Goats are quickly becoming a common sight along roadsides and on small farms all over the United States. Since we raise goats, and raise them for meat, we often are asked why. Beef, chicken, and pork are more widely consumed at the American family dinner table, but goat is actually the world’s most popular meat.
Approximately 75 percent of the world’s population eats goat meat. With America’s rising population of ethnic groups, demand for goat meat has risen sharply. American producers are struggling to keep up with the growing demand for a product that was virtually unheard of 15 years ago. In addition to the ethnic population that regularly consumes goat meat (also known as cabrito or chevon), many Americans are discovering the benefits of eating goat meat.
It has a good flavor and is very healthy. It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50% lower in fat than our American beef and is about 40% lower in saturated fat than chicken, even chicken cooked with the skin off! The following meat comparison (per 3 oz. roasted meat) table is from the USDA Handbook:
Calories Fat (g) Sat. Fat (g) Protein (g) Iron (g)
GOAT 122 2.58 0.79 23 3.2
Beef 245 16.0 6.8 23 2.0
Pork 310 24.0 8.7 21 2.7
Lamb 235 16.0 7.3 22 1.4
Chicken 120 3.5 1.1 21 1.5
Since goat meat is so low in fat, this makes cooking more of a challenge. Goat meat must be cooked slowly and at low temperatures, or it will dry out and become tough. The best ways to cook goat are roasting (in the oven, in a smoker, or on the grill) or braising (cooking with added liquid such as water, wine, or milk). Marinating will help retain moisture and tenderness as well. Old-fashioned smoking has, in our opinion, produced the best-tasting goat meat of all. What I have had was even better than smoked beef or pork! Of course, most of us do not have the time required to smoke our meats daily, so I am including a few less time-consuming recipes for you to try. Enjoy!
Goat Meat Loaf
2 lb ground goat meat
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 envelope Dry Onion Soup/Dip Mix
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup water or milk
Directions: Mix 1/2 mushroom soup, goat meat, onion soup mix, bread crumbs and egg. Place in 8 inch x 4 inch loaf pan and shape firmly into loaf. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 min or until done. Mix remaining mushroom soup, 1/4 cup water or milk, and 2 tablespoons drippings from loaf in bowl. Heat in microwave 2 min or until heated through. Spoon over slices of meatloaf.
Jamaican Curried Goat
3 lbs goat meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
2 Tblsp canola oil
1 tsp sugar
5 green onions, chopped
2 tsp curry powder
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Directions: Squeeze limes over goat meat and let stand for 10-15 min. Rinse with cold water. Place meat in sealable container. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme. Rub spices into meat. Cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Next, in large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and sugar. Stir until sugar is brown. Add goat meat with marinade, green onions, and curry. Stir. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until meat is nearly tender, about 40 min. Add potatoes and 1/4 cup water and stir. Cover and simmer for another 15 min until potatoes are cooked but not soft. Crush potatoes to thicken sauce if desired. To make more sauce you may add a little water and cook for 10 minutes more.