Many Americans still consider goats to be an unusual delicacy, but that idea is quickly changing. In fact, at Mercado Juarez Cafe, one of our customers' favorite dishes is Cabrito al Pastor, an authentic Mexican goat dish.
Never tried goat? Curious about this meat and its growing popularity? Then, whet your appetite with some of these interesting and tasty facts about goats.
1. Goat Is the Most Eaten Meat in the World
Although many Americans have not even tried goat, it's eaten all over the world. Africans, South Americans, Central Americans, Middle Easterners, Indians, Australians and New Zealanders tend to eat the most goat meat, but this tasty meat is popular in Europe as well. More people eat goat than chicken or beef, and surprisingly, goat milk is even more popular than cow's milk worldwide.
The popularity shows no signs of slowing down either. Goat is the fastest growing segment of the worldwide livestock industry. Every day, more people are trying this delicious meat and falling in love.
2. Goats Have Been Becoming Popular in the United States for About 25 Years
Arguably, the goat population in the United States started boom around 1993. That year, Australia and New Zealand exported several herds of the South African Boer goat into Texas. Now, proud Texans love to dine on goat, and the trend is quickly spreading north as well.
According to some estimates, there are about 450 million goats in the world. That's about 1 goat for every 14 people. Approximately, 3 million goats call the United States home, and about 44 percent of those horned creatures live in the great state of Texas. Texas may be considered cattle country, but we're also the country's leading goat producer.
3. Goat Is Healthy
Eating goat meat isn't just popular. It's also incredibly healthy. Goat is considered a red meat, but it has less fat and cholesterol than beef, pork or chicken. A 3-ounce serving of goat has only 122 calories, but it packs in 23 grams of protein.
4. Goat Meat Is Environmentally Friendly
Goats are environmentally friendly compared to many other meat animals. They are browsers, which means they eat weeds and bushes, rather than just grass. That tends to have a lower environmental impact than grazing animals like cows. The idea that goats eat garbage is a myth—if you do see a goat chewing on a can, he's likely just trying to get at the sweet tasting glue that holds the label onto the can.
Also, goats don't take up as much land as cattle. You need about an acre to support a cow, but you can put anywhere from 10 to 15 goats on an acre of land. Finally, goats are more efficient with their food than cows. If you give a cow and a goat the same amount of feed, you get more milk from the goat. That's stunning! Over time, those differences really add up.
5. Goat Meat Is Delicious
In addition to all the environmental and health benefits of goat, the meat is delicious. It has a sweet, slightly gamy flavor that many people absolutely love. It's also versatile. You can eat goat in curries, Mexican dishes, Jamaican stews or just between a couple pieces of bread as a sandwich.
In particular, our Cabrito al Pastor can be eaten with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla or enjoyed on its own. If you want to try it out at home, we even have the recipe available online.
Ready to try goat? Not quite sure and want to stick with one of our chicken, beef or vegetarian dishes? Either way, give us a call to make a reservation. We look forward to filling you up with delicious food.