01 October 2014
Enjoy kid goat meat
The Big Green Egg lends itself particularly well to experimentation, not only in terms of the many preparation possibilities, but also in terms of ingredients. Have you ever eaten goat kid meat, for example? This still relatively unknown ingredient is a true delicacy that can be prepared in many ways.
Goat, a sustainable delicacy
Goat cheese and goat milk are widely appreciated products, but strangely enough, goat kid meat is still a relatively unknown ingredient in the Low Countries. This delicious meat is served frequently in southern Europe and other parts of the world. Goat kid meat is, however, also slowly gaining ground in the more northern latitudes, because thanks to a special initiative, people are acquiring a taste for this sustainable delicacy.
The Netherlands has almost 400 goat farms for the milk needed to produce those delicious goat cheeses. Jeanette van de Ven is one of the goat farmers who are dedicated to promoting the consumption of goat kid meat. ‘The direct cause for the initiative was an informal meeting with the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals’, she relates. ‘In order to maintain the milk production, the goats have to give birth every year. Approximately half of the newborns are males, of which only a small number are kept for breeding at the appropriate age.’
Of the 65,000 – 70,000 male goat kids that are born every year in the Netherlands, those with a good build or those with a mother that produces good milk have a good future. The other male goat kids are destined for slaughter.
Jeanette explains, ‘As a goat farmer, you have the choice to bring the surplus male goat kids in the first week after the birth to a company that fattens animals or to fatten them yourself in four to five weeks. When they have reached a weight of about ten kilograms, they are slaughtered for export to southern Europe. This in itself is already an improvement; previously they were transported live and then slaughtered in the country of destination, but neither methods are cost-effective and they are usually not ideal for the animals.’
Growing up on the farm
‘During the meeting, we discussed, among other things, the distressing circumstances in which the young male goats are often raised. They are often not cared for properly because they are not worth anything. We then brainstormed with several parties in order to find a solution that provides a better life for the young male goats, and that restricts the food miles and the use of medicine, which is often inherent to the sheltering at a company that fattens animals.
The conclusion was that we would allow the male kid goats to grow for about four months, up to a weight of 20-24 kilograms, on our own farm. Just like the kids, they are fed milk in the first period and then they eat, among other things, homegrown corn and grass.
The next challenge was to acquaint the Dutch market with goat meat. The goal was to do this via the food service industry because this sector is open to innovation and sustainability. We found the perfect partner in M. Ruig en Zonen B.V., a company specialised in game and poultry’, explains Jeannette.
‘Goat kid meat has a pure, mild game flavour and is a niche market’, adds Jan Ruig. ‘In that respect, it fits well in our company. We previously introduced edible insects, so we know how to deal with the introduction of unknown products. Of course, we wanted to know more about the way in which the young male goats were fattened.’
Delicious, tender and healthy
‘Once convinced of the quality of the meat, we wanted to take a chance and launch it on the market. It is a delicious, tender and healthy meat that contains a lot of protein and little saturated fat. The chefs and restaurant owners who tasted the goat kid meat were very receptive and in the meantime, it is on many of their menus,’ continues Jan.
‘This is the second year that we have it in our range and we continue to see an increase in popularity. Once someone has become acquainted with the delicious taste of goat kid meat in a restaurant, it is easier to take the next step of preparing it at home.
In addition to joints such as the leg, saddle and neck, we also use the meat, for example, to make sausages and roulades. In this way, the animals are optimally valued, as the unmarketable parts of the animals are also processed.
The sales continue to grow, and with good reason: goat meat is quite simply a sustainable delicacy. Our goal is for it to be completely accepted in about five years.’
Thinking of preparing goat kid on the Big Green Egg? Give these 3 recipes a try!