Grocery shopping outside of Louisiana can be quite a chore for some of us residents. I remember in Texas one time I went to the Market Basket to shop for a weekend at the beach. I went and got all of my groceries, but decided to catch a bottle of Crown to get the vacation started correctly. I know my way around a store, but for the life of me could not find Crown. I asked the lady at the stand where the liquor was, and she smiled.

Oh, honey. You must be from Louisiana.

Yes, Ms. Cleo, I am but where is the liquor? Texas liquor must be bought at a liquor store. My mind was blown at this fact. On the flip side, I would have to think someone coming into our area to shop and seeing fried pieces of fat, rice wrapped inside of intestine, or a ditch-dwelling crustacean would take some getting used to.

Ali Tyree Byrd
Ali Tyree Byrd

I've seen a lot of strange things in butcher shops: tongue, liver, hog heads, even gizzard. I have never seen an entire alligator in a butcher shop, let alone a major type of market such as Rouses. When Ali Byrd was out doing her grocery shopping, she ran across this little guy chilling in the cooler. A head-on and skinned alligator. Can't say I have ever seen one in a display case before. I have seen them on the grill, but never really thought of where you'd actually buy it. Apparently, Rouses in Sulphur is a place to get one!

There are many ways to prepare it, but LSU Chef Michael Johnson seems to have the best way to start with your whole-alligator cooking recipe. He starts with a brine overnight and then gives it a rub before placing it on the smoker. After it smokes for an hour, the little guy gets pulled out and rubbed down with the wet ingredients. After smoking it for hours, it's removed and served either the way it sits, or the meat is carefully picked and served. Take a look at Chef Michael's recipe, and maybe that turkey can take a hike this year for Thanksgiving!


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