Putting goat back on the menu this October
Goats cheese and milk has long been a British staple. However, if we take a minute to look at this area of the dairy industry, we would see one fundamental flaw in production. Our consumption of goat’s milk products far outweighs the use of goat meat in our kitchens. So what happens to 50% of goats that are not reared for their milk?
Billies, male kids, before now had been ‘problematic’ – an expensive by-product of milk production and no consumer market that would see them as a viable meat source. However, with the support of many regional and London-based restaurants, Devon-based James Whetlor set up Cabrito Goat Meat to rectify this growing billy goat problem.
Ex- River Cottage chef James didn’t set out to create a goat meat business. He founded Cabrito Goat Meat after needing help to manage his massively overgrown garden. The idea was that four goats would help clear the ground. However, a chance meeting at Taunton farmers’ market introduced James to Will Atkinson at Hill Farm Dairy. “I ended up buying a couple of goats off Will to put on the restaurant menu at River Cottage” James says, “They flew out of the door. I thought, ‘We’re onto something here’, and went straight back to Will for more.”
James passionately felt he could do something about the ridiculous waste of the male billy goats from the dairy industry. Calling on his 10 years’ of cheffing experience and contacts in the restaurant industry, James set out to be the much-needed link between goat dairies to restaurants. With this having been a massive success over the last few years, the mission now is to make goat meat more familiar with diners not just in professional kitchens but to make goat meat products attractive to the home cook, ensuring kid meat is widely available and easy to cook at home.
Goatober is the UK’s month-long celebration of the dairy billy goat meat industry. During the month of October, restaurants across the country are putting a goat dish on their menus and urging diners to try this delicious but much under-used meat. James comments, “Goat meat is moving into the mainstream – this is great news for everyone. The consumer gets more choice and more exciting menu options, and the humble Billy goat gets six months of good life before it becomes someone’s dinner, rather than being considered worthless at birth. It is great to see, even if it has taken a while, but Britain is finally waking up to what the rest of the world has known for a long time; goat meat is delicious.”
Kid goats are a similar size to a spring lamb – around 20kg – and have a delicate, sweet and musky flavour. The meat takes well to punchy flavourings including Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern herbs, spices and rubs. It is lower in fat than beef or pork, is rich in potassium and has twice as much iron as beef, making it nutritional and nourishing as well as being extremely versatile. Now widely available in regional butchers and supermarkets, October is surely the time to try cooking goat at home.