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Iguana-Cooking Season Is Coming!

As winter arrives, we are bound to see a flurry of new iguana recipes and news reports about the popularity of iguana barbecues in Florida!

Why, just recently, this turned up in a south Florida journal of doubtful significance:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — While many people view South Florida’s invasive iguana population as an annoyance at best and a pandemic at worst, Ishmeal Asson sees something else: lunch.

The Fort Lauderdale resident and native Trinidadian considers eating iguanas to be a way of life. Growing up, Asson learned to roast the island critters at roadside and backyard gatherings. Iguana is a staple in the Caribbean, where the reptiles are a native species and are known as “pollo de los árboles,” or chicken of the trees. Their meat contains more protein than chicken, and members of some cultures believe it has medicinal properties.

The rest of the story may be found here. It’s longer and more informative than most. And toward the end you even get something resembling a recipe:

“You just have to try it, though,” said Brittany Peters, who during a recent trip to South Florida made an iguana-inspired meal for the first time.

With no experience cooking the beasties, Peters went with a simpler route than roasting the meat over an open flame — she made burritos. Peters shot two green iguanas in the Keys, then skinned, boiled and sauteed the meat at her relatives’ home in Fort Lauderdale.

She boiled the skinned body for about an hour, then picked off the tender meat. She added a chili-lime seasoning from Trader Joe’s before sauteing it with onions.

Peters paired the white meat with sour cream, cilantro, avocado and lime for a “delicious” reptile burrito.

(A note of caution to veteran and would-be iguana eaters: Although it is illegal to do so, nuisance iguanas are occasionally poisoned. Before biting into iguana meat, make sure it does not contain any poisons or other harmful substances.)

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