Known as kid, goat meat is low in fat, high in protein, and tastes like a cross between lamb and venison. It also makes up to 60% of red meat eaten worldwide, and may bring to mind fragrant Jamaican curries and Moroccan tagines. The shoulder is also particularly good slow roasted; leg steaks make great casseroles; and the chops are excellent on a BBQ.
It is set to be the next culinary revolution for meat eaters in the UK. James Whetlor, former River Cottage chef, is one of the pioneers of this new trend, and his company Cabrito – spanish for ‘young goat – rears and sells over 10,000 kids a year.
These young goats would otherwise be culled just after birth as by-products of the dairy industry, but the company, started in 2012, now sells them to seasonal and highly-regarded restaurants including St John and Quo Vadis in London, and Romy’s Kitchen in Bristol.
“In today’s world it’s becoming less and less acceptable to have waste at this scale,” says Whetlor. “All farmers have wanted to find a solution and having been a chef and working at River Cottage, I was in unique position to provide it.”
Another 40,000 male billy goats in the dairy system are wasted senselessly every year, because Britons love goats milk and cheese, but don’t eat the meat. For those who consume goat dairy products, the question of what to do with the non-milking male goats is a difficult ethical issue, but you can’t sell food on ethics alone.
Goat can have a bit of a tough reputation, as it can be associated with seven-year-old nanny goats who are used for meat when they no longer milk. However, seven-month-old kid is very different – as different as prime lamb is from old mutton.
“It tastes brilliant,” says Whetlor. “A big advantage is that because it’s eaten by many cultures there’s so many recipes for what you can do with it.”
Michelin-starred chef Matt Gillan won the BBC’s Great British Menu with a goat-meat main course last year, which was a masterclass in how to use the whole goat. The dish included slow-cooked goat shoulder, goat ragu, herders pies, and goat cheese.
This year at London’s meat festival, Meatopia, Yotam Ottolenghi cooked whole spiced goat, and Duck and Waffle served goat Cuban sandwiches.
The meat is now available from Ocado in the UK, meaning that other retailers will not be far behind.