Sadly we have not really embraced eating goat in Britain and Ireland

Goat is the most commonly eaten meat in the world and yet one we’ve not really embraced in Britain and Ireland.

Sunday, 13th October 2019, 8:12 am
Host farmers Robin and Millie Cole with some of their 150 goats at Broughgammon Farm, Ballycastle. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

When male kids are born they’re invariably incinerated as the goat industry here is centred around dairy and not meat.

Eating the goat is ethical, sustainable but more importantly it’s really tasty.

In 2010 in New York City a group of food activists partnered with a dozen goat dairies around New York state and Vermont to purchase their unwanted males. Over fifty chefs in the city agreed to put it on the menu and Goatober was born. This initiative succeeded in encouraging the public to eat more goat and its success grew and last year spread to the UK.

Broughgammon Farm is a goat farm located outside Ballycastle and run by the Cole family. They’re the epitome of ethical, sustainable farmers. It’s very much a working farm with an on site butchery, coffee shop and farm shop. Even if you’ve made your mind up you don’t like goat, their cakes and coffee are worth a trip alone. You can also catch them at events, farmers markets and every Saturday morning in St George’s Market in Belfast. They add value to the meat by cooking up burritos, burgers, tacos and changing specials. If you’re feeling creative you can buy the goat meat to cook. One of their best dishes is a goat offal taco – spiced liver and kidney is topped with local cheese, fermented vegetables from their polytunnel, and their special recipe spicy sauce. For me this sums up the ethos of this product – sustainability in using all cuts of the animal matched with great local ingredients. Check out their website for details of upcoming events.

Anytime I’ve cooked goat the reaction before eating it is usually a turned up nose and the utterance: “I’m not eating that.”

The common perception is that it’s a strong meat. The reality is that it’s kid meat and tastes like a cross between lamb and venison. It’s got a lower fat content making it a healthier option too. 100% of the time I’ve actually got people to cast aside their prejudices, the reaction is positive.

The first time I had goat meat was in a Caribbean restaurant in Manchester in the early 1990s. It was highly spiced but that didn’t stop the flavour of an old animal seeping through – not a pleasant experience on any level. Here the kids are only about six months old when they’re taken to the abattoir so the meat is sweet and flavoursome. Goat isn’t a cheap option – no properly reared meat is. Like rare breed pork or beef, a little goes a long way. Broughgammon also produce ethical rose veal meat. Forget about the stories of mistreated calves, these male animals would end up in the incinerator, like the Billy kids, so it makes sense to eat them. My first recipe is for a quick fried, breaded veal dish – scallopine. Broughgammon sell the veal escalopes and they’re already thinly sliced. My other recipe is for ale brined and slow cooked shoulder of goat – a great alternative to your regular Sunday roasts.

Goatober runs until the end of October but it’s a meat we should be trying all year round.