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Vsevolod Kryukov
Vsevolod Kryukov

Where To Buy Iguana Meat

A man holds a cold-stunned iguana outside an apartment complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday. "This isn't something we usually forecast, but don't be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s," the National Weather Service said Tuesday. Saul Martinez/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

where to buy iguana meat

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"Verified the iguana warning and the wind chill advisory! Definitely not your average day in South Florida this morning," NWS Miami said via Twitter, after meteorologist Eric Blake posted an image of an iguana splayed on the ground.

When iguanas are stunned by the cold, they often simply stop moving in trees or fall. Reports of those unusual sights poured in Wednesday morning, as people took photos and video of iguanas lying motionless on the ground, many of them with their legs in the air.

"And in Central America, iguana is a delicacy. It's something - they're actually farmed for food. So this gentleman just thought, wow, I just have a bunch of protein here. He's on Key Biscayne. He's sort of picking up all these iguanas that appear to be dead on the road that had fallen out of trees. They turned gray and were not moving at all and very cold to the touch.

"And he put them into his vehicle. He's loading them up like he was stocking up for a big barbecue. When they went back into the vehicle, the vehicle warmed up, and those iguanas started coming back to life. And all of a sudden, they started getting up and running around in the car, and it caused an accident."

Florida and its iguanas are now through the worst of it, as southern Florida is now warming back up a bit. And forecasters say that while some areas along the coast could see a spot of rain, "iguana 'rain' chances drop to near-zero by this afternoon."

Florida has no love for green iguanas, an invasive animal whose burrowing has been blamed for threatening infrastructure such as seawalls and sidewalks. They can also be a nuisance to homeowners, eating everything from flowers to bird eggs. In the summer of 2018, The Associated Press reported that iguanas were "infesting" South Florida.

Floridians get a lot of shit for being from Florida. I mean, yes, Florida is weird as hell and a bunch of pretty sick folks live there. But the state is also a place of tireless creativity. Case in point: A recent cooking competition in Sebring, which celebrated the grand opening of Sebring Wholesale Meats, a new exotic butcher shop that specializes in kangaroo and camel, among other carnivorous delicacies. Recently, the store called upon the citizens of the cozy South Central Florida town to try their hand at cooking up a special meat: iguana.

Five teams of brave chefs did their finest with the hunk of reptile dealt to them. But it was local English teacher and cooking competition vet Amy Freeze who rose as Florida's new Iguana Cooking Champion with her Iguana Carnitas. VICE spoke with Freeze about the creature's surprising bone structure, their free-roaming takeover of a certain South Florida island, and what the fuck your house smells like after slow-cooking an iguana overnight.

VICE: When you're not stewing iguana flesh, what do you do for a living?Amy Freeze: I'm a full-time English teacher and I'm actually a World Food Championship competitor. This year the Championship is moving to Kissimmee.

Besides iguana carnitas, what are some of the wilder dishes you've created?I'm a dessert person. I don't normally do anything wild. The iguana is the wildest thing I've ever taken on. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things. I originally thought it was a joke.

Did you have any kind of experience cooking different kinds of reptiles? Like gator?No! Well, being in Florida, yes, I've cooked gator. But technically, you're just dealing with frying gator tails. You're not doing anything unusual. I've been to restaurants that do unusual things, but cooking iguana? I had to google it just to see what the bone structure was going to be like.

How did Kevin get a hold of the iguanas? Are they raised domestically? I know some run wild in South Florida.The island I grew up on in South Florida, Boca Grand, is actually inundated with iguanas. We have so many iguanas there, there's somebody whose his entire job is to ride around on a golf cart, shoot them, and then dispose of them.

Low heat?Yeah. I just put the Crock-Pot on low and went to bed. It cooked from nine o'clock in the evening until about five o'clock the next morning. I drained as much of the "juice" as possible and headed to the cook-off. We served it in flour tortillas with a little bit of onion and pepper and I had three different sauces made up. We technically sold out. We handed out every iguana taco we had.

