If you live in the United States, chances are the answer to that question is “no.” However, something like 70% of the world regularly eats goat meat. Goat meat is under appreciated here, which is unfortunate because it’s low in fat and considered a sustainable meat.
Recently on twitter, a group of food bloggers started discussing cooking with goat (meat, milk, and cheese), and my mother, who like me, is always up for cooking something new, got involved and tagged me on it. The discussion went from cooking with goat, to an actual event called #goaterie (if you are on twitter, follow the hashtag). To read all about how #goaterie started, check out Creative Culinary’s post on goat sfeeha orFujimama’s post on the goaterie challenge. Also involved is Mark Scarbrough, one of the authors of the book, “Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese.”
I’ve cooked with goat cheese before (6 posts, it must be one of my favorites) and even made Chocolate Goat’s Milk Ice Cream so this time I decided that I wanted to cook with goat meat. My mom wanted to BBQ a whole goat, but it turned out to be harder (and more expensive) than expected to find a whole kid in Los Angeles. I also thought it might be more prudent to start small, so mom bought a piece of goat leg, still on the bone, at a local market.
The goat leg weighed 3.9 lbs, but once we deboned, cleaned and cut it into pieces, it yielded 1.8 lbs. At $3.69 whole, it was pretty pricy meat for a kabob. If you can find the meat already cleaned, it might be a better deal (and less work). Of course, not one to waste, Mom roasted the bones with some celery and onions and made a fantastic stock for a stew next winter.
A little while ago I bought some ground sumac spice at my local Armenian market and I’ve been looking forward to cooking with it. Sumac has a tart and almost citrusy flavor and is common in Middle Eastern cuisines, as is goat meat, so it seemed like a perfect match. We made a marinade using yogurt and various spices to help tenderize the meat and marinated it for about 24 hrs. Before putting it on the grill, we drained the meat from the marinade well because wet meat does not BBQ nicely. After grilling, we served the skewers with cucumber yogurt sauce and fresh pita bread at our 4th of July BBQ extravaganza (which included slow cooked pork, chicken skewers, quinoa and macaroni salads, and homemade ice creams and sorbets). While some people were hesitant at first, the skewers turned out to be a success. Everyone who tried the goat enjoyed it and many compared the flavor and texture to lamb. There wasn’t a scrap left. Both Mom and I agreed that there will be more goat in our cooking futures-she is still on the hunt for a regular source of goat meat.
If you are at all curious about cooking goat, I suggest you give it a try and even consider joining us in the #goaterie challenge.
Marinated and Grilled Goat Skewers
2 lbs goat meat, cut into 1.5″ cubes
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tsp ground sumac
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime
Cut the goat meat into cubes, removing any large pieces of fat or sinew.
Whisk together all other ingredients and combine with the goat meat. Place the marinated goat in a large zip lock bag or cover container and refrigerate for 24 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to cook it, take the meat out of the marinade, shaking off any excess. Place 3 or 4 pieces of meat on each skewer (I used bamboo skewers soaked in water but you can use metal ones as well). Cook on a hot grill until done to your preference. Serve with cucumber yogurt sauce (below) and fresh warm pita bread.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
4 oz cucumber, grated
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Grate the cucumber and combine it with the yogurt, lime juice, salt and pepper.