Ask The Critic: Prime Gator
|Dinner is served.|
Dear Exalted Know it All:
A native Floridian told me once that most of the alligator tail sold in Florida restaurants is the throwaway meat from the outsides of the tail. It's the center tenderloin that the natives eat, he said. So is there anywhere in South Florida that makes an edible tenderloin of alligator tail, instead of that chewy junk served to tourists?
As you can see from the picture above, when we here at New Times are craving prime gator tail, we generally go out into the swamps at night and catch it. That's one way to be sure you'll get the best meat available, and there are many outfits in South Florida that will not only take you hunting, but butcher up that baby afterwards and send you home with a cooler full of edible parts (and the tail is just one). Mark Clemmons of Everglades Adventures out in Clewiston is one of the best (call him at 863-983-8999) but there are many outfits to choose from.
If you don't feel like dropping a couple of grand for do-it-yourself saurian, there's one foolproof place to eat your gator and that's at Alligator Alley. Proprietor/chef Kilmo Pacillo has made it his mission to know everything there is to know about sourcing and cooking gator, from how to sautee a scallopini just right to his own recipe for barbecue sauce. Kilmo's a stickler for his gator, and you can believe his "gator bites" are not made from scraps. Occasionally Kilmo also gets fresh gator ribs in, which are considered a great Florida delicacy, and these he barbecues on a smoker. Call over there and ask when they're getting their next batch of ribs, tie your bib on, and get ready to roar.
1321 E. Commercial Blvd.
Readers: feel free to jump in here if you know where to get good gator grub.
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