One of the most common concerns of having a carnivore diet pertains to eating meat exclusively.
What many people disregard are exotic meats.
I’ve been on a carnivore diet for more than a decade, and I’ve tried all kinds of meat during this time.
I’ve experimented with different kinds of exotic meats for the last several years, and here’s my selection of the most flavorful exotic meats for you to try.
- The list of best exotic meats includes alligator, ostrich, game birds, bison, goat, jellyfish, wild boar, elk, kangaroo, escargot, tarantula, yak, horse, bear, rabbit, and python.
- Exotic meats are tender, flavorful, and often healthier than traditional meats like beef and pork, offering a variety of unique tastes and nutritional benefits.
- While exotic meats can be challenging to source, they offer a culinary adventure and can be prepared in various ways, from grilling to roasting, stewing, and frying.
16 Best Exotic Types of Meat
Alligators (not to be confused with crocodiles) have been around for more than 150 million years.
There are two kinds of alligators: the Chinese and the American alligator. The American gators lives in the Southeastern US, mostly Florida and Louisiana.
It can also be found in some parts of Georgia, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Texas, and Alabama.
“If you want to try this meat, it’s easy to find in states like Florida and Louisiana. The taste is similar to dark meat chicken with a bit of fishiness.”
- Mashed, YouTube Channel
There are several ways to get gator meat. There’s a short legal alligator hunting season in some US areas. You can also try alligator farms or a meat delivery service that sells exotic meats.
This is lean white meat, and its taste is most similar to chicken. My favorite way of cooking alligator is to barbecue gator ribs. You can also stew, braise, fry, and grill it.
Alligator meat is full of protein and low in fat.
Ostrich is a large, flightless bird that’s becoming a popular alternative to cattle and big farms. Ostrich is a more sustainable version because it doesn’t emit methane.
Ostrich has lean red meat. The taste is similar to beef, so it’s most commonly ground and made into sausages or steaks.
Ostrich meat is low in cholesterol, fat, and calories, so it's a healthy beef substitute. However, it’s not widely available, so it tends to be pricey.
Pro tip: It tends to dry out during cooking because it’s lean, so marinade it first.
3. Game Birds
Game birds include partridge, pheasant, pigeon, quail, guinea fowl, and others. These are excellent substitutes for chicken.
Game birds have stronger flavors than chicken. For example, quail is sweeter, while pigeon is more tender.
The most popular ways of cooking game birds are roasting and grilling.
Bison is one of the most popular and delicious exotic meats. It’s also similar to beef but leaner and has a more tender and meatier flavor.
Bison meat is high in protein, so it’s best cooked as a steak, in a burger, or roast.
Goat meat maybe isn’t the most exotic, but it’s an excellent choice if you want to avoid the gamey taste of exotic meat and still get some meat variety.
The most important thing when cooking a goat is to cook it all the way through. Goat meat is also lean meat, so you should cook it slowly or grill it.
Pro tip: You can boil the goat meat first and then roast it in the oven with potatoes and veggies.
Also Read: Benefits of Goat Meat
As far as we know, there are about 200 species of jellyfish which range from harmless to deadly box jellyfish. 11 of these are safe for people to eat.
Jellyfish are a common food in Asia, but they are getting more popular in the US as well.
You can dry jellyfish and eat it as jerky or add it to a soup, salad, or noodles. Their texture is crisp when eaten fresh.
Jellyfish isn’t the most nutritious animal, but it’s a good source of protein, minerals, and antioxidants.
You can find jellyfish in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants, as well as some meat delivery services.
7. Wild Boar
Wild boar meat was historically considered a delicacy in Europe and Asia, and these animals were usually hunted by royalty.
Wild boar meat is still popular today because boars have a free-range lifestyle. Animals that forage all their lives can taste better than farm-raised ones.
Wild boar tastes like pork but has a sweeter and nuttier flavor. It also has fewer calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol than the majority of pork raised in the US. Wild boar has a reddish color, while pork is pinker.
You can replace any pork dish with wild boar, and you’ll notice a difference in flavor.
Elk meat is common in parts of the US where hunting is popular, for example, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.
Many people don’t distinguish between elk and venison, but these meats are different. Elk has a more gamey taste compared to venison.
Elk meat is especially popular among fitness enthusiasts because it’s high in protein and low in calories and fat.
