Saturday I picked up a pound of ground goat meat from Cory Family Farm at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. My experience with goat meat is pretty limited. In Iraq we could buy small chunks of goat meat on metal skewers (commonly known as ‘kebobs’) in the market place for a few hundred Iraqi Dinars or a US Dollar or whatever. Gateway Market recently had a daily special of goat meat barbacoa tacos from some urban farm and I thought it was pretty good. I noticed at the Farmer’s Market a small handful of vendors selling pastured goat meat and I’m definitely noticing an increase in goat dairy products on the shelves.
A few stores that cater to Africans and/or Muslims will advertise goat meat on windows and occasionally I’ve seen small signs nailed to telephone poles (in neighborhoods with a lot of immigrants) advertising goat meat for sale, but I think most mainstream Americans turn their nose up at the prospect of eating goat. I’m only now starting to see it creep into our national culinary psyche. I’ve read that goat is the most commonly consumed meat in the world, but I have a feeling chicken isn’t included in this claim. Either way, consuming goat products is something that is common for most of the rest of the world and still on the obscure side here although that seems to be changing slightly.
I think that the uptick in goat consumption is a positive thing. Raising goats generally has little negative impact on the land, especially when compared with conventional livestock operations. Goats are capable of eating many plants that would otherwise be unusable and converting it into meat – a meat that is lower in fat and higher in protein than beef. Another plus to the concept of raising goats is that they are well suited towards small-scale agriculture – a small homestead could easily keep a couple of dairy goats (especially pygmy breeds) and/or a few of a meat breed. The milk has many health benefits, tastes just fine, can be used for other products (cheeses, ice cream, etc) and is easier digested for people with difficulties digesting cow’s milk.
Anyways, I made about half of my ground goat with Greek spices and the other half with Mexican spices for use in a burrito. I thought the meat was well-suited to Mexican cooking, Greek/Middle Eastern and probably a good BBQ as well. I don’t know if goat meatballs, goat burgers or goat meatloaf would be all that great, but it seems just right for the above mentioned cuisines. I thought it tasted like lean lamb.
Anyways, I made the Mexican style goat with cumin, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. I added refried pinto beans, sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, cheese, chopped tomato and a bit of cilantro out of the garden. It turned out really good.
I’m looking at making a good assessment of the available freezer space and seeing if I can fit in a large bundle of goat and lamb from this farm. When talking with the kid running their booth at the Farmer’s Market, I saw he had a few of Joel Salatin’s books for sale and that he was recently at their farm and in the area to give a speech. I wish I would’ve known about that, I would’ve gone.