Winter is nearly here on our Queensland goat farm, and we can feel it in overcast days, blustery winds, and frigid mornings.
The chooks have stopped laying for the season and the baby goats are growing like weeds. I’m so glad that they’ll be big and strong before the bitter cold of winter hits. I love looking out the window in the early morning and seeing them snoozing in the first warming rays of sunshine that hit their paddock.
In addition to breeding and selling goats, we also raise our own meat: chickens, ducks, geese, and yes, goats.
I didn’t grow up eating goat meat. I was raised in Northern Canada and thought nothing of eating deer, moose, bear and elk, but goat meat had never crossed my lips.
So I was greatly surprised to learn that goat meat is the most consumed meat on earth. More than chicken, beef and pork. Who knew? Not me! It’s also prized for being lower in fat than chicken while maintaining the high protein levels of beef.
We had our first butchering last weekend and I learned SO much. I’m not a very squeamish person – growing up with three brothers does that to a girl – but I admit I was rather nervous about the whole process. It’s one thing to buy meat nicely wrapped in plastic from the grocery store. It’s quite another to skin, clean, butcher and cut it all up yourself. Thankfully I didn’t have to do it alone.
My friends Neil, Ann, and their son Alex arrived to save the day and give this novice a crash course in butchering.
Neil and Alex did the hard part of actual killing and skinning (thank you!!), being careful to save the hide to be treated and used.
Then Ann stepped in and showed me exactly what needed to be down. She’s been butchering her own meat since she was a little girl and is an absolute wiz. I watched her every move, trying to memorize each stroke and swish. Good thing I did too because as soon as the next goat was ready she handed me the knife and said, “OK, your turn!”
But I did it. All by myself with only a little coaching when I couldn’t remember what to do next. **if you ARE squeamish, please skip the next picture**
Never in my wildest imaginings did I picture myself living on an Australian farm, raising and butchering my own goats. And never could I have guessed the amazing feeling of confidence and strength it has given me.
It’s a wonderful thing to know these goats are fed well and looked after, to know that the meat I’m eating and cooking for friends is healthy and clean. No preservatives, no cruelty or ill treatment, just good, wholesome food.
When I first arrived in Australia, Ann brought over goat meat for me to try. I first made a goat lentil stew that was savory and delicious, and then slow-cooked some until I could shred it and mix it with barbeque sauce to turn it into the goat equivalent of a pulled-pork sandwich. Fantastic.
Now I have a freezer full of healthy goat meat, ready to be roasted over an open fire, slow-cooked in the crockpot, or dried and turned into jerky.
Have you ever tried goat meat?
BBQ Goat Sandwich
1 goat leg or shoulder
salt and pepper
1 onion, quartered
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
favorite BBQ sauce
good grainy bread, sliced, toasted and buttered
- Salt and pepper the goat meat and place in a slow cooker (crockpot).
- Add onion and garlic and cover with water.
- Cook on high 6-8 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily.
- Remove meat from broth and let rest.
- Remove meat from bone and shred.
- Mix with BBQ sauce to desired consistency and scoop a generous amount onto toasted, buttered bread.
- Serve warm.
- *if you like mustard, a good smear of grainy mustard would not go amiss.