- Goat meat is lower in fat than other red meats. According to studies undertaken by the US Department of Agriculture, there are only 3g of fat in 100g of goat meat, compared to 16g in 100g of lamb and 8g in 100g of beef.
- Many of the farms now breeding goats for meat have grown out of a desire to avoid needless slaughter of male billy goats seen as surplus to requirements by the dairy industry. According to Defra up to 30,000 billies are born each year, but most are slaughtered after birth.
- Popular in cuisines like Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Asian, British chefs such as Fergus Henderson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jeremy Lee are now shouting about goat.
While goat meat may have been eaten in homes and restaurants around the world for years, within the UK it is a relatively new kid on the block.
Described by Glenn Evans, head of food at Latin American restaurant chain Las Iguanas, as having a "distinct flavour that sits between lamb and beef," goat meat has had nowhere near as much exposure as its ovine or bovine cousins.
The tide is changing, however, with goat appearing in numerous forms on menus: as a curry pot at Caribbean grab-and-go outlet Baygo, smoked and served in tacos at Neil Rankin's open-fire restaurant Temper Soho and given the fine-dining treatment as 'lamb/kid/goat' at Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan.
Following the launch of the US-born 'Goatober' campaign in the UK last October – brought here by specialist kid goat supplier Cabrito – goat meat has been adopted at a wider range of restaurants and is even stocked by online supermarket chain Ocado.
Nadia Stokes of street-food business Gourmet Goat, which only uses male billies from British dairies that would normally be considered surplus to requirements, says kid goat, if reared correctly, is lean yet high in iron, making it a healthier alternative to other red meats.
In the same way that mutton has a stronger flavour and tougher texture than lamb, meat from older goats will be more pungent and will work well with the 'low and slow' cooking method, says Alun Sperring, chef and founder of The Chilli Pickle in Brighton.
Glenn Evans, head of food at restaurant group Las Iguanas, used it in his chivo liniero guisado picante (spicy goat meat stew): “The Las Iguanas goat curry is based on a traditional Dominican recipe, and although our goats are not sourced from the Dominican Republic, the goats there are famed for feeding on the wild oregano, giving them a unique flavour, so we took inspiration from this and included this herb as well as thyme in the marinade and sauce recipes. The cuts we use are a boneless dice from the shoulder and side of the goat. To make the dish, the diced meat is rubbed with our special blend of herbs and spices, which includes allspice, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, ground coriander, chilli powder and oregano. The marinated goat meat is then cooked low and slow for a minimum of 10 hours. While the goat is cooking, we prepare the sauce, gently sweating diced tomatoes and onions, ginger and garlic purees, before adding Scotch bonnet chillies, cumin, coriander, thyme, cayenne pepper and turmeric. The onion, tomatoes, spices and chillies are dry fried before we add lamb stock, good quality tinned chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and finish it off with fresh coriander and seasoning. When the sauce is ready, the cooked goat meat is folded into the sauce. The curry is served with spring onion and garlic rice, fried sweet plantain and pink pickled onions. The sweetness of the fried plantain and the acidity from the pink pickled onions work well with the deep spicy-savoury notes of the goat curry.”
Nadia Stokes of Gourmet Goat at Borough Market, London, uses it in a kid kofta wrap: “The kofta is based on my grandmother’s recipe, and I think it showcases the meat well. The meat is sourced from a farmer in Yorkshire called Sarah Crane. We love Sarah's ethics and think her meat is incredible. It's very subtle and a little grassy. It’s quite lean, and so to preserve the moisture we add grated raw potato to the mix of kid goat and spices. The key ingredient is dried mint. We make the mixture and create cigar shapes before skewering and grilling the koftas. To serve the dish, we spread our homemade fresh chilli salsa, which includes fresh herbs, fresh green chillies, caraway and cardamom, amongst other spices, on a warmed handmade organic sourdough flat bread, then add tzatziki made using sorrel instead of dill or mint, before placing the kofta on top. The wrap is finished with some organic Sicilian lemon juice (a key part to finishing off any grilled meat in Cyprus) and freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley. There is a definite lightness and freshness to the overall dish, as well as honesty and respect to our heritage and environment.”
Alun Sperring, chef and founder of The Chilli Pickle in Brighton, uses it in safed maas: “This is a classic Rajasthani dish from the royal kitchens and literally translates to ‘white meat.’ This is usually made with lamb but we have made this with kid goat. Diced goat shoulder pieces are initially blanched in seasoned water – this is just to remove some of the blood, so the finished curry retains its clean white colour. The blanched meat is then cooked slowly with white onion, ginger, garlic, yoghurt, almond paste, cream, white poppy paste, white pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and finished with grated khoya (reduced milk fudge). This really is a rich and luxurious dish, and the kid goat is beautifully aromatic and tender.”