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What do we mean when we say exotic meat?

Alligator Meat

The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a member of the order Crocodilia, which also includes the true crocodile, the caiman and the gharial. Adult males are, on average, 11 feet long and females 8 feet long. Alligators can be differentiated from the true crocodile by looking at their snout, which is flatter and broader and conceals the teeth when closed, whereas a crocodile’s teeth remain visible even when the snout is closed. Alligators, as most crocodilians do, inhabit fresh water environments such as river basins, lakes and marshes.

In Florida, American alligators were heavily hunted and came to be classified as endangered in 1967. Governmental action in the 70’s and 80’s brought the poaching and illegal trade of alligator hides under control, causing alligator populations to bounce back. In the present day, alligator hunting remains strictly controlled. Alligators used in the production of meats and skins are mostly farmed. Alligator’s white meat is often compared to chicken or pork for its fine texture, yet its flavor is unique. Farm raised alligator meat has very good nutritional values, its meat is low in fat and high in proteins, providing large amounts of niacin and the B12 vitamins as well as potassium and phosphorus. Recipes for other meats such as chicken, veal and fish can be easily adapted for alligator meat.

What do we mean when we say exotic meat?

Alligator Tenderloins $13.99 lb

 

Exotic Meat: Rattlesnake

In the American world of exotic cuisine, the rattlesnake plays a significant part. A Hispanic folk remedy in its dried form, this exotic meat is available in a variety of recipes. Dishes include deep-fried rattlesnake meat served with coleslaw, rattlesnake fajita pitas and a slew of others.

Rattlesnake meat is consumed worldwide and prized as a delicacy by various cultures, it is thought to “warm the heart” when eaten by certain Asian cultures. Rattlesnake meat likely had its beginnings in America at the Sweetwater, Texas annual Rattlesnake Roundup. This event, likely the biggest venue for the advertisement of the reptile’s meat began in the 1950’s. Since then it has harvested close to a quarter-million pounds of rattlesnake meat. In whatever recipe one decides to employ it in, from chili to barbeque, rattlesnake meat attracts both local and tourist dollars like nothing else at the Texas event.

As per the taste, many rattlesnake meat eaters simply, and fairly accurately, respond that it tastes just like chicken. So it only stands to reason that it is similar to cook as well. In fact most rattlesnake cooks proclaim; “It’s the catching that’s the hard part.”

Frozen Rattlesnake bone-in $ 44.00 lb

Exotic Meat: Turtle

Turtle Soup

One turtle

2 onions

selected sweet herbs

juice of 1 lemon

five quarts water

1 glass Medeira

After ridding it of its entrails, chop up the turtle’s coarser parts (meat and bones). Stew the chopped parts in 4 quarts of water along with the herbs and onions and salt and pepper for 4 hours. Stew it slowly, but do not let the water cease to boil. Then strain the soup and add the more tender parts as well as the green fat (first separately simmered in 2 quarts of water for one hour). Thicken the soup with brown flour and return it to the soup pot to simmer gently for one hour more. If you happen to find eggs in the turtle, boil them separately for 4 hours and add them to the soup before serving. If eggs are unavailable substitute them with force meat balls. Then add the lemon juice and the wine. Beat up immediately and serve.

Some cooks use a variation of the recipe that excludes both the coarse and fine meat from the final soup. This involves adding the finer meat without straining the soup and cooking for a total of 5 hours (the last hour with the finer meat). Then strain the soup, thicken and add the green fat, cut into inch-long strips. This makes a more presentable soup than if the fine meat is left in.

Force Meat Balls (for substituting the eggs) –

6 tablespoons finely chopped turtle meat

2 yolks hard boiled egg

1 tablespoon butter

a bit of oyster liquor (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and rub to a paste. Season with cayenne pepper, mace, ½ teaspoon white sugar and salt. Bind the whole composition with a single whisked egg and shape into balls. Dip the balls in egg and then cover with powdered cracker. Fry in butter and add to soup prior to serving.