I have always had a penchant for the unusual, especially when it comes to food. I have no idea where it comes from, but I take adventurous eating to a new level. I love the show Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Every time I watch that show, I want to try what he eats. Over the past few years, I have made it a personal goal of mine to eat as many strange animals as possible. I am nothing compared to Andrew Zimmern, but I pride myself on having eaten more weird animals than most people I know.
One of the issues I initially had when I began on my quest to eat strange things was how to prepare them. Here are my top 10 favorite unusual animals that I have eaten and some tips on how to prepare them. Granted, some of the entries on the list might not seem weird at all to some, but I bet the average American would not touch the delicacies on the list.
Alligator actually has a rather mild taste, like the dark meat on a chicken. Think of it as poultry but with more heft. Alligator meat is rather difficult to come by, but if you get your hands on it, try it in this alligator etouffee recipe.
2. Wild Boar
While related to pig, they do not taste the same. Boar tastes like a cross between pork and beef. Wild boar works well in any recipe where you want more heft than pork can provide. First time I tried wild boar it was in jerky form. Experience the wonders of wild boar with this recipe.
To be honest, shark is rather bland. I thought it tasted like swordfish or any other bland white fish. However, amongst the meats on this list, shark is one of the easier meats to come by. I see it every now and then at my local supermarket. Prepare shark just like you would prepare any white fish. I personally enjoy this grilled shark recipe.
OK, so if any of you eat sushi, chances are you’ve eaten eel. Eel, or unagi as it’s known in Japanese, is a fairly common sushi topping and one of my personal favorites. I always thought eel had a distinctly smoky flavor that paired nicely with the saltiness of soy sauce. Next time you make sushi, try adding some unagi sauce to your creations.
While some may have trouble eating Roo’s cousin, kangaroo is hands down the most delicious cut of meat I’ve eaten. Seriously, it’s that good. For a red meat, it’s lean and tender with a touch of natural sweetness. I had no trouble finding some when I was in Sydney, Australia, but it might be a bit difficult to get in America. If you find some, buy it immediately. Cook it with a champagne apricot sauce, as the sweetness in the sauce heightens the sweetness in the meat.
Increasingly, bison is becoming easier to obtain, but it’s still delicious nonetheless. You might need to go to a specialty butcher to find it, but its lean, rich, beefy taste is worth it. Give this bison stew a try to discover its flavor.
Cricket, surprisingly enough, is delicious. Not terribly meaty, it tastes like a cross between a peanut and a potato chip, crunchy, flaky and salty. The only time I had cricket was in my eighth grade Spanish class. My teacher brought in fried crickets and I was one of the only ones brave enough to try them. Freak out your friends and family by putting crickets into chocolate chip cookies.
I thought it tasted almost exactly like beef. Ostrich, although a bird, tastes like a red meat, but is actually far leaner than beef. If you love beef and the taste of burgers, but worry about fat and cholesterol intake, then ostrich is a perfect choice. For example, take the beef out of a classic recipe and make Ostrich Bourguignon instead.
Yes, it really does taste like chicken, in fact almost exactly like it. Frogs, as you can imagine, are not terribly meaty and you can only eat the legs really. I find frog legs substitute perfectly with chicken wings. Dip your frog legs in this tasty Veg Gravy.
Of all the supposedly bizarre meats that I’ve eaten, camel is the most disappointing one. It tastes exactly like a cheap steak, only with a funky and almost bitter aftertaste. My camel steak was not a pleasant dining experience. If you must try it, at least smother it in a delicious bourbon marinade.