Iguana meat has historically been important in the culinary traditions of Mexico and Central America; particularly in the states of Jalisco, Michoacán and Colima. In Fray Sahagún's history of colonial Mexico, he mentions the iguana as a traditional food throughout Western Mexico and describes it as good to eat when properly prepared. Iguana meat is legal in the United States of America and several other countries, however importation is restricted due to CITES conventions. It is not illegal to consume iguana meat in the US.
There has been a marked preference for the green iguana (Iguana iguana) over the black iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) in the region, though both are eaten. The native Mexican green iguana is becoming scarce because of habitat loss.
Proper preparation of the iguana requires parboiling it in saltwater for twenty to thirty minutes before roasting or stewing it. Common recipes for the iguana include stews (guisado), pozole, birria, roasted in tacos and flautas, roasted and finished with mole, and even sauteed with almonds. Two recipes for traditional preparation can be found at the Wikibooks Cookbook project.
- Martinez Campos - Recetario (p. 14)
- Green Iguana Society Website - see external references
- Martinez Campos, Gabriel - Recetario Colimense de la iguana - Mexico (2004) Conaculta
- Sahagún, Br. Bernardino de - Historia General de las cosas de la Nueva España - Mexico (1975) Ed Porrúa
- Fisher, Eliza - "Customs and Border Protection Confiscates Iguana Meat Near San Diego" - Huffington Post, 08/15/2011
Green Iguana Society - with information on the living species and its current scarcity