The James Beard award-winning television personality and chef is a big fan of goat, and he can’t understand why his fellow citizens are decidedly unaware of the virtues of this under-the-radar animal protein, much in the same way we still cling to our beloved NFL football over actual football (soccer).
Goat accounts for about 6 percent of red meat consumption worldwide, with the annual per capita consumption for goat weighing in at 1.7 pounds. The highest level of goat meat consumption anywhere in the world is Sudan, where 8.6 pounds of goat is consumed per person annually. The industrialized country with the biggest appetite for goat is China, with 3.5 pounds eaten per capita each year.
Depending on your family’s heritage and the part of the country in which you live, you might have more than a passing familiarity with goat meat. You might have enjoyed celebratory meals of slow-roasted cabrito at your abuela’s house. Perhaps the Jamaican side of the family made the reputed-aphrodisiac Mannish Water (goat’s head soup). Your Greek γιαγιά might have insisted that it wasn’t a proper Easter celebration without a whole roasted goat. But if those culinary traditions are not part of your background, you most likely have never eaten goat.
Based on numbers provided by Tatianna L. Stanton, the organizer of the goat program in the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University, it’s estimated that we consume only 0.25 pound of goat meat annually per capita in the United States.