South African recipe: crocodile carpaccio Skip to main content

South African recipe: crocodile carpaccio

By May 27, 2016July 25th, 2020Newsletter

South African recipe: crocodile carpaccio

May 27, 2016

This one is not for the faint-hearted!

If you’re a fan of gourmet venison, you’ll be happy to know that crocodile meat is one of the most sustainable sources of wild food in South Africa. If there’s one thing we have in abundance, it’s crocodiles.

You might need to do some research as to sourcing fresh crocodile tail meat, though. While crocodiles are farmed in much the same way as cattle, their products are mostly marketed to tourists. Speak to your local butcher about where you can get your hands on some crocodile venison.

View the full recipe on: Sun International 

Cured and smoked crocodile carpaccio (serves 4)


  • 800g fresh crocodile tail meat
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp. star anise
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh)
  • 4 leaves wild sage
  • 1 stick wild rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. juniper berries

Smoking chips

  • 1 stick wild sage
  • 4-5 fresh bay leaves

Curing Method:

  • Mix the sugar, salt and all the spices together.
  • Take the crocodile and between 2 cling film sheets beat lightly just to break the connecting tissue and tenderise.
  • Lay the slightly flattened crocodile meat in the curing mixture and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Smoking Method:

  • Soak smoking chips in water for approximately half an hour.
  • Once curing is done, rinse crocodile off of all curing mix and place in a perforated tray/ dish.
  • In an oven tray put down a piece of tin foil followed by the smoking chips (water drained) and the wild sage and bay leaves.
  • Put this over a flame and wait till it starts smoking.
  • Once it is smoking, place in the oven beneath the crocodile and close, leave to smoke for 5-10 min depending on your flavour preference.
  • Once done, take out and place on cling film and roll the crocodile into a tight cylinder shape and freeze.

Pickled tomato petals


  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 juniper berries
  • 4 whole plum tomatoes

Pickled tomato petals method:

  • Pour boiling water over the tomatoes that have a cross-scored on the top and leave for 5 min, then peal the skin off.
  • Quarter the tomato and carefully cut the seeds out.
  • In a sauce pan bring the vinegar, water, sugar and all spices to boil for 15 min then pour over the petals and leave (preferably overnight).

Cucumber Sambal

Mix the following ingredients together to perfectly compliment the crocodile carpaccio:

  • 80g Red onion, in small cubes
  • 100g seeded cucumber, in small cubes
  • 25g fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 80g Cape goose berries quartered
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Once the crocodile is frozen or firm enough to slice thinly, you can plate and serve as desired.