Did cooking iguana in a Crock-Pot leave any sort of smell in your house?There are no nice words for what that animal smells like. I thought it might have just been [my experience], but the other teams mentioned the same thing about the smell. It was just not a good thing. I won't be cooking iguana ever in my house again. If we're cooking iguana again, it will be done outside.

Shutt says although the shop does not regularly carry iguana, with enough requests, he promises to make an order. In the meantime, you can purchase Burmese python fillets, alpaca, and yak flat irons. You can also follow Freeze's continued culinary adventures on her blog.

Recent articles about iguanas overrunning Boca Grande give the impression that the lizards are confined to the island, but they are visible in great numbers on the mainland as well. Attempts to reduce the iguana population should consider finding an entrepreneur to harvest, process and distribute iguana meat to specialty stores, probably at no cost to Boca Grande citizens.

The roasted meat is described as tasting similar to chicken (surprised?) but a bit stronger and tougher. It sells for about $14 per pound, retail. According to the author, the increasing demand for iguana meat is said to be caused by its reputation among Central Americans as a cure-all for everything from colds to poor sexual performance.

There is a lot of discussion about iguanas in the South Florida landscape. This exotic species is not native to FL but has been in the state for a while. These creatures are a unique part of our Broward environment. Like it or not, we are forced to share our living space with them. Some say they look like alligators or mini-dinosaurs and others say they look good for dinner!

According to Dr. Bill Kern, associate professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, UF/IFAS FLREC, iguana meat is mild flavored and usually not tough. Most of the meat is on the legs, along the spine and on the tail. Rib meat is usually not worth the effort. De-boned iguana meat is very well suited to curries, soups, stews, gumbo, and etouffée. The immature eggs from females can be saved and added to soup and stews. Small animals are usually cut into pieces and boiled, then cooled enough to pick off the meat. The meat is then returned to the pot for soups and stews. Large animals (over 4 ft.) can be de-boned and the dorsal meat filleted. The raw de-boned meat then must be thoroughly cooked in any way you would prepare diced or sliced raw chicken.

According to Dr. Amarat Simmone, Professor and Extension Specialist (Food Safety and Quality) UF/IFAS Extension Family Youth and Community Sciences, there has been a lot of information going around the internet about cooking reptile meat(s). Consumers should always buy meat from a reputable processor and then there should be no problem educating and reminding people to follow proper food handling, cooking and preparation practices, using the current USDA materials and recommendations. It appears from the research, if reptile meat is slaughtered in the right manner, prior to marketing, there should be minimal risk.

** Blanching is a cooking process where a food is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Other benefits of blanching include removing pesticide residues and decreasing microbial load.

Hi Wanda,I don't suggest mounting on palm boots, because they tend to fall off, and then your orchid goes with it. Trunk is OK, though, or other trees and palms, depending on the orchid and their sun/shade requirements. How likely is it to freeze where you are? Short of 32 degrees, they are safe. You can cover them with cloth if you suspect a hard freeze. Hope this helps, Donna

Thank you for all the great info. I just retired and am planning on a move very soon from Alabama to the Apopka area. Lots of great trees for attaching orchads and looking forward to becoming more familiar with growing these beauties on trees.Second question. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to purchase good quality orchards in the central Florida area? I know there is a shop in downtown Winter Park, however, I haven't been able to get parking reasonably close to visit.

Hi Luis,I hear what you are saying, but even if you grow them in pots, and you have a lot of iguanas around, the blooms will be eaten. I have all my orchids, probably close to 100 on trees and rarely have a problem. If you have an infestation of iguanas, you may want to hire a trapper to help control them. It is a serious problem for all or our landscape plants.

Excellent information!With COVID-19 now is easy to understand the importance to isolate yourself in case of a flu sickness that way you stop to spread the virus everywhere. I whish this article be share in a massive way because, our community needs to be educated in this topics .Thank you for sharing.

Hi! I'm Darcy, a reporter at Insider (, and I'm interested in learning more about the iguana taco recipe. Would Brenda or another expert be willing to get in touch with me for a brief interview and more information for a story on Insider?Thank you! Look forward to being in touch. 041b061a72


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