity taste and was tender and light, particularly the thicker dark meat.

It was more white than chicken and I read the term "delicate" to describe it, which is an apt description. I cannot understand why they destroy it in Louisiana with breading and frying it. It is absolutely wonderful on its own. When I have an opportunity to cook more, I will cook it the same way and eat it with melted butter, just like lobster. The alligator tenderloin is an even better cut of meat, coming from the area next to the tail bone and spinal column. I would really like to try it now.
One description I read of the taste was a "cross between frog legs and turtle meat." Turtle meat is not even close and it is much better than frog.


  1. I don't know if you're still checking this for comments, but I had a question. I recently bought some of this myself, and was wondering about how long you'd say it should cook in a frying pan?

    1. I would not worry about time, but would focus on the texture and color. I like mine so that it has turned white on the outside, but still retains some pink on the inside.