LOWELL, Ore. - I always love getting suggestions from viewers about Tasty Tuesday ideas.
A while back I had what may have been the most interesting to date.
A gentleman I ran into at the Lane County Fair said, "You should do something with goat."
As much as I liked the idea, finding a place that has goat on the menu is more of a challenge than I had expected. That was kind of a surprise: goat has been used for meat for thousands of years and is one of the most widely consumed meats in the world.
With all of that in mind, I just had to find out why goat never took off here in the U.S. That's how I found Richard Johnson. He's been raising goats for the last 10 years at his place in Lowell, Lookout Point Ranch.
On his ranch the goats feed off of many of the invasive plants in the area, making them great for brush control. It also makes them relatively low maintenance, not requiring a lot of feed. He said they can also be trained to make great pack animals, able to navigate tough terrain and live off whatever happens to be around.
Johnson doesn't claim to know all the ins and outs but believes the answer may be pretty simple: Beef is just more efficient. You may only get about 100 pounds of meat out of a really good sized goat. A cow, on the other hand, can easily provide 8 times that amount.
As we toured the property he also mentioned the lack of tradition here in the U.S. As Americans we are just not used to eating it, and those who do eat goat often immigrated from countries that do. That's not to say the consumption of goat is limited to specific ethnic groups. The number of adventurous eaters seems to be increasing along with the fast growing foodie population.
You certainly don't have to be an adventurous eater to go for goat however. After getting to see a little of the life of a goat herder, Johnson invited us up to the house for a bowl of goat chili. A fitting meal to find on a ranch. It is a leaner meat so you will see a lot of recipes that use the low and slow cooking method. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, but the best way I can describe goat is somewhere between beef and venison.
Goat may never be gourmet gold, and for Johnson that's okay. For him there is more to it than meat or even milk.