Gigging in the Glades

Everglades frogs are back on the menu today. Here they were last night, Buffalo-style.

UPDATE: Today’s Miami Herald also covers Everglades frog gigging! For an added layer of information on the local industry, read outdoors columnist Susan Cocking’s article in the Tropical Life section.

Our fish guy George Figueroa also deals in the amphibious. He’s been sourcing local frog legs for Michael for years now, and it’s that long since Chef has wanted to go along for the ride.

The launch location. 

Conditions have to be just right, and the frogs — mostly bull, but also pig and leopard — are most easily spotted at night with their eyes reflecting light from a headlamp.   It was late afternoon on October 5 when Michael finally got his chance, meeting up with George and fisherman Mike Sands at an early point of Big Cypress to launch the airboat.

Mike & Mike.

Mike is a dying breed, one of the few local fishermen that still go out and catch frogs using a pronged gig spear.  And as with fish, he cleans and skins the legs.

“There’s almost little or none domestic frog leg suppliers left in Florida due to so many coming in from Asian countries,” explains George.  “They are less expensive, and the quality isn’t great either.”

Chef has always found the quality of Mike’s frog legs to be outstanding.  Wild bullfrog can grow up to 2 pounds and is the best for gigging.  Due to wind, the yield was only about 5 pounds of legs that day. 22 pounds came in yesterday.

We got company.

Though preparations vary, frog legs are a universal dish cooked the world over, from China to France.  They’re known to be farmed in Vietnam, but like The French Laundry, we enjoy them wild from the Glades. Often compared to chicken wings, buffalo-style makes sense.  Plum TV will be shooting a “Best of the District” special in the neighborhood today, and they’ve asked for us to make a dish that represents us.  Local frog legs it’s gonna be!

6 thoughts on “Gigging in the Glades

  1. Pingback: Everglades « My Little Posterous

  2. oooh, nostalgia…waaaay back, my ex-father-in-law, now deceased, used to go frogging off Card Sound Road. He’d take along beer, and pretty much stay out all night catching the frogs (well, I’m sure the beer got caught a lot too…) Yep, they’re a dying breed, all right… the frogs, too. Habitat is disturbed or gone, competition from exotics like the Bufo toad. Glad to see there’s still a few folks into it, and still some nice ones to catch!

    • Thanks for sharing this Margie. I can see him now! Also, for more nostalgia, check out the Tropical Life section of the Herald. Looks like they also covered Gigging today!!!

  3. As a small child growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, one of my very favorite dishes at a restaurant my family used to frequent was Frogs Legs Provencal. These were the small, delicate frogs’ legs, not the big jumbos, and the perfect size for a girl child to nibble on. I’ve no idea, however, where they came from, but the preparation was most delicious.

  4. Its great to see folks enjoy the Frog Legs, espicially when there caught here, right in our very, “Everglades” backyard. We need to keep working with local suppliers and Fisherman that make it happen. Thanks again to all who enjoy the Florida natural resources.

  5. Pingback: Hog Wild Hunt | the genuine kitchen

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