It’s almost shopping day, in the middle of winter. The meat supply is running low and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner. We’re out of beef and chicken. What’s left is a lot of pork, since we just purchased a whole pig from a friend who raises them organically. But we’ve had that 4 out of the last 6 nights, and I don’t feel like making it again today. What’s left in the freezer? A pound-and-a-half piece of goat meat. Hmmm…
That was my situation yesterday morning. We’ve had goats for most of the past 10 years, but we’ve only butchered half a dozen and I’m still figuring out the best way to cook it. We’ve pretty much been a ground beef or chicken family. Mainly because that’s what’s cheapest. We have the occasional beef or pork roast. Steak or fish less frequently than that. A turkey or two a year. Goat is something neither Keith or I ate until we butchered 3 small bucks about 6 years ago. And they were a little stinky, with the mature buck-musk scent, which transfers into the meat. It wasn’t terribly tasty just crock-potted. Not to mention tough. It was a long time between meals of goat and we ate it just because we couldn’t stand the thought of wasting it, though I suppose I could have fed it to the cats.
In the late summer of 2010 we butchered the next one. That was a castrated male – a wether, in proper goat terminology. Castration eliminated what would have made him stinky, but he was a few years old, which would make him tough. To eliminate the issue of toughness, we just ground all the meat. Some was seasoned for Italian sausage, some for breakfast sausage and the rest just left as ground meat. The Italian worked great on pizza and in spaghetti sauce. The breakfast sausage also tasted fine, but to just eat it plain caused us to need a lot to drink. Goat meat is VERY lean – it has very little fat. That makes it dry. Even putting a lot of oil in the frying pan didn’t really help. But, cooking it up crumble-style and putting it in an egg casserole or quiche worked better. The plain ground goat meat was great in chili.
In mid-2011 we had 2 bucks that had been born in 2010. One was used for breeding our does over the winter, the other was an extra. The first week of July I noticed that they were starting to stink. I didn’t want stinky meat, or to have stinky goats in the barn affecting the taste of our milk, so we butchered the two of them. Because they were still relatively young, and not stinky enough to affect the taste of the meat (we hoped), we opted to keep the larger pieces large to roast or put in casseroles or something. The small pieces were ground up like the last time.
So, back to yesterday morning. We’ve eaten all the goat meat from those two goats (and the meat wasn’t “goaty”, by the way), except one bag weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces, which I honestly didn’t know we still had. But, now that the freezer is almost empty, it was easy to find. I really had no idea what to do with it, other than put it in the crock pot and make some kind of stew, though that didn’t sound good to me at the time. I was still trying to think of what else I could do with it, when after I cut the bag and dumped the meat in the crock pot, I thought of gyros. I know they are usually made with lamb, but why not try it with goat?
I got on allrecipes.com and typed “gyros” in their recipe search. The 4th or 5th one in the search was for lamb gyros. I had everything for the marinade, except brandy. I did have some whiskey, though, and never having had either one, I decided that it would be close enough. There’s only 2 tablespoons of it in the marinade and I didn’t think it would made much of a difference. (I’ve since been educated on the difference between whiskey and brandy and in the future I would probably use wine instead, though it worked just fine with the whiskey.) Unfortunately I didn’t have the feta cheese or any of the veggies to go in the sandwiches, or the yogurt and cucumber to make the sauce, but Keith was going to town anyway, so I gave him a shopping list. I didn’t have pita bread, either, but I have a good recipe for yummy, soft, pitas and would make them in the afternoon.
So, above is a photo of my pita. It tasted really good! Something we’ll definitely make again in the future. Thought it would be better in the summer when we’ll have all the veggies growing in our garden (the tomato looked rather anemic and had very little flavor) and I can make the feta cheese and the yogurt from our goats’ milk. Another meal that we can make almost entirely with food we’ve produced on our own little farm!