Spoil your taste buds with this deliciously simple Smoked Alligator recipe. After a short milk bath, a quick dry rub, and less than an hour on the smoker, you have got a meal of flavor perfection.
Are you tired of the same old chicken or beef for dinner? Looking to try something a little more adventurous and exotic? Well, it is time to give this mouth-watering recipe for smoked alligator tenderloin a try. Alligator meat is lean, flavorful, and surprisingly versatile, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a unique culinary experience.
With its tender texture and subtle taste that falls somewhere between chicken and fish, this alligator recipe is sure to impress even the most discerning palates. So, fire up your smoker and get ready to take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey with this delectable smoked alligator tenderloin recipe!
Benefits of a milk bath
The first thing that we want to do to the alligator tenderloins is to give them a soak in milk. Milk is going to help remove the "swampy" flavor from the meat. I do the same thing with different fish, like bluefish, to help remove any strong fishiness. I have seen and tried some recipes that call for a buttermilk mixture. It doesn't need to be too complicated with these tenderloins. However, if you have buttermilk, you can use that in place of milk. Buttermilk does have higher fat and proteins than whole milk. Those can help break down the off flavors of fish or gator easier, but in my opinion, it isn't worth an extra trip to the store if you don't have it already.
Step One - Place the alligator meat along with milk in a large zip lock bag and place it in the refrigerator for three hours.
After the alligator has soaked in milk for three hours, remove it and dry the tenderloins off with a paper towel. We will now season the alligator.
How to smoke alligator tenderloin
Step Two - In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the dry rub. Sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Mix them thoroughly then sprinkle each of the tenderloin. Make sure they are all well-seasoned. Looking to add a little heat? You can also add some red pepper flakes, or even use a spicy cajun seasoning. If you want to add some sweetness to the rub, white sugar or brown sugar will work just fine. If you don't feel like making your own rib, any of your favorite rubs will work for this smoked alligator.
Step Three - Once the tenderloins are seasoned, place them directly onto the grill grates in the preheated smoker. Smoke at 225°F for about an hour. We are cooking the alligator until the internal temperature just reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the temperature from the thickest part of the tenderloin. You can use a charcoal smoker, a pellet grill, or even a smoker tube in your gas grill. The key here is to smoke it long enough to allow the alligator meat to absorb the smoke flavor without overcooking it.
Step Four - Once the alligator is done, remove them from the smoker and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!
What alligator meat are we smoking?
In this recipe, we are not using the whole alligator, we are going to smoke the alligator tenderloin. The tenderloin is tail meat from the alligator. This white meat has a firm texture and a great taste. When we smoke meat, we are using indirect cooking with smoke for flavor, and or, cooking it low and slow to break down collagen and connective tissues. For alligator tenderloins, we are smoking to give them enhanced flavor. The tenderloin is lean meat, with no connective tissue to break down, it has a mild flavor, which cooperates well with smoking. This cook time is relatively short like I do with many fish fillets like smoked cod, smoked red snapper, and smoked tuna. The tenderloins are easy to handle, unlike a whole gator!
How to serve Smoked Alligator?
Serve smoked alligator with classic bbq sides like loaded smoked potatoes, or smoked scalloped potatoes. Add sauteed broccoli rabe or some smoked zucchini for an easy veggie. You can also serve smoked alligator with a great rice dish. Fried rice is a favorite in our house, or try our rice stuffed zucchini and easily include a vegetable in your meal. The size of the gator tenderloins will vary slightly. You will want to serve 2 to 3 tenderloins per person for the main course of your meal.
- Traeger Grill or other smoker
- 1 lb alligator tenderloins
- .5 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Place the alligator tenderloins in a zip-lock bag along with the milk. Place it in the refrigerator for three hours.
- Remove the tenderloins from the milk bath and dry them off with paper towels.
- In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients. Mix them together thoroughly.
- Season all sides of the alligator tenderloins with the dry rub seasoning.
- Place the seasoned alligator onto the grill grates in your preheated smoker.
- Smoke the tenderloins at 225℉ for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160℉.
- Once the alligator tenderloins are done smoking, remove them and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!