Friday, January 7, 2011

I want to get your goat!

What's delicious, nutritious, and is leaner than chicken?


That's right, folks, it's goat meat! After researching goat meat, I loved it as a concept, and after tasting it last week I can now wholeheartedly endorse the meat as a tasty, healthy beef alternative that's better for your body and better for the environment than cow. And according to the Koreans, goat meat increases virility, making for "better sexytime." (NY Times) What's not to love?

Nutrition Facts
A three ounce serving of cooked goat meat (also called cabrito or chevon) has nearly the same calorie count as chicken with less fat and cholesterol than the fowl. It also has more iron than chicken, veal, lamb, pork, OR beef. Lest you scoff at the value of iron, you should know that without sufficient iron, your body can't make hemoglobin - an essential substance that helps your blood carry oxygen to your vital organs. Are you scoffing at the value of oxygen, you negative Nelly? Incidentally ladies, we all need extra iron when we have our cousin-visiting-from-out-of-town-every-month-if-you-know-what-I-mean. (Source)

Chart from Rush Creek Farms

Even more, due to a different molecular structure than other red meats, goat meat is easier to digest! (Source)

Sustainability
By now, we should all have some sense of the huge environmental cost of raising a meat cow to maturity (If you're not, start with these articles). As a small illustration, each pound of beef you eat requires between 2,500 and 5,000 gallons of water to come into existence; for comparison, if you take a seven minute shower every morning, you use 100 gallons of water a week. (Source) Goats eat less than cows and are more disease-resistant. (Source) Also, goats only fart about 13% of the methane that cows do. (Read it for yourself).

Where to Get It
Now that I've whet your appetite with the fart talk, let's go over some buying options (always be closing, baby!).
  • Your local farmer's market
  • A caribbean or hispanic food market
  • Halal butchers
  • Online distributors (See, e.g., here)

  • How to Cook It
    Tender cuts of goat (like the legs, ribs, shoulder, loin, and breast) can be cooked in dry heat by roasting, broiling, or frying. For tougher cuts like stew meat or shanks, you will want to use a slow, low, and wet method like stewing or braising. (Source) If you're following (an admittedly adapted version of) the Humane Food Finder's advice then you will have the advantage of consulting with your farmer's market farmer (who uses humane breeding/raising techniques) who can give you cooking advice. A quick google search for "goat recipes" yields lots of intriguing results, including this website featuring recipes for various goat cuts, including "honey glazed goat roast."

    If you're reluctant to cook goat meat yourself, pay a visit to a local Indian or Caribbean restaurant. While 70% of the world already eats goat (source), these cuisines are particularly popular in the U.S. and often have a goat option (source).

    ...So go out and try some goat this week! Stop back in and let me know what you think....

    7 comments:

    Thirteenlbs said...

    HAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! I had my first goat as a co- ed in Northern Florida, where lots of Caribbean folks congregated. They were like, "Girl, you need to taste goat!" And I did, and well-- that's the whole story...I love it. It's gamey and delicious if I don't overcook it.

    If you're uptown, a couple of places right off of 125th street do it up GOOOOOOOD.

    Mandy said...

    Goat is so yummers! We had a goat roast by our family ranch each summer, and gah, it was a highlight of my life each summer! :) So good, and great to know that it's good for you, JG! Do you know how buffalo stacks up to goat in the health-area? Luke and I are big on eating buffalo over beef, and it's much leaner and tastier too. I haven't really looked into it though - I should!

    Margaret said...

    I am wondering about the chart especially since it shows chicken having more cholesterol than beef which seems unlikely given how much lower in fat it is.....
    which doesn't mean I don't love goat burritos!

    Jewish Girl said...

    Thirteen: that is such a funny story. Do you have a favorite goat recipe? And I do live very close to 125 street; would love a few goat recommendations for that neighborhood!

    Mandy: Wow, a goat roast sounds like a ton of fun! I believe buffalo is also leaner than beef; there's a good article on livestrong.com here. They say, "3.5 oz. cooked portion of bison game meat, separable, lean only, provides 143 calories, 28.4g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 2.42g fat and 82 mg cholesterol. A 3.5 oz. cooked portion of ground bison, from grass-fed, is slightly higher in calories and fat, providing 179 calories, 25.5g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 8.6g fat and 71 mg cholesterol." So, the non-ground meat is pretty comparable to goat in calories and protein, but is a bit higher in fat and cholesterol. Still a healthier choice than beef. The livestrong article has more information about the vitamins in buffalo meat, too.

    Margaret: That's a good observation; I hadn't noticed that before so I did a bit more googling. The numbers seem to match up across several other websites (including websites that *don't* sell goat). This chart seems to confirm that some cuts of chicken (surprisingly, chicken breast) have more cholesterol than some (leaner) cuts of beef. "Ask the Meat Man" says that fattier cuts, like brisket, have 80mg of cholesterol per serving, which lines up more with how we usually think of beef v. chicken. (here.)

    Jewish Girl said...

    Sorry, by "this chart" I meant "this chart."

    celia said...

    Yummm. Any interest in a blog crossover goat roast party? Don't worry - just a haunch, don't need to go all out. Yet. :-)

    Jewish Girl said...

    I love blog crossovers! And I love goat! So, abso!

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