Goat is one of the undisputed underdogs of the meat world. While most Americans will eat copious amounts of pork, beef, and poultry, without batting an eye, they will shy away from more exotic meats such as lamb, venison, and especially goat.
Goat is particularly troublesome for most western pallets because of the strong, gamey odor it can give off during the cooking process. However, I’m a staunch proponent of eating goat because it is very lean, tender, flavorful meat.
Thankfully, removing the odor from goat meat is very easy to do as long as you follow the tips and tricks below.
Why Does Goat Meat Smell So Strong?
Goat meat, also commonly found labeled as Chevon, Cabrito, or Kid, is one of the most flavorful red meats you will find. The soft, sweet flavor and tender, juicy texture make Goat meat one of the most popular meats around the world. In fact, in many places, goat meat is the most popular source of protein to cook.
However, nobody will deny the fact that meat can often produce a very strong smell that many people find repulsive. Why this happens can depend on a few different factors.
For example, if the meat comes from mature, uncastrated males, it will most certainly have a stronger flavor and a very strong “goat” odor.
Goats who are fed low-quality feed will most likely produce lower quality meat, and it may also have a strong musky smell regardless of age and gender.
Goat meat is very lean compared to more popular types such as pork and beef. However, it does still contain layers of fat distributed throughout the layers of muscle. It is here that most of the unpleasantness comes from.
Thus, goat meat that hasn’t been properly trimmed of excess fat will have a stronger smell than leaner cuts.
Thankfully, millions of people have eaten goat meat for thousands of years, which means that plenty of people across the world have come up with clever tricks proven to help reduce or outright remove the strong odor associated with this delicious meat.
How To Remove The Odor From Goat Meat
Clean The Meat
I am not usually one to recommend washing meat, because in most cases it is unnecessary and can lead to cross-contamination. But simply rinsing your goat meat under some running water is an excellent way to reduce any unpleasant odors lurking on the surface.
Once the meat is washed and clean, lightly pat it dry with a paper towel and move on to the next step.
Trim The Fat
As mentioned earlier, a common trick to reduce or remove the scent from goat meat is to properly and thoroughly trim the meat of excess fat.
Regardless of whether you will be roasting, grilling, sauteing, pan-frying, or stewing your cut of goat meat, you have to make sure that you use a sharp paring knife to cut away any excess fat found on the surface of the meat, as well as any large seams of fat found within the flesh itself.
Soak Your Meat
The next trick to remove odor from goat meat is to soak it in some kind of liquid or salt water brine to draw out the organic compounds that are responsible for the strong aroma.
This is arguably the most popular method, with hundreds of recipes from around the world incorporating some version of the soaking method.
For example, you may soak your goat in whole milk for a few hours before seasoning or cooking the meat. After some time the fat in the milk (buttermilk is another great option) is going to be able to encapsulate the volatile organic compounds that are responsible for the offensive smell and allow you to wash them away.
This method will also work with strongly acidic substances such as vinegar or lemon juice. The high acidity of these substances can break down the smelly molecules in the meat and fatty tissues.
Another benefit of using lemon juice or vinegar to remove the odor from goat meat is that they function as a very potent tenderizing agent. Goat soaked in acidic substances tends to be some of the softest, most tender meat you can find.
Use Sauce Or Spice To Mask The Odor
The final trick you can use to remove odor from goat meat is to rely on strongly flavored sauces or spices to season the product. Things like mustard-based marinades or red wine-based sauces go well with the gamey flavor of goat meat.
One of my favorite goat recipes is based on a heavily-spiced Jamaican Curry spread, which has tons of garlic, ginger, thyme, onions, tomato, chili and bell peppers, turmeric, cumin, coriander, all-spice, nutmeg, crushed black pepper, fenugreek, carrots, and yellow mustard. The resulting dish is a fragrant and flavorful stew that smells delicious!
If you combine the tips and tricks on this page you should find that your goat cooking experience will change for the better. You will no longer have to worry about your family being put off by the aromas coming from your kitchen when preparing some mouthwatering goat recipes.