Friday, January 6, 2012

Grilled Iguana

A number of years ago, when our children were young, a friend of ours gave us some iguana meat that had been brought into the U.S. from Mexico and cooked by his Mexican workers. It was excellent. We finished off what we had quickly and the kids were asking for more. I've wanted to try more iguana since that time. 
This year, for Christmas, I found some iguana meat for sale on the internet and ordered two pounds of it. What recipes I found were mostly for whole iguanas and so I ended up adapting one of them. I wish I could find out how the Mexican workers cooked their iguana because it was really excellent. Our two pounds included what looks like a portion of the torso and hind legs and half of the back bone and one of the front legs. 
I cooked it for our family the day before Christmas. The recipe called for soaking guajillo and pasilla chiles and blending them with vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper, then marinating the iguana meat in that mixture for two hours or more, then roasting it at high heat until tender. I got a mixture of three different types of dried chiles from our cupboard and soaked them for several hours and then blended them with apple cider vinegar. I was concerned that it would overpower the meat and I was right. Fortunately, I only marinated half of it. 
The other half I coated with olive oil and cooked all of it on our outdoor gas grill. 
As strange as it sounds, iguana meat is actually quite a bit like chicken. It is a white meat and has much the same consistency and is very mild. I did not like my combination of peppers and was not fond of the meat cooked in the marinade. I quite liked the meat that was coated in oil and grilled. It was mild and had a nice grilled taste. 
I was a little disappointed with my experimentation and would really like to try cooking a whole iguana someday with a better recipe. Below, the backbone portion is much more recognizable with most of the meat pulled off.

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