Crocodile Meat for the Adventurous Palate

crocodile meatSince time immemorial, people have looked at crocodiles as terrifying beasts that are best avoided. Lately, however, the predator that ruled the earth during the Mesozoic era has been redefined as an exotic culinary treat, and adventurous diners can now choose crocodile meat as their lunch or dinner.

What Crocodile Meat Has to Offer

Most of the people who have tried crocodile meat say that its texture a cross between chicken and pork, but it has a mildly fishy taste. The meat of some crocodiles is almost white, a bit reminiscent of frog legs. Generally, the taste of crocodile meat is neutral and needs to be enhanced with flavoring. Most diners comment that it is best prepared grilled or barbecued.

Crocodile meat has more protein than sirloin beef and chicken breast. It has practically no fat – only 1.9 grams per 100 grams of meat. If the crocodile is chosen at the right size, crocodile meat is surprisingly tender. Today crocodile meat is available minced, filleted, or cubed.

Cuts from the different parts of the crocodile lend themselves to different types of cooking. Recipes 4 Aus gives a good description of how to best cook the different parts of the crocodile in the post “Alligator, Cayman & Crocodile Cuts,” specifying that the leg and the neck are among the toughest parts of the animal. These are “generally sold cubed and used in recipes which call for a longer cooking time or minced and used for burgers. However, it can be used for pan/stir fried recipes provided it is either cut into thin bite-sized pieces or given a good pounding with a mallet before cooking. Darker and stronger tasting than the more tender tail meat…”

According to this article, the meat from crocodile meat is comparable to chicken breasts and can be prepared in the same way, but the meat from the notorious tail of the crocodile is said to yield the best meat ever. It says, The meat from the tail is a pale pink to white and is generally considered the choicest cut along with jaw meat. It is very much like veal in texture and can be substituted in many veal and chicken recipes. The tenderloin, which is a cylindrical tube, cut comes from his part of the animal…”

Preparing Crocodile Meat

While crocodile meat is still considered exotic, experts say it is not difficult to prepare. Petalac Johnson of Outback Cooking shares some great Outback Snack recipes. Johnson says, “Crocodile is easy to prepare and cook. It is best cooked from frozen as during the thawing process most of the moisture runs out decreasing the flavour. It should be cooked for two minutes on either side and then allowed to stand for a few minutes. It is best served just cooked (in red meat terms, medium rare)…”

Specifically, he instructs readers to “Remove excess fat after cooking. Do not use a large number of ingredients (other than herbs or spices) – no more than three is recommended. If frying, always use butter or olive oil as they will not impart a flavour that is unique. Do not use margarine as the hydrogenated fats can emit an unpleasant flavour and prevent you from using other dairy products such as cream in the recipe. Keep it plain and simple…”

Pairing Crocodile with Wine

If you plan to prepare crocodile meat for some guests and you want to make an occasion of it by serving wine, Dr Vinifera of Wine Spectator has some straightforward advice: “…Alligator meat tastes similar to veal, and I’ve also heard it described as a cross between chicken and rabbit. It depends on the preparation, but I think the best bet may be a soft red wine like a Pinot Noir or a light, dry white like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc…”

Having heard from the experts, you can now have a fabulous barbie featuring crocodile meat among the patties and kabobs on your grill. Serve a good red wine, and enjoy your venture into the world of exotic foods.

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