What’s the deal with goat meat? Why is yours special?
We are two Iowa families who founded Goats On The Go®, a targeted grazing (AKA “goat rental”) company, in 2012 as a better way to raise livestock and feed people...to produce meat that delivers more to the world than it takes.
We chose to raise goats because they are uniquely equipped to benefit the world throughout their lives, not just when they become food. Our goats eat the weeds and brush our customers want rid of, that other food animals can't utilize. In other words, our goats convert nutrients that would otherwise be wasted into nutrition for people! At the same time, they replace the chemical pesticides and disruptive mechanization that would typically be used to control unwanted vegetation. And, much of what our herd eats are invasive plant species, which are a huge threat to native landscapes all over North America.
but aren’t goats pets?
While goat meat is a dietary staple in most parts of the world (and is showing up on the menus of high-end restaurants in the U.S. evermore frequently), many Americans' experience with goats is limited to petting zoos and social media videos. There are several miniature breeds of goats that are bred and sold primarily as pets, but the long history of goats worldwide has always centered on their agricultural value. For thousands of years goats have been prized as the ultimate food animal, reliably feeding people with meat and milk while demanding little in resources.
Is goat meat any good?
Any good?! Is creme brulee any good? Is filet mignon any good?
Goat meat is special. We think it rivals the best steak out there, but connoisseurs would scoff at the comparison to mere beef. It shares some of the richness of lamb but is milder in flavor. Goat is increasingly found on the menus of top restaurants including New Orleans' Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant, Seattle's Stateside, and Girl and the Goat in Chicago. For home chefs and foodies wanting to impress, goat meat has no equal. It is unique and familiar, eccentric and accessible, all at the same time.
What’s goat meat like nutritionally?
If you’ve been told to cut beef and pork out of your diet for health reasons, you may be able to eat goat meat in their place. Check with your doctor, of course, and check out how goat meat compares to other meats in the table below. You won’t be sacrificing a thing when it comes to taste, and you may wonder why you haven’t been eating goat meat your whole life!
For followers of Paleo, Keto, and other low-carb diets, goat meat is a godsend. It brings variety to the beef/chicken/pork (rinse, repeat) monotony that can make these lifestyles challenging.
How do I cook goat meat?
Goat meat is versatile. It's equally delicious as chops on the grill, roasts in the slow cooker, stews and curries, or sausages (huevos con chorizo, anyone?).
Chops and leg roasts make for dramatic statement dishes, but that doesn’t mean they’re hard to prepare. High-heat, fast searing on a grill or skillet work great for tender cuts like chops, while low, slow-cooking methods are ideal for roasts, shanks, stews and curries. Busy families on the go need not be intimidated by goat meat, nor reserve it for a special occasion. Slow-cooker and instant pot recipes for goat abound online, and goat can often be substituted for beef and lamb in other recipes.
Here are a few tips that almost always apply to preparing goat meat:
Tender cuts like chops should be cooked quickly with high heat (grilling, broiling, or pan searing). Don’t cook too long! If you like your steak medium rare, that’s how you’ll like your goat chops too.
Larger and less tender cuts like the leg, shank, and stew meat should be cooked low and slow, and often with moisture. That’s why braising, slow-cooker, and instant pot applications work well.
Prepare and use goat sausages like you would other sausages. All sausages contain relatively high levels of fat, so they’re less prone to overcooking than lean cuts. But, our goat sausages are smaller and will dry out and lose their “snap” if you overdo it. Since our sausages come in several different varieties, each spiced differently, consider how the flavor of the sausage you choose and the flavors of the other ingredients in your planned meal will go together.
Substitute goat in virtually any lamb recipe for a serious upgrade, and for a flavor that is somewhat closer to beef (but still unique) to appeal to a wider audience. Go easy on the mint. Goat is milder than lamb, so there’s little call for the overwhelming sauces and garnishes that often accompany lamb recipes.
How are your goats raised and treated?
We raise our goats slowly, without added hormones or feeding regimens designed to produce unnatural rapid growth. Market pressures typically dictate that most meat goats are harvested at around six months of age or younger, weighing as little as 40 pounds. But because our goats earn their keep by eating unwanted weeds and brush, we're under no pressure to rush things. Our goats are 18 - 20 months old and typically around 90 pounds at harvest, so each animal delivers maximum benefit to the world in terms of conservation and calories.
Our local, family-owned butcher is less than 10 miles from our home farms. Ty and Bobbie Gustafson and their staff at Story City Locker put great care into their craft, ensuring expertly-produced cuts of meat (not to mention AMAZING sausages!) and minimal stress for our animals.