Will It Sous Vide? Tasty Gator Bites

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Will It Sous Vide? Tasty Gator Bites

Claire Lower

Today 7:00am

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Hello everyone, and welcome back to a very chompy edition of Will It Sous Vide?, the weekly column where I usually make whatever you want me to with my immersion circulator.

Will It Sous Vide? Tender, Buttery EscargotWill It Sous Vide? Tender, Buttery EscargotWill It Sous Vide? Tender, Buttery Escargot

Hello everyone, and welcome back to a very buttery and savory edition of Will It Sous Vide?, the…Read more Read more

Duck confit won last week’s topic-picking session but, as you can see, we’re not doing duck, at least not today. The bad news is that it’s surprisingly hard to find duck legs in this town that aren’t already confited. The good news is that I was able to find a whole (frozen) duck, and it is currently defrosting in my fridge, so you’ll get your confit. You’ll also get duck breast, duck wings, and any other bonus duck I can get off that carcass. Don’t freak out about not getting to see duck today, is what I’m saying.

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Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about I actually did sous vide: gator meat. As I mentioned on Monday, the butcher at my local snobby-hippy-overpriced grocery store was very excited to show me his gator meat, and I was very excited to purchase it. (And, as someone who did not enjoy her time at a certain SEC college with a certain chompy mascot, I was also excited to eat some gator, like some sort of weird culinary revenge.) I had only ever had gator in deep-fried, nugget form—and loved it—so I was really curious to how it would do in our little hot tub.

If you’ve never had gator before, it’s usually described as having a meaty, sometimes chewy texture, with a flavor that exists somewhere between chicken, frog legs, and fish. It can get really tough if you don’t cook it well, and no amount of crispy batter or sweet dipping sauce can save a rubbery, fishy gator nugget. If prepared correctly however, it can be transcendent. According Wide Open Country, gator has a “chicken taste, but it’s not,” and “anybody that don’t like that is communist.” (Paradoxically, I fed some to my commie boyfriend, and he had nothing but positive things to say.)

There are a few recipes around the internet for sous-vide gator, including one for a chicken salad-like dish, with suggested cooking temperatures hovering around 131-135℉ and cooking times ranging from one to three hours. My goal was to make a flavorful, not-fried nugget that wasn’t chewy or fishy, so I set my Anova to 131℉—I like to go low and slow—and ground up a super savory and garlicky rub.

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