Monday, March 16, 2015

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 204: Eat Alligator

Fried alligator tail.
I’ve got a number of unusual food items on my “bucket list,” and thanks to a little help from some friends on Saturday, I officially scratched off one of the unusual foods that I’ve had on my list for a few years – alligator.

I’ve had “eat alligator” on my bucket list for a while, and a few months ago I mentioned it to my radio colleague Luther Upton after I ate chitterlings one morning for breakfast while live on the radio. As it so happens, one of the station’s long time advertisers, The Country Store at Barnett’s Crossroads, Ala., sells alligator tail. One of Luther’s good friends, Mrs. Clarnette Bohannon of Goodway, heard us talking about eating alligator, so she bought some and invited us to a big cookout at her house on Saturday.

Having never eaten alligator, I was tempted to research it online and was somewhat surprised to read that alligator meat is actually a generally healthy food. It’s lean, contains almost no saturated fat, contains a high amount of vitamins and minerals and is low in cholesterol. It’s also a good source of protein.

I watched Mrs. Clarnette as she cooked our gator tail on Saturday, and she cooked it much like someone would cook fish or chicken. She battered it and then dropped it into a grease-filled fryer. After a few minutes, she’d dip each piece out with a scoop and drop it in a large, paper towel-lined pan to cool.

To the naked eye, fried gator tail looks a lot like fried boneless chicken fingers. That’s also sort of what they taste like. I sampled one a piping hot piece of gator tail that was just a few minutes out the fryer, and, because alligators are aquatic reptiles, I honestly expected it to taste like a fishy snake. Instead, too me, it tasted like chicken, that is to say, pretty dang good.

In fact, out of all the unusual foods and drinks that I’ve tried since I started this bucket list series several years ago, alligator meat is probably the best-tasting of them all. Looking back, among other things, I’ve eaten chitterlings (Jan. 2, 2015), pig feet (Oct. 6, 2013) and octopus (Jan. 31, 2013). I also found time to sample goat’s milk on March 29, 2013. Of all those, I’d say alligator would be my favorite, and I wouldn’t hesitate to eat it again.

If you’re interested in eating alligator meat yourself, I invite you to visit The Country Store at Barnett’s Crossroads, where the proprietor, Bud Herndon, can order you as much as you'd like. From what I understand, alligator meat is somewhat expensive compared to other types of meat, but in my opinion, it’s well worth it, especially if you’ve never eaten any before.

In the end, how many of you have eaten alligator? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? What other unusual foods would you recommend that I try? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Special thanks for Junior and Clarnette Bohannon and Luther Upton for inviting me to their cookout on Saturday and for helping me officially scratch this unusual food item off of my bucket list. I do appreciate it.)

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