Why Goat Meat is Increasing in Popularity
Goat meat makes up 60% of all red meat eaten worldwide but we eat far less here at home than in Europe where it is seen as a delicacy. But now, it is becoming increasingly popular in British kitchens.
Believe it or not, we Brits are not very adventurous when it comes to meat. We eat two million tonnes of chicken a year and love our lamb, beef and pork but curs which are commonplace on the continent (venison, rabbit or mutton) rarely make it into our kitchens.
Goat is another of these. Only really found in a few butchers, goat is fast growing in popularity and is increasingly appearing on restaurant menus around the country. A number of food commentators have recently named it one of the hottest food trends.
So why is the meat proving so popular? “Goat is great,” says chef Fergus Henderson, founder of Spitalfields restaurant St Jonn’s. “It braises fantastically, grills like a joy and roasts splendidly. People are always looking for something new but here its ascendency makes sense – it is delicious, and roast leg of goat particularly so. It is puzzling why it is overlooked.”
There is ethical appeal to using goats, too. Around 30,000 male goats, or billies, are slaughtered in Britain every year as a by-product of the large goat cheese and milk industry (only the females, of course, are required). Goat is extremely popular in the rest of the world accounting for around 10 per cent of meat eaten globally – but there has never been a strong tradition of eating it in this country. British cuisine is full of imported foods, from pasta to hamburgers, but the one food we’ve never really taken to is goat meat. Perhaps people still see a picture of an old goat attached by a rope to a post. They don’t think of a high-quality, well-reared animal. The fact that Britain was built on the sheep wool trade may could also play a part : Britain’s landscape is more suited to sheep than goats who are seen as mountain animals.
But, in our view, we may have been missing out. Not only is goat meat truly delicious, its taste is comparable to lamb and very healthy too. It is really lean, very low in fat and high in protein and in iron.
The Dorset Meat Company’s free-range, high welfare adult goat meat is from Richard Haskett who has been farming near Cheselbourne on the Dorset Downs for over 10 years.