Next time you ask your waiter about the dinner special, he might say: “Honey-glazed goat roast,” or “Jamaican curried goat with rice.” Yup – goat. The world’s most-consumed meat is finally becoming popular in North America. Experts point out that almost 70% of the red meat eaten around the world comes from goats, and it has about one-third fewer calories than beef or chicken, and less than half the fat of pork, lamb, and chicken. Another good reason to eat goat: They’re more sustainable than cattle. One acre of land can only sustain two steers, but an acre can support at least 10 goats. Goats are easier on the land. Cattle eat grass, and can literally graze a field down to the dirt, and trample the turf so nothing will grow back. However, goats are browsers, which means they eat mostly leaves, basically pruning the vegetation instead eliminating it. It also means that goats are mostly free-range – because they eat off the land instead of from a trough, like cattle and hogs.
So, why has it taken so long for sustainable, low-calorie, low-fat goat meat to become popular in North America? First, most meat packing plants are set up to process bigger animals – like 250-pound pigs, and 2,000 pound steers, and they don’t want to bother with 60-pound goats. Another reason: A lot of people had a bad experience the first time they tried goat, say, on a Caribbean cruise. That’s because many cultures prefer old bucks, with tough meat that has a strong barnyard smell, while the most-tender, flavorful meat comes from goats that are less than nine months old. If you’d like to try goat meat, check a local butcher shop instead of the supermarket. Beware: There are no standardized cuts for goat meat, which means, one butcher’s steak might be another butcher’s roast. So make sure you tell the butcher exactly what you want.