The first time I even considered goat as an actual food group was earlier this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who won’t try new foods. In fact, I have sometimes sought out regional delicacies when I travel (like alligator and crawfish in New Orleans). I had just never thought about eating goat meat. That changed when we found Honeytown Meats.
My husband, Bobby, and I decided to do a taste test after Kelly Hess, director of operation at Honeytown Meats, said she had goat tacos and they tasted just like beef tacos. I figured we should find out.
The goat meat taco adventure begins
Bobby, who is a whole lot less adventurous than me in this regard, decided we needed to include another couple in the event. So we asked my sister, Randi, and her husband, Shaun, if they would like to participate. They agreed.
We took all the ingredients for a taco type dinner, including soft tortillas, shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream and of course the meat. I made a pound of taco meat using the ground goat and a pound using ground beef.
To make sure there wasn’t anything different than the meat itself, I used the same seasoning and three tablespoons of pureed tomatoes. Only Bobby was with me in the kitchen to know which pan had which type of meat.
Characteristics of ground goat vs. beef
The first thing I noticed about the ground goat meat was that it is much leaner than the ground beef. It also was more difficult to break down into smaller pieces than the beef. I wondered how I would be able to disguise the difference between the two meats when it came time for serving.
As the meats cooked down, my original assessment that the ground goat was leaner was confirmed. While the two were cooking I didn’t notice any distinguishable difference between the two meats. They both smelled the same to me.
Preparing for the tasting event
When it came time for serving, Bobby suggested that I serve one meat first, then everyone could try it together. That solved the problem of the difference in appearance. Once the seasoning had thickened everything up, I could still tell the goat from the beef visually.
Where the beef had smaller bits in it, the goat meat had stubbornly held on to its bigger chunks. I had even tried to make them smaller, but hadn’t had the success I had hoped for. I did hope the visual difference wouldn’t give away which meat it was.
After deliberating on which meat to take out, I decided to serve the goat meat tacos first. My sister has Fiestaware dishes in several colors, and I chose a green one and a blue one. I want to use the green for goat and blue for beef so I could tell them apart. Because I was serving one meat at a time, I decided to switch it up, in case someone would think of that green = G = goat and blue = B = beef. So, the goat went in the blue dish and the beef went in the green. Apparently my ruse didn’t work!
Which is it? A goat taco or beef taco?
When the “mystery” meat was brought to the table, we all made our tacos using street-taco-size flour tortillas. Shaun, stated as he was putting the meat on his tortilla that it was the goat. I didn’t confirm or deny it.
After Shaun’s first bite, he declared that it was the goat meat. “You can tell. It tastes like lamb,” he said.
Randi said she didn’t notice that it tasted any different than regular taco meat and thought it was good.
Bobby, who I was sure would have the most difficult time trying the meat, at first said the meat didn’t taste any different. However, he had lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos on his taco. When he bit near the end, which only had the meat, lettuce, cheese and tortilla, he said it did taste a little different.
I thought it was good. To me it didn’t seem to be any different than what regular taco meat tasted like.
Looking for a goat meat taco recipe?
We just followed the directions on the back of a packet of El Paso taco seasoning. Bobby likes to add tomatoes when he cooks tacos. He will add diced tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, or tomato sauce.
We like soft, flour tortillas. We purchased street taco tortillas, and they were a little small. We like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream and olives (or at least I like olives) on our tacos.
However, to be fair, we hadn’t tried the beef mixture, yet. So after everyone had one ground goat taco, I brought out the ground beef. We basically fixed the tacos the same way, just with the beef mixture this time.
Both Randi and I agreed that they tasted the same. Shaun was adamant that we had no discriminating palate. I guess he might be right. However, whether goat or beef, both tacos were tasty.
Bobby and Randi admitted that a lot of their hesitation with trying the meat had been mental. While Randi had a little taco salad with a mix of the both ground goat and ground beef, Bobby stopped at his one goat taco. I enjoyed a little taco salad with just ground goat. Shaun used some more of the goat to make nachos.
Settling the goat vs. beef debate
I would say probably because of how we were raised, we probably won’t become major purchasers of goat meat in the near future. For us, goat meat is more of a delicacy than beef.
When we cleaned up the kitchen we had a little of both meat mixtures leftover. I took it to my parents to try. When I told my mom about the goat meat tacos, she said that almost every Sunday when she was living with her dad in Del Rio, Texas (very close to the Mexican border), they would have a barbeque with cabrito (goat) that her dad would get from the Mexican butcher in town. I had no idea that my mom used to eat goat on a regular basis!
I’m glad to have tried the ground goat. I agree with Kelly who told me you can’t tell the difference between ground goat and ground beef, at least not when it is used for taco meat. I’d be willing to try it in different forms, like burgers or as a roast, however, at this point, I doubt Bobby will be able to get over the mental hurdles. So until he changes his mind, I’ll stick with beef.
Goat is becoming more popular in the United States
Although over 60% of the world’s population eat goat, mainly in South Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, it has started to gain in popularity here in the United States. Goat is considered a red meat, like beef, but is much leaner than beef. Whereas 3 ounces of beef has about 245 calories, 3 ounces of goat has 122 calories.