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Goat Meat: Healthy & Fun to Cook

Goat meat is the most commonly consumed red meat throughout the world, and one of the healthiest meats a person can consume. While many people in the U. S. are unfamiliar with goat, and it cannot be found in most of our grocery stores, the rest of the world population enjoys some form of goat meat on a common basis. What is so special about goat meat? It is a very lean meat, low in calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and the protein level is slightly lower than beef, chicken, or pork. Just what most doctors would recommend for most people’s diet. Being a red meat it has all the vitamins and minerals comparable to beef. Just think what if the various medical associations would start endorsing goat meat as a healthy alternative meat. I can hear it now, “goat, the other red meat”, or “goat, it’s what’s for dinner”. Then again, there might be anti-goat commercials like “beef, because they don’t make a goat knife do they?” Take a look at the chart below to see some actual numbers, you should be impressed.
Table 1. Nutrient Composition of Goat and Other Types of Meat 1, 2
Nutrient
Goat
Chicken
Beef
Pork
Lamb
Calories
122
162
179
180
175
Fat (g)
2.6
6.3
7.9
8.2
8.1
Saturated Fat (g)
0.79
1.7
3.0
2.9
2.9
Protein (g)
23
25
25
25
24
Cholesterol (mg)
63.8
76.0
73.1
73.1
78.2
[1] Per 3 oz. of cooked meat
[2] USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (2001)
Who eats goat? In the U. S it is our growing population with an ethnic and faith based origin that is accustomed to eating goat. Many of these consumers originate from North Africa and Middle Eastern nations, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America. They probably do not eat goat on a daily basis, more like special occasions such as religious, holidays, gatherings, and etc. Many of our Hispanic friends eat goat on special occasions. Just like many of us like an excuse for a good cookout on a holiday, so do they; it just happens to be goat instead of pork, beef, or chicken.
What does goat taste like? Some compare it to beef with extra flavor or in between beef and venison (sounds better than deer or Bambi doesn’t it?). It should not have an “off” taste if processed and cooked properly. Cuts of goat can be quarters (legs and ribs), chops, stew, and ground, and roasts. There are so many ways to cook goat, which is what gives it a culinary appeal.
Where can you buy goat? Goat meat is not easy to find, specialty meat markets and select grocery stores tend to carry it. It may have to be special ordered. Some people buy directly from a goat farmer then have the animals custom processed at a local processing facility (which are also not easy to find).
How much should it cost? That depends on local markets and product availability. Generally a base price of $3 per pound (quarters or whole carcass) to a premium price of $8 per pound for chops. Basically, you can expect prices to vary depending on availability
How do I cook goat? Again, it is a lean red meat and generally needs to be cooked slowly with added moisture. However, cuts like chops or burgers can be cooked quickly at a high temperature, which seals in moisture and flavor. Stew meat and roasts will generally be cooked slowly, bone in, with moisture, fruit or vegetables, and seasonings of choice. There are ethnic dishes such as curry goat, creole goat, and etc which are quite flavorful and use spices most of us may not be accustomed to. Search the Internet for more ideas how to cook goat.
The information in this article is very brief; the purpose of this article is to give some general ideas without going into great detail. The general public often has misconceptions about goat meat, so consumer education is important. If we give goat a fancy name like “Cabrito or Cabrit” (Spanish for young goat or French for goat), or “Chevon” (Spanish for mature goat) maybe it would have more culinary appeal for mainstream American consumers. Goat meat may not be for everyone, it is an “acquired” taste, kind of like brussel sprouts or greens (at least to me). Next time you get the chance to try goat give it a taste and see what you think.

1st Annual Southeast Dairy Goat Conference, October 24th, Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center, Springhill, TN. Brochure Dairy Conference.

An opportunity to learn about dairy goats, goat dairies, and value-added opportunities. 9 AM - 4 PM (Building opens at 8:00 AM and registration begins at 8:30). Center location: 1000 Main Entrance Drive (faces Saturn Parkway), Spring Hill, TN 37174. Conference to include a series of talks and hands-on demonstrations with dairy goats on site, includes FAMACHA training (FAMACHA cards will be available for $10 each).

Registration - $35 or $50 per couple, children’s discount; fee includes educational materials, refreshments, product samples, and lunch. Pre-registration necessary, please contact: An Peischel at (615) 963-5539 or e-mail: apeischel@tnstate.edu

 

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