As a fat man, my mission was clear Monday as soon as the Lorain County Fair opened: Get some gator meat.
It’s been the question on all lips this past week: “Are you going to try the gator?” How could I refuse such a challenge?
I found Ron Awad, a Fort Meyers-based vendor, selling alligator-on-a-stick on the south side of the main fairgrounds loop and placed my order, not knowing fully what to expect and drawing curious onlookers.
“I watch people walk by a look all day,” Awad said. “They make the funniest faces in the world. They all want to know – is it really gator?”
The answer is yes, and here’s the verdict: It’s delicious.
My teeth found chewy meat under the seasoned breading made by Awad’s wife, Trish. It wasn’t springy or spongy, just reluctant to be separated into bits. Imagine a pork chop with a wild card factor.
Farm-raised gator, Awad said, is a bit more tender than what grows in the wild.
“The old adage is, ‘You are what you eat.’” he laughed. “Well, if they’ve been feeding off nice, soft-fleshed turtles all day, it’s good meat.”
Alligator can be purchased from any number of farms in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, and Georgia.
At the Cuyahoga County Fair, the Awads sold about 185 pounds of it. They’re not sure what first-year Lorain County receipts will total but they had high hopes.
For the Florida couple, those sales are a livelihood. They spend 10 months of the year on the road, preaching the gator gospel to all who would listen.
The Awad pitch: Gator is low fat and one of the top 10 healthiest meats in the world. It’s high in protein and what they sell is 99 percent tail (white) meat.
I recommend also asking Trish for some of her “swamp sauce” for dipping. Don’t cheat yourself.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Civitas Media Ron and Trish Awad are selling alligator meat for the first time this year at the Lorain County Fair. How could we resist giving it a try?