We got wind through the grapevine that Damian Brugger, the pitboss at Black Label Icehouse in Central City, had taken delivery of a pair of young alligators and was going to be smoking them for a food party at his establishment on Dryades Street.
We’re fascinated by alligators and have been cooking them for years so we made arrangements to visit Mr. Brugger and watch over the prep portion of the alligator cook.
Black Label Icehouse took over the old Pop’s House of Blues last month and has been doing land-office business ever since. It’s right down the street from Brewstock, just around the corner from Verret’s Lounge and a stone’s throw off Magazine Street.
As we rolled up smoke was billowing off the massive steel smoker parked out front of the restaurant and for a moment we were afraid our timing was off.
Brugger met us at the door and assured us that he was just heating up the big pit and had not yet started the prep.
Two young gators are quickly brought out of the walk-in and placed on the spanking clean prep counter. They’re handsome beasts, juveniles, small, young and tender. Just like we like them.
The barbecue cook quickly begins stuffing the creatures gullets with links of boudin, sprinkling them with a housemade seasoning blend and trussing them up good and tight.
Our mouths are watering.
We have business in the Bywater so we take our leave just as Brugger begins the process of wrapping the alligators in bacon; a crucial step as gator meat is extremely lean and needs to be larded for maximum flavor.
Black Label Icehouse
3000 Dryades St
New Orleans, LA
Hours of operation
Sunday 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Monday 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Tuesday 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Wednesday 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Thursday 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Friday 4:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Saturday 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM