Santee Style Grilled Alligator Tail

If you’ve ever seen Farnsworth Roundtree on the road, chances are he was heading to the Santee Cooper swamps to kill a gator, or on the way back to his Pinopolis shack with one in the back of his truck. And if they’s one thing he’s better at than killing ’em, it’s cooking ’em.

I thought I would have to pry this recipe out of his noggin, but he shared it with me surprisingly easily after I introduced him to Lowcountry Seasonings, which he said (not a little embarrassingly) was better than his own blend, and saves him a heap of effort.

His delicious recipe from deep in the swamp is right on time, with alligator season in full swing. The hardest part will be loading the gator into the boat after a successful hunt. Good Luck to those that take on this adventure. Enjoy!

Hunter Cook Santee Cooper Life


  • 2 lbs alligator tail meat, skinless and boneless
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons Lowcountry Seasonings Blackening Seasoning Blend
  • 2 teaspoons Lowcountry Seasonings All-Purpose Seasoning Blend
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Prep the Alligator Tail:
    • Thaw the alligator tail if frozen, and pat it dry with paper towels.
    • Cut the alligator meat into manageable, even-sized pieces, around 1.5 to 2 inches wide.
  2. Marinate:
    • In a bowl, mix olive oil, Blackening seasoning, All-Purpose seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper to create the marinade.
    • Rub the marinade all over the alligator tail pieces. Make sure each piece is well coated.
    • Place the coated alligator pieces in a resealable plastic bag or a covered container.
    • Refrigerate and let the alligator marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for the best flavor.
  3. Prepare the Grill:
    • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (around 375-400°F / 190-200°C).
  4. Oil the Grates:
    • Before placing the alligator meat on the grill, lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.
  5. Grilling the Alligator Tail:
    • Remove the alligator tail pieces from the marinade and shake off excess.
    • Season the pieces with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Place the alligator pieces on the preheated grill. Be careful not to overcrowd the grill to allow even cooking.
    • Grill the alligator tail for about 3-4 minutes per side. The meat should turn opaque and firm when pressed with tongs.
  6. Basting (Optional):
    • During grilling, you can baste the alligator tail with a bit of the leftover marinade for added flavor. Be cautious not to baste too often, as the marinade can burn.
  7. Check for Doneness:
    • Alligator tail meat is similar in texture to chicken or pork. Cut a thicker piece to ensure it’s cooked through with no pink center.
  8. Resting:
    • Once the alligator tail is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. This helps the juices redistribute for better flavor.
  9. Serving:
    • Arrange the grilled alligator tail on a serving platter.
    • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the grilled meat for a tangy kick.
  10. Enjoy:
    • Serve your Santee style grilled alligator tail with your favorite side dishes, or eat it all straight off the grill like we do. Dig in and savor the unique flavors of this exotic dish!
Lowcountry Seasonings Blackening Seasoning Blend, Blacks Camp
Lowcountry Seasonings Blackening Seasoning Blend, Blacks Camp

After your successful hunt, Don’t forget to pick up some Lowcountry Seasonings products, they are currently available at Blacks Camp in Cross, SC.


Hunter Cook grew up fishing and hunting all the nooks and crannies of Santee Cooper Country, and learned how to cook at an early age. His unique approach to mundane recipes has earned him favor throughout the region.

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