Goat meat is not typically eaten in the United States, but this recipe for broiled, spiced goat chops might just change your mind.
Goat is not a common source of protein here in the US. We are a nation of predominantly beef and poultry eaters (Americans consistently rank as #1 in beef consumption worldwide). In fact, goat meat is so exotic here that it is difficult to find outside of specialty grocery stores. We are more likely to eat elk or bear than we are a goat.
The reasons for this are, as far as anyone can tell, purely cultural. Many Americans are descended from Europe where sheep, cows, and pigs were domesticated. While goat is, today, eaten in many parts of Europe, it is still more commonly consumed in South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Goat Meat is Healthy
It is a shame that we don’t eat more of it, because goat meat is delicious and healthy. It is considered a red meat but actually has less cholesterol and fat than chicken breast:
- 3.5 oz of goat meat has about 143 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 75 mg of cholesterol.
- 3.5 oz of chicken breast has 165 calories, 3.5 g of fat, and 84 mg of cholesterol.
Goat Meat is Environmentally Friendly
Not only is goat meat delicious, but raising goats is sustainable and more environmentally friendly:
- Goats are “browsers,” which means they will eat shrubs and weeds in addition to just grass.
- Goats need less space to thrive than other forms of livestock. One acre of land will support 10-15 goats (one cow needs a whole acre of land to itself).
- Goats are more efficient and productive with their digestion. A female goat will produce more milk on less food than a cow.
Goat Meat is Sustainable
In the US, goat milk products are all the rage: goat cheese, goat milk lotion, goat milk soap. But the meat is still a mystery to many of us. Without demand for their meat, male goats are often slaughtered young, since it is unprofitable to raise them to adulthood. They are simply used for breeding female goats in order to obtain goat dairy.
What this means is that goat meat is actually a “byproduct” of the goat dairy industry. And what THAT means is that it is a sustainable source of protein.
What Does Goat Meat Taste Like?
Goat meat has a texture and flavor quite similar to beef, but with a little earthy sweetness. It is similar to mutton, but milder and less gamey.
How to Cook Goat Meat
With all this in mind, let’s do our part to get Americans on board with eating goats. As I mentioned, basically the rest of the entire world eats this animal. There are hundreds of traditional recipes that incorporate local flavors and cooking styles. Ultimately, there are two main ways to cook goat: low and slow or quick cooking. The style you choose will depend on your cut of meat.
Many cuts of goat respond well to slow cooking since it breaks down the chewy, tough connective tissue. The Caribbean and parts of Asia like to stew the legs and shoulders in curry sauce using pressure cookers. Our chops, however, do better over or under high heat for just a few minutes.
Spiced Goat Chops With Cumin, Garlic, and Paprika
1 lb goat loin chops (about 6 chops)
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika (not smoked)
Mix your olive oil and spices in a bowl. In a shallow dish, pour the mixture over your chops and rub it into the meat so it is evenly coated.
Allow your meat to marinate at least four hours and up to overnight.
Take your chops out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about two hours.
Turn on your broiler (500 degrees Fahrenheit)
Place your chops on a lined sheet pan about 6 inches from under the broiler.
Broil for 10-12 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (medium rare).
Rest the chops for five minutes and then enjoy.
These chops pair exceptionally well with whipped mashed potatoes or roasted, sweet root vegetables (turnips, onions, and sweet potatoes are very good).
While I highly encourage you to find a local source of goat meat, I understand this is easier said than done. If you are having difficulty finding goat chops, this recipe is easily applied to pork or lamb chops.