Gator sausage

  • Boys and I filled our gator tags this year. We make venison smoked sausage every winter after deer season, would like to use some gator for sausage. Any ideas or tips?

  • Walton's Employee

    @randynight Awesome job on filling your tags, post pictures here if you have any!

    Okay, few thoughts on making Sausage out of your Alligators. First, Alligator is almost as lean as Chicken Breast, somewhere around 3% fat so you are going to need to add some pork fat (you can use other fat as well, pork is just my favorite because of its creaminess) or you are going to end up with a dry crumbly product. If you do add pork fat I would do something around the range of 17 lb of Gator meat to 8 lb of pork fat or untrimmed pork butts.

    If you really don’t want to add any pork fat you can try what I did with chicken and add Cold Phosphate and Carrot Fiber or even better Cold Phosphate and Super Bind. Generally, I think Super Bind is a little expensive for the home processor but in the case where you have a really special product, it might be worth it for you? Super Bind is a blend of carrot fiber and potato starch so you get the additional water holding capacity of the carrot fiber plus the Potato Starch will begin to gel at the same temperature where your meat will start expelling most of its water so it is able to hold onto that water.

    Second, I’d get a really good frost on the meat before grinding it, so cut it into cubes and throw in the freezer until they start to get pretty hard and then I would grind twice through a 3/16" plate like normal brats if you are making a fresh product. If you are making a cured product then grind twice, 1st through a 3/8" and then through a 1/8".

    Third, if you are going to make a cured product I wouldn’t add Encapsulated Citric Acid if you are going to add cold phosphate as the two shouldn’t be used together. This is because the Citric Acid will lower the pH and the Cold Phosphate will raise it, so they will cancel each other out.

    Last some thoughts on seasonings

    If you think of using cured - The Cajun Sausage, or Andouille Sausage (Cajun) or for something a little different Cheeseburger Cheddarwurst Seasoning

    If you are staying Fresh Inferno Hot Bratwurst Seasoning or Jerry’s Bratwurst Seaoning(this is a really basic but good bratwurst that will let the Gator taste shine) South of the Border Cheddarwurst Seasoning (this is one of the best chicken brats and gator has some similarities) Habanero Mango Brat.

    Make sure you keep us up to date on how it all comes out!

  • @jonathon
    Thanks for the ideas. Yes, it is lean and any fat that is in it needs to be trimmed as it does not taste good, I have been told. We have been adding 20% pork trimmings to the venison, looks like you recommend about 50%. The binders you mention are interesting, I have only been into making sausage the last 3 seasons.
    My grandfather was big into butchering, he butchered 80 hogs the year he was 80. My mother and his family have an annual butchering day each February where 6-7 hogs are killed and cut up. I’m getting into it late, but enjoy it.
    0_1541520752482_Photo Sep 00_1541520768072_Photo Sep 04, 10 38 48 PM.jpg 4, 10 58 42 PM.jpg

  • Walton's Employee

    @randynight Nice pic and good luck! It sounds like you’ve got it handled. As far as fat content just try to get it somewhere in the 70/30 lean to fat ratio for the texture and taste.

  • @jonathon 0_1541520987496_Photo Sep 04, 10 38 48 PM.jpg Female we think. Hard to tell on a reptile, since it was 9’5" and only weighed 200 lbs we assumed female as males can be much heavier

  • I added a pinch of nutmeg and some high temp cheddar cheese and it was absolutely fantastic. I also mixed in 20% chicken thighs along with the pork fat. The Gator I got was very large over 500lbs. So was a little tough.

  • Walton's Employee

    @randynight I grew up in New York State so we didn’t run into Gator meat a lot, so excuse my ignorance on this topic but other than the tail what is commonly eaten from a gator? Is it pretty much all the meat? I’d imagine that the thighs have some good meat on them, no?

  • @Jonathon The tail is the bulk of the meat, and that is about all we saved. The jowl area has some good meat, I have heard. We didn’t save that, gator hunting is done at night and when it is about 2:00 am and you have been at several hours…

  • Walton's Employee

    @jonathon 2am in the swamp intentionally trying to run into an alligator? Yeah, I don’t think I am enough of a man for that! Get me in a tree stand or better yet go hunt it for me, I will stay in the cabin and get the processing and dinner ready!

  • Actually we want to start the hunt just at dark. We use headlamps and spotlights to find gators. A red light works really well, it doesn’t spook them as much and their red eyes really show up. You ease up close with trolling motor then cast a large treble hook with a lead weight that is cast onto the shank over the gator. We zip tie a lighted nock like a Lumenock or Nocturnal on the hook shank. Slowly reel the hook close to the lizard then snatch on it. It misses most of the time, but when it hooks you know it! After wearing it down you get it close enought to get a snare on it to hold it and then another one around the snout. Duct tape the snout and then make sure it is one you want to keep or release. If it is a keeper shoot it in the back of the head with birdshot, larger shot not legal here. A bangstick is legal to dispatch them also. Gator must be restrained before shooting. Archery equipment is also legal here in MS, but with an arrow in it you won’t be able to release the gator if you want to. In AR only snares or harpoons are legal.
    We got this one about 9:45, the 2:00 AM was when we were through cutting it up.

    I did make some pastrami from a chunk of gator meat, it was almost as good as venison.

  • Walton's Employee

    @randynight What’s the biggest you have seen out there? I am always obsessed with the biggest of anything that can view me as a meal, Bear, Shark, Lion, Gator, Snake etc.

    What temp do you smoke your Gator Pastrami at? Same as you would venison or does it require anything different?

  • The biggest I have seen in the waters between Georgia and Florida was just over 13 feet. The one I last killed was 12 feet and I harvested meat from the head to the tip of the tail. Even the ribs were good to eat. The legs are dark meat. The jowl meat is the best. The jowls on the 12 foot gator were about 6lbs each.

  • Last summer was first time I had been gator hunting so I have not seen many. The small bayou we were in had a 11 footer taken opening night.

  • I did the gator pastrami same as the venison, about 160

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