how to cook alligator gar

How to Cook Alligator Gar

Alligator gar is a species of fish that can be found in the rivers and lakes throughout North America. It has a unique appearance, with a long snout and sharp teeth, and can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh over 300 pounds. Despite their fearsome appearance, alligator gar has a mild, white flesh that can be prepared using various cooking methods. In this article, we will discuss how to cook alligator gar, including where to find it, how to prepare it, cooking techniques, recipes, nutrition facts, safety concerns, and frequently asked questions.

Finding and Preparing the Alligator Gar

To cook alligator gar, you need to first obtain a fresh catch. Typically, alligator gar is caught by fishermen in the Southern United States during spring and summer. You can also buy alligator gar from specialty markets or online retailers.

When preparing alligator gar for cooking, it is essential to clean it thoroughly. Rinse the fish with cold water and remove any scales from its skin with a fish scaler or the back of a knife. Cut off its head and tail using a sharp filleting knife or meat cleaver. Then cut the fish into fillets or steaks as you would with any other fish.

Cooking Techniques for Alligator Gar

Alligator gar can be cooked using a variety of methods including grilling, frying, and baking. Each technique brings out different flavors in the fish.

Grilling: Grilling is one of the best ways of cooking alligator gar as it imparts a smoky flavor that enhances its mild taste.

  1. Prepping for grilling: Before grilling your alligator gar fillet or steak, brush it with olive oil or melted butter on both sides. Season it to your taste with salt, pepper, and other herbs.
  2. Grilling time: Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat. Place the fillet or steak on the grill grates and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side or until it flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Flavor pairing: Serve your grilled alligator gar with lemon wedges on the side, or with a flavorful herb sauce like lemon herb sauce or garlic butter sauce.

Frying: Frying is another popular way of cooking alligator gar. It makes the fish crispy on the outside while keeping it tender and moist inside.

  1. Prepping for frying: Cut your alligator gar into bite-sized pieces and soak them in buttermilk for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Mix seasoned flour with cornmeal and coat each piece of fish in the mixture.
  2. Frying time: Heat oil in a deep-fryer or enough oil to fill a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the alligator gar pieces until they are golden brown, which should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels before serving.
  3. Flavor pairing: Serve your fried alligator gar with spicy remoulade sauce, tartar sauce, or hot sauce on the side.

Baking: Baking is a healthy and simple way to prepare alligator gar.

  1. Prepping for baking: Preheat your oven to 425 °F (218 °C). Lightly grease a baking dish or sheet pan. Coat the fillet or steak with spices of your choice and drizzle some olive oil over it.
  2. Baking temperature and time: Bake your alligator gar for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 °F (63 °C).
  3. Flavor pairing: Pair your baked alligator gar with soy honey garlic glaze or a side of roasted vegetables.

Recipes for Cooking Alligator Gar

Here are three delicious recipes to try at home:

Grilled Alligator Gar with Lemon Herb Sauce


  • 1 pound alligator gar fillet
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Mix the minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Brush both sides of your alligator gar fillet with the herb mixture. Place the fillet on the grill grates and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side or until it flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Southern Fried Alligator Gar with Spicy Remoulade Sauce


  • 2 pounds alligator gar steak or fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Soak the alligator gar pieces in buttermilk in the fridge for at least an hour.
  2. Mix the flour, cornmeal, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Coat each piece of alligator gar in the flour mixture.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry each piece for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain off excess oil.
  5. Serve with spicy remoulade sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.

Baked Alligator Gar with Soy Honey Garlic Glaze


  • 1 pound alligator gar fillet
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 °F (218 °C).
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, honey, minced garlic, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a cup or bowl.
  3. Lay the alligator gar fillet on a lightly greased baking dish or sheet pan.
  4. Brush half of the glaze onto each side of the fish fillet and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) is reached.
  5. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds (optional) and serve.

Nutrition Facts of Alligator Gar

Alligator gar is a low-fat, high-protein, and nutrient-dense fish. It is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and minerals such as selenium and phosphorous. A 90g serving of alligator gar provides 60 calories, 11g of protein, and 1g of fat.

Safety Concerns When Handling and Cooking Alligator Gar

As with any fish, there are some safety considerations when handling and cooking alligator gar. Be sure to clean the fish thoroughly before cooking it to prevent cross-contamination with bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Cook the fish to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cooking Alligator Gar

Can you eat the skin or the bones? The skin of alligator gar is tough and not typically eaten, but the bones are edible once they have been cooked. However, some cooks prefer to remove the bones first to avoid choking hazards.

Can you eat all parts of the fish? If so, how? Yes, you can eat all parts of the fish. Some people enjoy eating alligator gar ribs or making broth from the head.

What are some popular seasoning options? Popular seasoning options for alligator gar include Creole seasoning, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, lemon pepper, paprika, cumin, and chili powder.


Alligator gar may not be as commonly consumed as other types of fish on the market, but it’s definitely worth giving a try! This article has provided different methods of cooking it that bring out its unique flavor profile and complement it with tasty herbs or sauces. We also shared interesting nutritional facts, safety tips, and frequently asked questions that will help you prepare and enjoy your alligator gar meal to the fullest. Whether you’re frying, grilling, or baking this fish, we hope that these tips and recipes have inspired you to give alligator gar a chance in your kitchen!

What is alligator gar?

Alligator gar is a freshwater fish found in the southern United States. They are known for their long, slender bodies, and an alligator-like snout that gives them their name.

Can you eat alligator gar?

Yes, alligator gar is edible and is considered a delicacy in some parts of the southern United States. The meat is firm and flaky, with a mild flavor similar to that of other white fish.

How do you prepare alligator gar for cooking?

To prepare alligator gar for cooking, you will need to clean and fillet the fish. Remove the skin and any bones from the fillets, then season and cook them according to your preferred method.

What are some recommended methods for cooking alligator gar?

Alligator gar can be cooked using a variety of methods, including grilling, baking, broiling, frying, or sautéing. Many people prefer to season the fish with Cajun spices before cooking to enhance its flavor.

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