Thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!
Invasive iguanas have been a problem in South Florida for some time, and for some time I’ve been offering a solution to the problem: Tell the local rednecks that they are good to eat. Such solution, with a few variations, seems to be in the works. Excerpt:
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.
In South Florida, Asson is hardly alone in his taste for cooked iguana. He has more than a dozen friends who eat the animal, and they frequently hunt them using nets, snares and traps. “We are having a cookout this weekend,” he said earlier this week.
Asson said he and his friends use a traditional method of preparing iguana. “First, we cut off the head, then roast [the body] on the fire. You have to roast it with the skin on because it’s easier to take the skin off once it’s roasted,” he said. “Then, we cut it up into pieces and season it with a lot of fresh produce like chives and onions. I love to season it with curry and hot pepper, too. It tastes like chicken.”
As someone who has eaten iguanas his entire life, Asson still finds humor in eating the prehistoric-looking reptiles. “I prefer to eat it with the skin on,” he said, “because then I know what I’m eating. It kind of gives you a sense of humor, like, ‘This is iguana,’ you know?”
I’d try it. I’ve eaten all sorts of critters in my day, from raccoon to opossum to rattlesnake to javelina, and dozens of others; iguana would just be one more, and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be tasty, properly prepared. Iguanas are plant eaters, the ones I’ve seen in the wild in places like Puerto Rico (where they are also an invasive species) look big, meaty and healthy.
Since these are an invasive species, and since no license is required to hunt or trap them and there are no bag limits, maybe a trip to Florida with a really good .22 rifle is in order. Any True Believers down that way who might be able to direct me to a good hunting ground?