Out West, we’re accustomed to all sorts of wildlife in the mountains, on the plains and even in our small towns and neighborhoods. It’s not uncommon to see young bucks chowing down on garden beds, momma moose and their babies strolling down Main Street, bison grazing in big open fields, bears enjoying a quick dip and mountain lions breaking into homes.
While those last two aren’t exactly everyday occurrences, they’re by far more expected than the recent crop of wild animals popping up where they don’t belong. Within a week of each other, animal control officers in New Plymouth, Idaho, and Lake Bay, Washington, found themselves wrestling a whole new species of neighborhood pest: the American alligator.
And while both the Idaho alligator and Washington alligator made for some fun headlines and local excitement, all we can think about at Mountain America Jerky is alligator jerky. Sorry, not sorry, gators.
A Little Alligator Meat History
Alligator has been good eatin’ in the American South since the 1800s and a delicacy around the world since as far back as the Ming dynasty. While alligator hunting is legal in six states (Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and Texas). Southerners marinate, tenderize, fry, roast, smoke and stew wild alligator for gumbo and other traditional Creole and southern dishes.
Where does alligator jerky meat come from?
Most alligator meat found in American restaurants and specialty stores or used for alligator jerky is from farm-raised alligators. This is in part because the American alligator was once on the brink of extinction due to both loss of habitat and large-scale poaching (for their skins) and hunting (for their meat). Thankfully, the American alligator was placed on the endangered species list in 1967 and is no longer considered a species of concern.
Why We LOVE Alligator Jerky
“Tastes like chicken.” We beg to differ.
No offense to chicken, but our alligator jerky is just better. While it does have a mild flavor like chicken, alligator has a slight fishy flavor that pairs flawlessly with our mild Cajun spice recipe. We also only use whole alligator tail meat to make our delicious, chewy gator jerky and slowly hickory-smoke each piece to perfection.
And while almost any jerky is a healthy, high-protein treat, alligator jerky really delivers on the health front. Not only is gator jerky low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat (the good kind of fat that can reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower the risk of stroke and heart disease), it’s protein-to-calorie ratio is impressive (46 grams of protein in just 232 calories!). Now that’s what we call a snack.
Alligator Jerky, Three Ways
We love alligator meat so much, we make it three different ways! In addition to gator jerky, we offer Alligator Meat Snack Sticks – perfect for when you’re on the go – and Louisiana Style Cajun Alligator in Cajun gravy – cooked and ready to be poured over your favorite rice or pasta for a complete meal.
No matter if you like your alligator as jerky, links or canned, we’ve got you covered at Mountain America Jerky!