In Florida, it is a safe bet that the most bodies of fresh water, larger than a puddle, hold at least one alligator. Their growing presence is a welcome turnaround from decades past when they were under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The American alligator is a conservation success story and hunting them is an absolute blast. This versatile recipe can be adapted to many different game meats as a sandwich filling or standalone appetizer.
If you are lucky enough to harvest an alligator, do not forget about the meat outside of the traditional tail cuts. The tail itself has six long muscles. There are also two backstraps, two jowls, the legs, and more. A six foot alligator yields an impressive amount of meat and a 10 footer can feed a family for months.
Serving: Makes about 20 balls, 3-4 people
Time to Make: 1 hour
Alternate Cuts That Work: This is an extremely versatile recipe. Try with gator legs, gar, or possibly carp.
1 pound alligator, finely ground
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ cup mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp barbeque sauce
2 tbsp butter, melted
4-5 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground pepper
Cuban or French bread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Form mixture into balls about 1-1 ½ inches in diameter. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet as you go. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Slice Cuban bread in half for sandwiches. Toast the bread. Remove the meatballs and let rest for about 5 minutes
- Remove the bread to a plate and build the sandwich with your favorite aioli or remoulade (recommended) along with green onions, lettuce, and/or banana peppers.