Chicken, pork, and beef are classics, but there’s more to the meat world than them. If you’ve ever wanted to experience meats beyond the traditional picks, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of options on the market.
While exotic meats aren’t common, they are versatile, tasty, and can have a transformative effect on several tried-and-true recipes. Even fine-dining restaurants are exploring rare meat options like boar! So, if you want to learn about exotic meats for sale, including alligators and whales, keep reading to discover all you need to know.
Although you might be inclined to imagine alligators prowling through swamps and chasing off unsuspecting visitors, they make for a delightful meal.
On account of the creatures’ active lifestyles, alligator meat tends to be very lean and firm. For that reason, many people find it similar to chicken. However, alligator does tend to have a milder flavor.
Since most alligators live in coastal areas, the meat commonly features in Cajun recipes, like sausage, jambalaya, chili, and barbecue ribs. That said, feel free to substitute alligator meat in any recipe that includes chicken, quail, or rabbit. You could make alligator confit, braised alligator, pulled alligator, and more!
If you see a list of exotic meats for sale that includes emu, stop what you’re doing and buy it. In addition to being one of the strangest-looking animals and the tallest bird on the planet, the emu is downright delicious.
Although you might expect emu meat to be similar to chicken, duck, or turkey, it is red meat. Its taste is similar to beef in terms of both flavor and texture, and emu is best cooked medium rare. Even better, emu meat is markedly healthier than beef, with less fat and plenty of Vitamin B and protein.
That said, because emu meat has less fat, it cooks quickly. If you plan on making emu bolognese or emu steaks, cook them for slightly less time than you might cook beef.
Did all the emu talk get you hungry for poultry? The exotic meat for you might be quail.
Quails are extremely small birds, one of the smallest birds in the world of poultry. At first blush, the flavor does—like many culinary birds—taste akin to chicken. However, this similarity is partially related to how widespread chicken is. If you eat more thoughtfully, you’ll find that the flavor is a tad sweeter and more assertive than chicken.
A major feature of quail is the bird’s extremely small size. That does have some positives. For instance, quail are small enough that their bones are tender and edible, not a choking hazard.
On the other hand, they are so small that they can hardly make a full meal. As a result, be sure to either serve your quail as an appetizer or plate each diner multiple birds.
In terms of cooking methods, you can substitute quail for most chicken recipes. However, the tried-and-true methods are to roast, fry or barbecue the poultry.
From the perspective of a North American, it is difficult to imagine eating wild boar outside of a medieval castle. Simply saying the word “wild boar” conjures images of mighty hunts, lolloping torches, and wine-soaked bacchanalia. But this exotic swine is a more practical snack than you might think and a more delicious meal than you can imagine.
Wild boar is a delicacy in parts of Europe, but the animals are particularly common in the Tuscany region of Italy. The boars exerted a massive influence on the culinary culture of Florence, Tuscany’s largest city, and Florentines still frequently eat wild boar meat on sliced bread and in meat sauces.
If you eat wild boar, you can expect meat that’s like pork but gamier, richer, and more complex. Should you get your hands on some, we recommend making wild boar ragu or slow-cooked boar shoulder.
Rabbit is one of the less exotic meats for sale on this list, but it’s no less delicious.
While humans have been eating the delightful little critters for thousands of years, the advent of more mainstream meats has made rabbits feel somehow wrong. More than one person has shuddered at the thought of eating one of Bambi’s furry friends.
Still, if you can get past those hesitations, you’ll find plenty to enjoy with rabbits. On account of rabbits moving so much during their lives, their meat is extremely lean and tender—rabbits have barely enough fat to cook themselves in.
However, rabbit is also very receptive to different sauces and flavors. You can’t go wrong by cooking a rabbit en salmorejo, the traditional style of the Canary Islands.
Do you feel like you’ve reached the horizon of your culinary experience? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to venture into the world of whale meat.
The human relationship with whales is nearly as old as the human relationship with the sea. They represent the unknown itself, the depth of mystery that permeates our lives.
So too, in fact, does their meat—even Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the preeminent book on whales, features a conversation on whale meat.
Whale is a tender, gamey, rich meat that can often work in place of beef. Do note, though, two major asterisks on whale meat. The first is health-related. Because whales often live in polluted waters, their meat can contain dangerous levels of mercury and other toxins.
The second issue is legality. In the United States, it’s only possible to buy whale meat if it is baleen meat, and it is only permitted to buy such meat from Alaska Natives as a handicraft. If you buy other kinds of meat or buy it in other contexts, you will violate the law.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have more questions about exotic meat? Keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked!
What is the most exotic meat?
There is no single meat that is more exotic than others. However, especially rare meats include whale, giraffe, wild boar, emu, alligator, and more. It all depends on your cultural perspective.
Can you buy giraffe meat?
It is legal to obtain giraffe meat from licensed dealers, although hunting giraffes does remain illegal in many of their natural habitats. Be cool and maybe look for a different, more sustainable meat that starts with G, maybe?
Can you buy moose meat?
What is the highest quality meat you can buy?”
High-quality meat is a somewhat subjective matter. However, the best traditional and exotic meats for sale are always fresh, free from additives or antibiotics, and ethically raised.