That Time We Shot & Ate an Alligator | Frontier Chicago

by - 3:36 PM

Yeah, it's probably weird that some of my favorite bayou food is found in the heart of Wicker Park - but Chef Brian Jupiter has brought all his southern charm and more to his restaurant The Frontier! It's a fun meat-centric, eat your weight in delicious brown foods kind of establishment that I've come to expect in Chicago... they like their dishes large, packed with loads of flavor, and very rarely include many green things. (Sorry Chicago. I DO absolutely adore you... but this Cali girl does miss her greens when she eats out there.) Frontier is no exception and in the past few years I've gotten the chance to try their Whole Animal Experience: Duck Duck Goose edition (two roasted ducks and a goose for good measure) as well as an AYCE Crawfish boil that was perfect for a warm sunny summer day - but there was one meal that was on my BUCKET LIST for sure... the Whole Alligator stuffed with two chickens! 

So this past year I was fortunate enough to be able to check this off when creating a video for Tastemade! Chef Jupiter brings in a whole alligator wild-caught from Louisiana and then smothers it in creole spices, generously rubs it down with butter, and then stuffs the inside with smoked and savory chicken before flipping it over and doing the same thing. Then the whole beast goes into the smoker for like 12 hours before being plated, topped with more butter and spices, and carved up table side. 

I have had alligator before. And yes, like a lot of you are probably thinking... I've certainly had alligator that tastes kind of swampy. And funky. And the texture is chewy and slightly off-putting. THIS alligator? Absolutely NONE of that. 

Each bite was tender, juicy, moist, and full of a rich, buttery, spicy flavor. It sort of tasted like if a chicken and a piece of wagyu fat had a spicy southern baby and then threw that baby in the smoker so it also smelled like a campfire. Sure feasting on the beast while starring it down was a little intimidating, but I really appreciate Chef Jupiter's desire to educate people on the ethics of eating snout to tail and honestly - I'm much better off for knowing where and how my food gets to me than those squeamish morons who cry foul at things like this, yet gorge on cage raised chickens and processed meat and think nothing of it. 

And speaking of knowing where your food comes from - I'd like to say that I'm now proudly Hunter's Ed certified and truly excited to do my first hunt, but over the holidays while in Wisconsin - Kale's dad excitedly asked me to show this video to their relatives and I explained that... "Oh yeah, I shot this!" 

To which there was WAY TOO MUCH ooohhhs and ahhhhsss and I had to quickly think... 

"NO. We shot this. Like with a camera. Not a gun."

Danngit Hollywoodland Speak. Guess I'm just too El Ehhhhhyy...

Frontier Chicago
1072 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

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