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Alligator Beef Jerky

Gators are a lot less scary when they come in the edible form of jerky! Exotic jerky, such as alligator jerky have become immensely popular among fans of dried and spiced meat. Alligator jerky is among other exotic choices such as emu, elk, ostrich and more. But you don't have to go to Mardi Gras or the Everglades to taste this treat ... you can make it yourself!

Making alligator jerky is really not much different than the usual beef jerky process. You just have to find somewhere that sells alligator meat. Most small town butchers will have this offering, and if they don't regularly stock it, they can get it. If you do not have a local specialty butcher, there are some online sites you can order it from, such as CajunGrocer.

Basic Alligator Jerky

• alligator tail
• garlic salt
• black pepper

1. Cut alligator tail into long strips, one inch wide and one-quarter inch thick or less.
2. Prepare the jerky salt mix by combining the equal parts of garlic salt and black pepper.
3. Sprinkle a thin layer of the jerky salt mix on a cutting board.
4. Lay alligator strips on salt mix.
5. Sprinkle a layer of salt mix on top of alligator, so both sides are completely salted.
6. Stick a toothpick through one end of each meat strip and suspend strips from oven or smoker rack after shaking off excess salt.
7. Heat or smoke around 120 degrees until dry (about four hours).
8. Store jerky in airtight containers or eat right away!

Cajun Alligator Jerky

Since alligator meat is popular in New Orleans and Bayou-themed restaurants around the nation, Cajun flavoring seems like a natural choice for alligator jerky. This is a Cajun beef jerky recipe adapted to make alligator beef jerky.

• 10 lb alligator meat
• 1/2 of a small bottle hot sauce
• 1/8 cup lemon juice
• 10 oz Worchestershire sauce
• 6 oz Soy sauce
• 1/8 cup Caynne pepper
• 1/2 small Bottle onion salt
• 1/2 small Bottle liquid smoke

1. Mix ingredients.
2. Marinate 24-30 hrs.
3. Dehydrate in dehydrator or a 150-degree oven.

Buying Alligator Jerky

Many jerky makers pride themselves on their exotic selection. Dave P. from Wilkes-Barre, PA favors Alligator Bob's brand.

"I've always been a fan of beef and deer jerky, but I never got into the exotic kinds. But once I saw alligator jerky -- while in Florida of course -- and at first I thought, 'ew.' Then, I remember that I tried alligator sausage at a Cajun place in State College and liked it. I gave Alligator Bob's a try and man, was it tasty. I'd say that alligator meat sort of tastes like chicken and it is whiter meat as well. The Cajun seasoning was just right. I like spicy stuff and this was just fantastic. I am glad that I can order this stuff online!"