I made you some alligator!

I don’t cook alligator meat regularly, mostly because I don’t live in alligator country. But on a recent trip to Arkansas I was gifted a cooler full of alligator meat that was hunted locally by a farmer friend of mine (ie., the one who appears on the very first page of my book “Girl Hunter.” I luuuurve him.). Since we were planning a big outdoor barbecue I decided to make it a finger food appetizer, so people could spear it with a toothpick and enjoy it in small doses as a party food and alternate between their cold bear in one hand and a smoky bite of alligator in the other.  I used tail meat, which is often considered the most nutritional part of the alligator, but steak from the body and feat are also very lean and high in protein.


Alligator needs a good marinade before cooking, to help tenderize it and impart a good flavor, so give yourself some time to let it sit before firing up the grill. You can play with a combination of flavorings, but be sure you include acid and salt in your mixture.

Use a strong flavored wood on your grill as well, and get the coals down to an even radiant heat of about 250 degrees F. Serve it with a dipping sauce, I like barbecue sauce but you could use something more sweet and tangy.

Have you ever tried gator? If not, you can even order it online these days from some specialty meat purveyors. Give it a try at your next summer cookout; you’ll be turning people into enthusiastic alligator eaters in no time, and spicing up the summer menu.


“Barbecued Alligator”

Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins


  • 2 pounds of alligator steak cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar


  • In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir well until fully combined. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • On a grill, over even radiant heat at 250 degrees F, lay the pieces of alligator meat and close the lid. Smoke and barbecue for about 15 minutes, turning the pieces over with tongs, until they are cooked through.
  • Transfer to a platter and serve with toothpicks and barbecue sauce drizzled over the top.