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Goat meat taste test (and envy over apples)

Early transparent apple

Espaliered apple tree



In my last post, I left you at the train station, but my girl's day out wasn't over quite so soon. Mom and Maggie brought me home for supper...and to ooh and aah over their dwarf apple tree.

I can't remember the exact dates, but I'm guessing this tree has been in the ground for only three years. It's trained as a natural-form espalier, and due to the city location (pavement holds heat), late spring freezes don't harm the blooms. You can see the result...a tree dripping with apples even after about a dozen fruits have been harvested. I'm green with envy!
Goat poetry
The other excitement major enough to keep me away from my milking for an extra half hour was tasting Lamb Chop's first culinary debut. I brought Maggie a pound of ground goat meat the morning of our adventure, and while Mom and I were on the train, Maggie was cooking up a storm. The result was so delectable that I thawed out some chops, marinated them, and cooked them up for me and Mark the next day.

The consensus is that 3.75-month-old goat tastes every bit as good as lamb...possibly even better. There's no gamy flavor (although the meat is very slightly tougher than lamb) and the fat-to-meat ratio is the best of all the pastured meats we've tried so far (purchased lamb and beef and hunted venison).

Goat versus lamb meat

As for cost --- the $55 we paid to the slaughterhouse was very much worth it. We ended up with 26 pounds of goat meat (which I think includes the weight of the bones I requested to have returned to me for broth-making), and the thinly sliced steaks and ground meat will definitely making cooking with our homegrown chevon much easier. Considering that we've been willing to pay top dollar for pastured lamb in the past, the slaughterhouse fee is Pair of goatsquite acceptable for meat that is otherwise nearly free. Suddenly, I'm wishing Abigail had popped out two kids instead of one, and I'm looking forward to an even larger goat harvest next summer.

Finally, I should end by mentioning that there doesn't seem to be a perfect age for harvesting goats for meat. A quick search of the internet turns up dates ranging from two months to two years, with the data that growth starts to slow (meaning the meat gets much tougher and feed costs rise if you're purchasing food) at an age of about five to six months. So, even if Lamb Chop hadn't been making my life more difficult, butchering him at four months was probably a relatively good idea.

And, despite my angst at the time, I haven't experienced a single qualm as we gorge on our first buckling's meat. Instead, I fall more and more in love with our caprine homestead addition every day. The only real question is --- which is the most valuable goat product? Milk, manure, or meat?



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Hi Anna- Wow, 26 lbs sounds good. How much did he weigh when you brought him? What was your cut list?

We brought a young saanen cross buckling last fall and asked for stew meat and a couple of steaks. We only got 7 or 8 lbs. But that was without bones. He was not a very big buckling. He was tasty but not much there. We determined that next time we brought a young one we would do bigger cuts and stew whole portions bones and all.

We also brought a 3 yo 175-lb buck. Thinking that his meat would be tough if not processed, we had him made into hot dogs, meat sticks, bologna and a few steaks. (Some porkfat was added to make the products) That was all very good.. we stewed the steaks in the crockpot and they were delightful in a curry.

Thanks for the updates. Looking forward to more goat adventures.

Comment by Suzanne Tue Jun 30 08:59:56 2015
This little tree has only been 2 years in the ground! I do cover it very warmly, against killing frosts--having it against the porch railing helps with that, and, having it sheltered by the porch railing from the prevailing winds, also helps. Last, it gets the earliest sun. And, kyes, the papples keep getting bigger! I'm trying not to pick right away, and to wait till the apple, when touched, drops into my hand:) This has been a source of wonder and fun!--thanks, Anna!
Comment by adrianne Tue Jun 30 09:18:14 2015
So very interesting to hear about your goat meat. My neighbor is looking into meat goats (Boers apparently do well in our hot dry climate), but the only goat I've ever eaten was in an Indian curry and still tasted unappetizingly gamy to me. (Granted, I have a low tolerance for gaminess in my meat…) I think I will wait to be invited to a goat feast at her house and check it out before I take the plunge to meat goats. I'm sure the meat tastes different depending on breed, age, animal's diet, preparation, etc., but I wouldn't want to gamble on getting all those factors right without further information. Thanks for contributing some data points.
Comment by heather in CA Tue Jun 30 11:35:44 2015

Suzanne --- We didn't weigh him before taking him in, although I did measure using the weight tape six weeks before. At that time, he was 45 pounds. Since then, he lapped Artemesia (who was taping in around 50 pounds), so I suspect he went to the slaughterhouse around 55 or 60 pounds. (I would have measured him closer to the day...but one of our goats got ahold of the weight tape and chewed it up.) This is quite big for a four-month-old, but he's been gorging on over half of Abigail's milk all that time!

As for cuts, we went for 1 whole hind leg roast with the other leg sliced into steaks. The shoulders and the rest of the meat was ground.

Mom --- Only two years old! Wow! I think you're right that having it in a spot where it's easily coverable makes a huge difference. A big reason to espalier instead of using my 3D high-density system. Hmmm.....

heather in CA --- I suspect that older goat meat is much more likely to be gamey. But I also have to admit that I must not be very sensitive to the gamey flavor (or I use cooking methods that minimize it), because I haven't found our venison very gamey either.

Comment by anna Tue Jun 30 11:49:02 2015