Alligator meat is tenderized in several different ways, including by using a cubing machine, flattening the meat physically using a meat mallet, heating the meat at a high temperature and cutting it lengthwise across the grain. Alligator meat has a similar texture to chicken and other poultry and is, therefore, tenderized in the same ways. As with most meats, chefs use three primary methods for tenderizing meat, which include enzymes, mechanical methods and heating.
Many consider alligator meat versatile and flavorful. Chefs use alligator meat in dishes similar to those featuring other meats, such as stews, soups, casseroles and burgers. However, as with other meats, alligator meat tastes best tender; tenderizing meat retains moisture and juices, which give the meat distinct flavor and make it easier to chew.
The different methods of tenderizing produce slightly different tastes and textures. Mechanical tenderizing, accomplished using a cubing machine, works best for tenderizing high volumes of meat quickly; this method sees the most use in restaurants and commercial food establishments. Heating alligator meat, such as on the grill or in an oven, also produces tenderized meat. Heating methods are dry or wet: dry heat refers to meat placed on hot surfaces without other liquids, while wet heat refers to meats covered with sauces or braised. Heating tenderizes meat, but requires precision because cooking meat for too long or at excessive temperatures reduces levels of moisture in the meat, which makes it hard. Using a meat mallet takes more physical effort but allows greater control over the degree of tenderness.