More than two thirds of the world’s population eats goat meat; it may just be the most popular meat in the world, and it’s no surprise. Goats are easy to raise, and every major religion’s dietary laws permit them. Their meat has a bold, versatile flavor, and it’s healthy, too: it has less fat than beef or lamb, and fewer calories than even chicken.
For all that, goat meat hasn’t traditionally been part of the North American diet until recently. It’s definitely is catching on, though. In the U.S., production of goat meat has doubled every 10 years for the last 30 years. It’s making its way into fancy restaurants, and even becoming trendy. (In some places it’s picked up the fancy name “chevon.”) More people are trying goat meat every day and finding out that it’s delicious. So why has it taken so long to catch on in North America?
It may be that goat meat and western gourmands got off to a bad start. The flavor of goat meat changes dramatically with the age of the animal and the way it’s raised. Older goats have tougher meat with a strong, distinctive flavor that’s not for everyone—though some cuisines love it, particularly Caribbean cooking. But young goats’ meat is much more mild and tender. The flavor is still bold and savory, not as sweet as beef but sweeter than lamb. Many people compare the taste to venison.
One reason goat meat hasn’t caught up with beef and pork may simply be that it’s harder to mass produce. Compared to beef cattle and farm pigs, there’s relatively little meat on a single goat. Goats also eat a more complex diet; they are browsers, rather than grazers. However, this also means they have less impact on their pasture land, and so are better for the environment.
Goat has a place in so many different cuisines; you could take a tour of the world’s flavors with this savory, versatile meat. Its hearty flavor goes well with other strong tastes: lemon, chili, curry, or a pit barbecue. Keep in mind that since goat is leaner than other red meat, you should cook it slowly at low heat to keep it moist and tender.
Let the Edmonton meat experts at D’Arcy’s Meats show you why so much of the world has made goat their meat of choice.