Make way for Dromedaries and Marsupials.
I dropped by the St. Lawrence Market this past Saturday. My usual routine is to wander around, get inspired for meal ideas, and compare prices. I glanced in the show case at Whitehouse Meats and was immediately intrigued by the various meats available. Along with the usual wild boar, goat and duck, there was kangaroo and camel!
I chatted with a few customers, the lady behind the counter, and ultimately Leila Batten the owner. Here’s what I learned.
The camel and kangaroo meat are brought in from Australia, made possible by the government culling program and are available year round. Camels were first introduced into Australia from the Canary Islands in 1840. An estimated 12,000 camels were imported and when road and rail transport deemed them no longer necessary for carrying freight, they were released into the wild. The camel population is now estimated at 500,000.
There are about 35 – 50 million kangaroos in Australia and in 2007 the culling quota was 3.5 million. It is argued that by harvesting native animals rather than introduced livestock such as sheep, it is better for the eco system, protects the fragile rangelands, and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.
With that many feral animals running around I’m surprised we haven’t seen a McHumpy burger or Kanga Nuggets.
So, does it taste like chicken?
I passed on the option, I’d sample a taste off your plate but I don’t think I’d attempt to prepare a meal, it’s still a bit weird for me. For those of you that might want to give these variations a try I’ve found a couple of recipes.
Camel meat, because they retain water is juicy without being fatty. Makes sense.
“(Kangaroo tastes like) a cross between venison and buffalo meat. Not quite as dry as deer but still leaner than buffalo. It has a wonderful gamey taste (because roos live in the wild and feed on grass and shrubs) that adds a lot of flavor without being overpowering.” – Peter Tsai The Tasting Buds Austin Food Blog