This time of year, there is only one thing on every Tennessee Vol fan’s mind…the big game against the Florida Gators! Every year, my husband fries up some gator and I make some “Comeback Dipping Sauce” to go with it. As delicious as those are, I wanted to try something a little different this year, so I created a new recipe using fresh alligator…Gator Jalapeno Poppers! And yes, with a gator recipe, there must be a dip so that is where the delicious Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce comes in. Yum!

If you have never tried alligator before, you are in for a treat. It does taste a bit like chicken but with a little tang to it. The tail is usually the most tender, so look for that if you can find it. I purchased mine from the Shrimp Dock in Farragut. (If you stop by, make sure to ask for Steve. He is always so helpful!)

As usual, my husband, Jeff, was my tester and he gave them rave reviews. Since I was scheduled to be on a cooking segment this week at our local tv station on Florida week, I knew what I was going to make! My new Gator Poppers and let’s just say they wowed the crowd and they will wow crowd, too!

Gator Jalapeno Poppers

  • 1 pd pckg alligator
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsps of Old Bay or Cajun Seasoning (reserve one tablespoon)
  • 1/2
  • 8-oz pckg Cream Cheese , softened (I prefer Onion & Chive)
  • 13-15 slices Bacon, cut in thirds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Wooden Toothpicks

Creole Mustard Dipping Sauce

  • 3/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions
 for Gator Poppers

  • Place the gator pieces between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a 1/2 thickness. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide and 2-3 inches in length.
  • Combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the old Bay/Cajun Spice in a medium sized bowl (reserving the other tablespoon of spice for later).
  • Add the gator to the mixture and mix well. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.img_0306
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and Place a baking/cooling rack inside.the baking sheet.
  • Remove the gator from the marinade and place a gator piece on a work surface.img_0312
  • Spread 1 tsp of cream cheese to cover the top.img_0313
  • Place one jalapeno pepper piece in the middle of the cream cheese.img_0316
  • Fold the gator piece in half with the cream cheese inside.
  • Set one 1/3 slice of bacon on the work surface. Place a stuffed gator piece with the ends facing down on the bacon and the open sides facing the bacon NOT outward (this allows the open ends to be covered by the bacon when rolled so the stuffing does not easily leak out when cooked). 
  • Wrap the bacon around the stuffed gator and secure with a toothpick.
  • In a small bowl, mix together remaining tablespoon of Old Bays/Cajun Seasoning and the brown sugar.
  • Dip the gator poppers in the sugar mixture, covering the bacon (this ensures that your bacon will crisp up in the oven).
  • Place on top of baking cooling rack and bake for 30-33 minutes until bacon is crisp.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with Creole Dipping Sauceimg_0330-1

Directions for Creole Dipping Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients, mixing well
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. It can be made up to 3 days ahead.img_0329

 

Bottom Line:  This uniquely delicious popper recipe is not only delicious but super easy! If you just can’t stand the idea of alligator, you can use chicken as a substitute but please give the gator I try.  These will go fast so make a lot!

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