If you're anything like me, you've eagerly devoured the recent spate of goat-forward articles but found yourself strangely frustrated afterwards. The course is clear for the dirty-dishes-avoiding, college-fund-raiding diner-outers: grilled at Berkeley's Café Rouge, spit-roasted at Washington, D.C.'s Komi, tacos at New York City's Cabrito, or (write in local favorite here). But the trendlet spells nothing but trouble for home cooks—because most of us don't know a thing about goat meat.
There are so many burning questions. Where do you buy this caprid flesh? Which body parts are the tastiest? Should you grill, broil, roast, sauté, or braise? And then there are the nagging doubts. Goats have a reputation for, well, stinking. Is there any truth to that? Or perhaps you're still recovering from a traumatic encounter with a mouthful of gristle.
On your behalf, I've thrown myself into this breach. The three videos below chronicle my quest to learn to buy goat meat like a pro. Each shows a different kind of merchant and some topics to master before your shopping expedition. On a family farm, we get schooled in goat background checks. In the kitchen of a gourmet store, we help a chef butcher a shiny, red specimen. The final piece, a trip to an ethnic grocery—burn rate: one or two horned beasts per week—explains halal meat.
We started our journey at Chestnut Farm in Hardwick, Massachusetts, which raises a handful of goats for the enjoyment of its CSA shareholders, of which I happen to be one.
My first goat kiss! A couple of other things I learned at the farm:
• Like another species I can think of, goat gets a lot less pleasant after puberty. So stick to juveniles—five months or younger—for a milder flavor and more tender meat.
• Meat goats (Boer and, much less commonly, the heritage Spanish and Tennessee Fainting breeds) are preferred by goat meat farmers because they bulk up, not because they taste better. In other words, you can eat that dairy goat with impunity.
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