What does Goat Meat taste like?
Chevon: ( 3 to 12 months old) Many describe the taste to a mild beef/veal-like taste and others say it is closer to a veal/venison. I would describe it as a combination of lamb and beef, concentrating more on the beef side. Chevon is a lot leaner than lamb. Cabrito: (1 to 3 months old) is more similar to lamb but with a texture more like bison or lean beef.
How do I cook Chevon (Goat Meat)?
Goat meat does have a peculiarity to it in that it does not "marble", or produce streaks of fat between the muscle fibers themselves. The same is not true of beef and lamb, which are much quicker to build up these little fat deposits, which melt and subsequently "butter" their meat during the cooking process. Keeping the meat moist and lubricating the chewing process, this marbling effect is what gives us the sensation of chewing soft, tender, and succulent meat. They also tend to make a given meat more forgiving of mistakes as the melted fat will tend to stick around a bit while the meat juices are cooking off and evaporating.
This idiosyncrasy may be the source of the copycat complaint that goat is supposedly "tougher" than lamb – which is not entirely true. Trying to roast goat quickly at a high temperature will probably result in meat that is tough and only partially cooked, though this much is definitely true of lamb and beef as well. In fact, trying to grill anything too quickly and over too high a heat will generally ruin it for human consumption and yield a tough, dry, leathery, and bitterly acrid product, be it meat or vegetable. Take fast grilling out of your vocabulary if you'd like to grill and serve meat that you and others would like to enjoy.
To cook goat right, it needs to be handled with patience. Goat should generally be cooked slowly, over a moderate heat, and it welcomes the presence of accompanying liquids to help keep it moist in the process. In many cultures, goat is marinated in wines, oils, or fruit juices (or, in non-Kosher cuisine, in milk or butter – which may well be the reason why goat was specified in the Torah as the example red meat not to be cooked in milk. The goat is then slowly braised in this mixture, making sure all the while that there is some liquid covering the bottom of the pot or pan. For this reason goat is the undisputed king of stew. It breaks down gently over the course of 3 or 4 hours on the stove or in the oven, and the silverskin (aka "Mar'eh Hakesef" in the parlance of the Menaqrim) reduces to a soft, gelatinous consistency. This is the right way to cook goat, as the breaking down of the silverskin will not only remove an otherwise tough component of the meat, but it will soften and lubricate the remaining meat itself, making for a wonderfully pleasant and extremely tasty dish.
The cuts of goat that we recommend most for slow cooking are the neck (which is fabulous in cholent), the legs (shoulder, arm, and shank all work wonderfully), riblets (i.e. brisket and spareribs), thigh meat, and rear shanks. Although it is true of any meat that you intend to cook in a pot or braise, goat marrow bones will add a delicious flavor, and silkier texture, and a bit of welcome fat to the cooking environment, without diluting the flavor of the goat itself the way a vegetable cooking oil might. Fantastic accompaniments to cooked or braised goat are garlic, onions, potatoes (we prefer red, but it's a matter of taste), dried fruits (see below for recommended seasonings), red or white wines (both of which highlight and complement the flavor of goat), and tomato-based sauces, which for some reason that we have yet to figure out work especially well with goat.
Goat can be pan fried and will come out absolutely fantastic when properly done. It seems to appreciate a bit of cooking oil, which does make up a bit for its lower fat content, and the high heat of the pan will break down silverskin at a faster rate than that of cooking in liquid, which is typically no higher than the boiling point of water. For pan frying we recommend the flank steaks, sirloin steaks (1" thick is most appropriate here), tenderloins, ground goat, and cubed thigh meat. Goat ribs are delicious pan fried, and that is probably the best way to prepare them if it's your first attempt at making them.
Goat can be grilled or smoked with great success. Again, the key ingredient in such an endeavor is patience. Take the meat out of the fridge or freezer long enough ahead of time that it will have the chance to thaw out and reach "slightly cool" before you begin preparing it (this is best done in a refrigerator on a moderate setting or by letting it warm up a bit set inside a bowl outside of the fridge). Keep the flame or heat setting moderately low, and turn the meat frequently until it is properly done on both sides, inside and out. By all means do slice off a piece and taste it before serving it at the table, especially if you're new to goat. Ground goat (as in goat burgers or Kubbeh) will grill or fry just like any other ground meat, and requires no special preparation.
As for seasoning, goat does work nicely with minimal seasoning, where the taste of the meat speaks for itself, and it is tolerant of more aggressive seasoning as well. People who aren't familiar with goat fear the alleged "gamy" flavor that it's purported to have (what exactly "gamy" means is a mystery to food critics all over the world, but it is considered an insult). Compared to the factory farmed chicken and bland beef that most of us are accustomed to eating, anything will probably be "gamy" in comparison. Traditional dishes and preparations are a great place to start, as give us a window into the practices and preferences of antiquity, showing us where some cultures accentuated the flavor of the meat itself with gentle seasoning, while others preferred to mix more powerful flavors together in the same pot and swallow an orchestral harmony of tastes with every bite