It’s all about the goat

We have now been cooking with kid goat on a large scale  for over 6 months. In this time we have probably cooked more kid goats from dairy farms than anyone else in the UK. Despite it being the most widely eaten meat in the world people in the UK seem to be quite wary of the meat. However it has been great to see the many take the plunge and try our dishes and then see the surprise and delight on their faces as they enjoy kid goat. One of the issues it seems is that if people have had goat before it has been in a curry. This would probably have been adult goat which has a strong flavour an smell. We only cook with kid in order to try and get people to understand that it can be treated and eaten like any other meat they would normally eat on a daily basis.

One of the questions we are often asked is ‘is it really goat?. We think the problem here is that people may have been sold goat as mutton which could have also been sheep. Also farming of goats is a very small industry and doesn’t reach the media very often (until now). Working directly with farmers we can assure everyone our kid goat is the real thing!

During the last 6 months we have prepared, cooked and tasted over 250 goats. Our slow cooked legs and shoulders have given us the most insight into the meat. The recipe has changed very little since we started and this has meant we have gained great insight into the meat and how it can vary in smell, taste and yield. These are our finding based on carcass weights:

Between 8kg and 14kg

  • The meat tends to be pinkish in colour.
  • The meat is at it’s most sweetest with very little strong flavour and richness. Joints are small and take very little cooking time
  • The yield increases between these weights as the meat to bone ratio improves. There is very little fat within the joints
  • There is no ‘farm yard’ smell when it cooks.

Between 14kg and 18kg

  • The colour is mainly pink but some of the thicker sections are light red and deepening.
  • The meat is still sweet but is starting to develop in flavour and richness, with a ‘gamey’ finish
  • The yield is best around 16kg,as the meat to bone ratio has increased and fat has yet to develop in large amounts
  • There is little ‘farm yard’ smell when it cooks, but it does begin to develop as the animal gets bigger.

Over 18kg

  • The meat is a deeper red colour.
  • The taste is quite rich and has a stronger lingering ‘gamey’ taste.
  • The yield starts to drop as the amount fat within the joints increases more so than the meat.
  • There is a more distinct smell which is what is usually associated with cooking goats

We have decided that our ideal weight is 15 to 17kg based on the flavour required for our dishes. This can usually be achieved in 6 months when the kids are reared naturally.

Of course this just scratches at the surface in terms of factors that will affect the flavour of the goats. Over the course of the next few months we will be visiting the farms to see how they are reared and what they are fed on.

Update:

27kg kid from Tynedale kid goat meat

William Haire and Sarah Long are dairy kid goat farmers in Northern Island. They recently sent me over some of their meat to try. I have to say I was a little sceptical given the size of animal and that they are 7/8 months. They produce this size primarily due to the demand in this area for large cuts and full flavoured meat.

We tried the rack on the griddle. It did have some classic goat smell, but not as much as I was expecting. The flavour started out really sweet and then developed into a ‘gamey’ richness. There was some lingering taste but again not as much as expected. What was a revelation was the sweet flavoursome caramelised fat which was truly delicious and nothing I have tasted before given the smaller animals have very little fat to caramelise. Our stall manager, Sam, smoked the other rack and did it on the BBQ with excellent results (hopefully it will be on his blog soon, if we give him time off!)