Saturday, August 11, 2007

Coat of Arms

Mrs Impala and I ate the Australian Coat of Arms for dinner tonight:

Commonwealth Coat of Arms
Both kangaroo and emu are very lean, low fat meats. To my surprise, emu meat isn't anything like chicken at all -- despite being from a bird, it is definitely a red meat. I expected something like an even bigger turkey, only gamey, but it was more like beef except with a finer texture and much lower in fat. Mrs Impala says it's like the best of British eye fillet steak (especially the way she likes beef: "tell it stories about fire, then bring it to the table"). It has a comparatively mild flavour.

Kangaroo meat has a stronger, more gamey flavour, but less so than wild venison. I've previously eaten minced roo, and would cheerfully do so again, but it comes from older, lower quality animals and so has a much stronger flavour that might not appeal to everybody. I wouldn't bother again with the pre-made "kangaroo roast" made from offcuts and spices.

The secret to both kangaroo and emu is to serve them rare. Being low in fat, they will dry out terribly if overcooked, so cook them quick on a very hot flame to seal in the juices, and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. We marinated the roo, but probably didn't need to.

Prices aren't exactly cheap, but quite competitive once you consider the quality: low fat and cholesterol, no bone, and much more flavoursome than the beef commonly available in Australian retail stores. I paid roughly $7 for about 500g for the kangaroo, at Safeway. The emu was more expensive, and much harder to track down: I ended up finding it by accident at the Victoria Market, where I paid $18 for around 800g. $25 for a feast for three people, and some left overs -- considering the taste and quality, I call that good value.

Sure, at $5 a kilo for rump, beef is cheaper, but the quality is much lower. The best Aussie beef is exported, so the premium cuts available here at retail are more like the cheap cuts available overseas. That came as nasty shock to Mrs Impala, who had expected Aussie beef to be good, what with us being famous as meat eaters and for the size of our cattle industry. Alas, she hadn't taken into account the general poverty of Australian soils and the chronic lack of water.

At $24 per kilo for emu, or even $14 per kilo for roo, I won't be eating them every day, but then I don't eat a lot of red meat regardless of how cheap it is. I'll wouldn't hesitate to eat either again, especially the emu, and can heartedly recommend both.


Suzanne G. said...

It's my "superior world dominating" country which "lost" those weapons in Iraq and elsewhere. Perhaps we should send flocks of emus over there. It would provide a diversion and improve the food supply. Iraqis don't seem to have enough food and water.

Keep up the good posts.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Impala, I read about your feast with a certain amount of jealousy.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about goats, particularly the edibility of goats. You might want to add goats to your list of lean meat animals (along with bison, but I don't imagine there are a lot of bison down under).

The USDA ratings for goats, sheep, beef, chicken etc. are all on the Internet, and I was interested to find that as far as fat content is concerned, sheep are at the far right end of the distribution, being as fatty as all get out, while goats are right over at the other end, being very high protein and very low fat. Bison are snuggled over next to the goats. ~pause to relish interesting mental picture ~

Sadly, a lot of the fatty cuts of meat seemed to turn out to be my favorites -- things like pork steak, pork roast, leg of lamb, and sausages inna bun.

I guess it's lucky that I don't make any of these roasts very often.

Oh, and barbecued ribs.

Mrs Cake

di Griz said...

~waves at Mrs Cake~

Goat meat is quite popular here - not a supermarket item but certainly in wide evidence in the open markets. It's popular among many of the East Asian immigrant communities. Gurkhas, a Melbourne chain of restaurants, serves up a fine goat curry!