Growing Goat Meat Awareness

Goat is ever present in the media now - The Guardian is often at the forefront, with their excellent food news section.

Today we are reflecting on a cooking skill that we don't get to practise too much in Britain due to our shocking weather, but if there is any part of the year that you might squeeze in a BBQ, August is the time!

BBQ Roast Joints to choose from:

Prime Meat Goat Shoulder

Prime Meat Goat Leg

Three steps to a great barbecue

The cooking process breaks down easily into three sections;

The initial cooking period. From the moment you put your rubbed meat into the smoker, most of what you’re accomplishing during this period is taking on smoke flavour. That is, your rate of cooking is relatively constant for the first couple/few hours. But when you begin to get above 70C/160F:

The cooking slows down, and you enter “the stall”. This is the second, purgatorial portion of the cook where collagen begins to break down, but it’s neither raw nor done. The rate of cooking slows down during this part of the process because of evaporative cooling, the method by which the meat is giving off moisture from the internal cells to the surface in order to cool off (similar to your body sweating). This in turn slows the rate of the heat penetrating the meat. After a certain amount of time, though, the harder collagen tissue within (the bits that make tough meat tough) will have dehydrated enough in order to dissolve, and the meat will quickly resume a sharper rate of temperature incline, called “the jump.’” This is the point where many professionals will wrap their meat in butcher’s paper, which helps to retain moisture near the surface and insulates the meat from drying out during the final bit of cooking.

The jump. This is the most crucial of the three sections to keep an eye on, because you don’t want to overshoot your ideal cooking temperature (between 91-95C when the collagen has fully turned into tender, meat jelly). I like to pull my meat when it’s between 89-90C internally. You can place it into a small container, such as a thermobox or insulated cooler and the temperature will continue to rise and carry over into the temp zone of 91-95C, where you’ll get the moist and tender meat you’re aiming for.

American Smoked Goat Shoulder (pictured)

American Smoked Goat Shoulder (pictured)

You will need a barbecue that has a lid, and preferably a built-in thermometer, to smoke the meat. Adding wood chips to the hot coals provides the smoke. Follow the same time and temperature instructions if cooking in the oven.

Serves 6
1 goat shoulder (around 2kg)
25g salt
100g black treacle
10g black peppercorns, crushed

  1. Rub the goat shoulder with the salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes, or until the surface begins to sweat.
  2. Rub the treacle all over the shoulder, then season with pepper. Smoke slowly in the covered barbecue at around 110C/230F for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the shoulder, wrap it in greaseproof paper, then return it to the barbecue smoker for another 2-3 hours, or until a probe thermometer reaches 90C/195F. Allow the meat to rest in a warm area for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cajeta barbecue sauce
Sauce matters: a good barbecue sauce stays with you all your life. Cajeta is a Mexican confection made from sweetened, caramelised goat’s milk; it’s similar to dulce de leche.

Serves 6
For the barbecue sauce
530g ketchup
40g tomato puree
360g apple cider vinegar
60g yellow mustard
1 heaped tsp garlic powder
1 heaped tsp salt
240ml water
450g light brown sugar

For the cajeta
500ml goat’s milk
140g sugar
1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce, then simmer, stirring very frequently, until it reaches the thickness of ketchup. Set aside.
  2. Now, make the cajeta. In a big pot, at least 3 times the volume of the goat’s milk, bring the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat.
  3. Mix the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to a paste with 1 tbsp water. Add to the hot milk (it will foam up and bubble, but don’t be alarmed). Put it back on a low heat, stirring regularly. Simmer until it is caramel-coloured and thick, like toffee sauce. Reduce the heat as you go. It will take between 45-60 minutes.
  4. To make the finished sauce, combine equal quantities of cajeta and barbecue sauce, then mix together until smooth.

One Last Thing

‘My final advice on barbecue? Don’t overdo it. And save room for dessert!’

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