Goat Meat: Like soccer in America

Americans think of meat only through the triangular prism of beef, pork and chicken. Lamb is barely on folks’ radar, averaging under one pound of consumption per capita per year. Most consumers think goat tastes worse than they think lamb tastes, and it’s completely false. ...goat meat is sweet. It has very little minerality and none of the ‘gamey’ flavor compounds you might find in lamb. It’s highly adaptable to other flavors without overpowering them, making it perfect as a more neutral meat choice for curries, stews and other dishes.
— Adam Danforth, as quoted in HuffPost article. Danforth is the author of several butchering books.
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I was fortunate to watch these young kids grow up. They were nursed by their moms (or off of bottles of milk), climbed the windowsills of the barn and learn to jump and race each other. They were fed alfalfa hay and grazed pasture in the summer sun of Arlee. While goat meat is new to me, and foreign to most Americans, the rest of the world consumes this sustainable and tasty meat as a source of nutrition and often as part of a celebration. More than 63% of the world’s red meat consumed is goat meat. Goats are easy to care for, can survive in harsh conditions and their herd-bound nature makes them easy to adapt to human care. (Relatively easy, depending on if you want them in your house or not!) Both their milk and their meat can provide sustenance.

...but goat is like soccer in America. It’s growing. We like it, but we don’t get it.
— Andrew Zimmerman

Nutritionally, goat meat has fewer calories and cholesterol than other lean meats, such as chicken and turkey. It has considerably less fat and saturated fat, yet it actually contains more iron than beef and chicken, which is an essential part of a balanced diet. It has a mild taste, so it pairs well with both spicy and sour flavors. Goat meat has recently started to expand on restaurant menus in the United States. As foodie Andrew Zimmerman says “…but goat is like soccer in America. It’s growing. We like it, but we don’t get it.”

The Kinder breed of goat is relatively new. It was developed in Washington state in the mid-80s. It is a cross between a Nubian (dairy goat) and a pygmy. This small-sized goat makes a useful dual-purpose meat and dairy goat for the homesteader. Kinders are what I own now and I am eagerly (and nervously) anticipating the arrival of kidding season this spring here at the Rusty Nail. Although I am daunted by the prospect of daily milking, I am looking forward to the milk, yogurt and cheese that can be enjoyed from this high butterfat breed.

Goat chops in a Jamaican-style recipe

Goat chops in a Jamaican-style recipe

Having enjoyed my first two meals of goat recently, I was surprised by the light fat marbling. I guess I expected it to be lean like game. Perhaps because I chose the chops, the fat added a delicious mouthfeel. First, I selected a simple Jamaican-like crock pot recipe so my afternoon xc ski plans could proceed. Then I followed up with an Indian spiced curried meatball dish to share at a community event in town. I was so pleased when a young couple who had traveled throughout India complemented my curry.

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my new Goat cooking book… so many pages tagged!

my new Goat cooking book… so many pages tagged!

These soft ears! More Nubian-like than Kinder, this tan colored family was my favorite.

These soft ears! More Nubian-like than Kinder, this tan colored family was my favorite.

GoatJennifer Knoetgen