Barbecued Kangaroo, Yet Another Red Meat
Tired of the beef, pork, and poultry? Venison and seafood not exotic enough? Then do a little creative purchasing and grill up some barbecued kangaroo
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Recently, I had the opportunity to try a delicacy that isn’t often available in this hemisphere: barbecued kangaroo, or "barbecue 'roo" as my source called it. Exotic, right? Sure enough, at least for those of us here in the U.S. of A. And it turns out that kangaroo meat is surprisingly appetizing.
That's not to say that it'll be easy to find without sneaking down to the local zoo, but you can get it online and from specialty stores if you're willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. That may be worth it if you're tired of grilling the same ol', same ol'.
A Non-Rare Delicacy
Gourmands view kangaroo meat as one of the best game meats available, a true delicacy given its unique, appealing flavor and low fat content. In recent years, it's become so popular as haute cuisine that the Germans, Swiss, Belgians, and French eat more per capita than the Aussies do, spending huge amounts on it.
This is rather ironic, since kangaroo meat is hardly a rarity. In fact, kangaroos are so common in some parts of Australia that people view them as pests, in very much the same way that we often perceive deer here in the States nowadays.
So while we may consider 'roo on the barbie to be wildly exotic, the Aussies don't. They've been eating it for centuries—the Aborigines for hundreds of centuries, really.
The Meat Itself
Kangaroo meat is remarkably similar to venison, though some compare it to hare. In any case, it's a very lean, dark red meat rarely containing more than 2% fat. This being the case, it dries out very easily, which makes it a poor choice for those of us who like our steaks medium or well-done.
Despite being harvested from wild populations -- there are no kangaroo ranches Down Under -- kangaroo meat also tends to be quite tender, unlike most wild game. This has also added to its popularity.
How to Cook It
If you can get your hands on some 'roo, treat it as if it were venison. It comes in a variety of cuts, including nice medallion steaks. Inch-thick is best, seared over a hot grill; remember, don't go any further than medium rare with this meat, or it'll dry out, unless you marinate it for a long time in some juicy, fatty concoction first.
Otherwise, try your favorite sauce or marinade that goes well with red meat, and be sure to leave the steaks on the grill for no longer than about 2-3 minutes per side. Any longer than that and your kangaroo meat is likely to get tough, and you can't have that!