Marble Creek Acres

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Why Eat Goat Meat?

Supports a health crazed nation

Often I am asked by family, friends and even colleagues, why would you eat goat? Or the statement might be announced in a different way ... "I would never eat goat! Goats are too cute." And then, the conversation turns to a bit of curiosity ... "Well what does goat meat taste like?" So let's explore why you might eat goat meat and what it tastes like in a bit more detail.

Interestingly enough goat meat, chevon or cabrito, which is considered a red meat, is eaten more often than any other meat worldwide. However, in North America, specifically the United States and Canada we more often see beef, pork, chicken or seafood on the tables at dinner or suppertime (depending on your region of the world). Although, increasingly as the western world becomes more globally diverse we are beginning to see not only a rise in the import of goat meat but a greater demand for access to healthier food alternatives.

We shop in grocery stores daily and walk past the various available products in the meat cooler but rarely blink an eye at picking up the meat and assessing its quality, age and condition. Yet we never say to ourselves ... "Oh I am NOT going to eat that little calf (veal) or lamb (baby sheep), or for that matter beef (cow), pork (pig), chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish or mutton." Aren't these all cute, warm and fuzzy in their own way? Okay, I may have to concede that maybe the fish and shellfish are on the slimier or scaly side. We have become desensitized over the years to the various meats or seafood available to us in the grocery store. However, goat meat, chevon or cabrito is relatively new to us in the United States and Canada so we tend to jump to conclusions but is it any different than the aforementioned meat and seafood?

I find myself often trying to defend goat meat as a healthier alternative to other meats and seafood but quite honestly I am not sure why ... it stands on its own four feet/hooves just fine when you make a comparison. The table below, compiled from a few different resources, clearly shows how goat meat stacks up against other meats and seafood. Admittedly, there are a few fish available considered lighter choices that are lower in calories but are lower in protein. Fish or other seafood considered fatty often do not stack up well against goat meat and in some cases are quite high in calories and total fat.

Meat Comparison Table* (per 3 oz. roasted meat or seafood)

Calories Fat (g) Saturated
Fat (g)
Protein (g) Cholesterol (mg)  Iron (g)
Goat 122 2.58 0.79 23  63.8 3.2
Beef 245 16.0 6.8 23  73.1 2.0
Pork 310 24.0 8.7 21  73.1 2.7
Lamb 235 16.0 7.3 22  78.2 1.4
Chicken 120 3.5 1.1 21  76 1.5
Seafood** 114 2.7 0.57 20 64.8 - - -

*Data compiled from: Michigan State University Extension, Seafood Health Facts and the National Kiko Registry

**Averages taken across a variety of seafood including, fish and shellfish

Now let's explore what goat meat tastes like. In my humble opinion, goat meat does have its own distinct flavor or taste. However, I would say it isn't as strong as some meats, while on par with others. As a comparison, if you have ever had venison, goat meat isn't gamy like deer or moose meat. And if you have ever had lamb or mutton, goat isn't nearly as rich tasting or flavored as strongly. Of course for most of us, beef is no longer an acquired taste for the most part but if you have ever gone for months without eating beef, goat would be about on par, as a comparison for how rich or strong goat meat is for someone who has never eaten it before.

Whether as a stand alone goat steak or in any number of dishes, goat meat is terrific and of course lean and healthier than many other options out there. You don't have to cook special meals or come up with fancy recipes. Ground goat meat can replace any ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey dish in your cache of recipes. Goat meat is extremely lean, so if you are going to use it in other types of dishes, just remember to slow cook it so it doesn't become tough.

From our table to yours, I hope my take on goat meat, Chevon or Cabrito has broadened your perspective and opened you to potential meat alternatives in the future.

Sunday, December 19, 2021