For example, one serving of elk (3 oz) has 30 g of protein which is more than chicken and beef .
It also has a decent amount of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and others.
The most popular ways of cooking elk include steaks, roasts, backstraps, and burgers.
Overall, it’s easy to cook elk, and you shouldn’t have issues with it.
If you don’t feel like cooking, you can also find elk meat in restaurants that serve wild game.
Also Read: Where to Buy Elk Meat?
Kangaroo meat is commonly eaten in Australia. You can find it in grocery stores, delis, and restaurants.
This meat is gaining popularity outside of Australia as well. Kangaroo is one of the most delicious exotic meats.
It's a lean meat that is high in protein, and doesn’t taste gamey, but it’s very flavorful and tender.
Kangaroo is also full of nutrients, low in fat, and rich in iron, zinc, and omega 3s, so it’s also one of the healthiest exotic meats.
Kangaroo is an excellent alternative to traditional beef steak. You can also make it into a sausage, meatballs, or mince.
Escargot is French for snails. It’s a delicacy in France but is also commonly found worldwide.
Escargot is most commonly served as an appetizer. It’s basted in butter and parsley and is served in a shell.
Note: When prepared in butter, escargot has a high fat count .
You have to use a tiny fork and a pair of tongs to eat it. You grip the shell with the tongs and use the fork to pull the snail meat from it.
Snails have a mild flavor, and the texture resembles mussels.
Tarantula is another dish popular in Asia. You’ll commonly see it sold in street markets.
The best way to cook tarantula is to deep-fry it and coat it in seasonings before eating. The body tastes better than the legs.
The best way to eat the legs is the same way as crab legs. Detach the legs from the body and pull out the meat from them. Then eat the front part of the spider.
Note: Don’t eat the tarantula’s abdomen because it’s full of organs and feces.
“You probably don’t want to eat raw tarantulas because raw tarantulas and probably many other spider species can contain parasites that might be harmful to your health.”
- Wouter, Animal Writer at Helpful Hyena
Finally, don’t worry about the venom. Tarantulas are safe to eat.
Yak meat is leaner compared to beef, which makes it healthier. Yaks are also much more environmentally-friendly than cows because they only eat a third of what a cow eats in its lifetime. Yaks forage for food and don’t harm the environment.
Yak meat has a rich flavor. You can cook it the same way as beef, and it’s an excellent substitute for beef dishes.
Horse meat is lean and tastes similar to beef and venison, especially when grilled. It’s low in fat, calories, and cholesterol and high in protein, so it’s healthy.
A horse is similar to cattle in terms of cuts. There’s sirloin, tenderloin, and ribeye. You can cook horse meat the same way as beef.
Cook horse tissue and muscle in a stew. Back and rear horse cuts are lean and tender, so slow cooking at low heat is best.
Bear meat is sweet because it eats a natural diet of berries. It has a fine texture similar to beef and horse meat, but the taste is closer to pork.
The best way to cook bear meat is to make a roast, chili, stew, or shred the meat for tacos.
You’ll know this meat is cooked when it reaches the internal temperature of 160 degrees .
Rabbit meat is similar to chicken, so you can cook it the same way. This is versatile meat. You can use rabbit legs, ribs, belly, neck, and even kidneys.
For example, I like to make rabbit burgers, honey-glazed rabbit, and rabbit soup.
Rabbit is usually sold whole, skinned, and gutted. It has a somewhat sweet, gamey flavor.
Note: Wild rabbit has a different flavor than farmed. The flavor is much deeper, and you can soak it in cold water for up to three hours to whiten the flesh.
Also Read: Best Places to Buy Rabbit Meat
Python is an exotic delicacy. But, it’s not the easiest meat to cook. It tastes gamier than pork and has a rubbery texture if it’s not cooked right.
You can fry python meat for just a minute on each side.
This is healthy meat because it has less fat and calories than many other ordinary types of meat.
What Are the Best Exotic Meats?
The best exotic meats are crocodile meat, alligator meat, venison, ostrich, goat, and more.
What Is the Healthiest Exotic Meat?
The healthiest exotic meat is bison. It has a healthy nutritional profile and it’s rich in protein, iron, and vitamin B12.
What Is the Best Tasting Exotic Meat?
The best-tasting exotic meat is wild boar and bear.
What Are Some Unique Exotic Meats?
Unique exotic meats are ostrich, venison, elk, bison, boar, goat, and others.