BBQ88/17 – Goat Tacos:
I have eaten a fair bit of goat over the years, mainly when travelling around the Greek islands or India. In Patmos I remember phoning a restaurant to order the slow cooked goat a day in advance and I think they cooked it for 12 hours or something. The taxi drove along a beach at night to get us to the restaurant which was pretty cool! In India, goat and mutton seemed to be interchangeable and just classed as mutton. I think in both places the goats would have been older animals rather than the kid goats you get from Cabrito Goat.
Fast forward to Meatopia 2014 and Neil Rankin created a long fire put made of breezeblocks and slow cooked 15 whole kid goats from Cabrito Goat then served them up in tacos with green salsa. I was fortunate to eat these at Meatopia and they were my stand out dish that year. Neil went on to cook goat at Smokehouse restaurant and it’s a permanent fixture on the menu at his new restaurant Temper where I was also fortunate to eat some wonderful goat meat in 2016.
Funnily enough at Meatopia 2016 my favourite dishes were both goat dishes: The pulled goat Cuban sandwich by Duck & Waffle which was fantastic and the goat shawarma with watermelon, pomegranate and mint by Ottolenghi which I have to be honest blew my mind!
Ok, so I have eaten and enjoyed a fair bit of goat but most folk don’t know much about goat do they? I have copied this straight off the Cabrito website:
James Whetlor founded Cabrito after keeping a few goats to solve a land management problem. He was cooking at River Cottage at the time and a few of the goats ended up on the menu. After seeing how well the kids sold, James thought perhaps there was a market for kid goat meat. Turns out there was.
All Cabrito kids are a by-product of the dairy industry and would have in the past been euthanized shortly after birth. In a world of dwindling resources and rising food prices Cabrito believe this cannot be justified. They now have a network of farms producing high quality meat from a previously wasted resource.
I learnt more of the background to the issue of male goats born into the dairy industry last year from James during his Goatober event where for a whole month (October) he encouraged restaurants to cook goat on their menus. A few folk picked up on it in the BBQ scene and it was the podcast with UnitedQ which really kick started it in the BBQ world. I joined in with goatober and ordered half a goat from Turner and George to cook over the month which was great fun! I ended up recreating the Goat Tacos, the Goat Shawarma and Ottolenghi’s dish with the latter getting me awarded restaurant of the day by James and Ottolenghi said “It looks delectable” which were both awesome bits of feedback!
I just found the pictures from everything I cooked during Goatober too:
Awesome! Can’t wait for Goatober this year for more of the same!
With that in mind I have let the goats down this year as I haven’t cooked it very often. I decided it was time to do the goat tacos again so I ordered a goat shoulder from Turner and George – £35 for 2.5KG. When it arrived it looked fantastic, great colour:
Neil’s recipe was on the old Turner and George website so I used it again. Looking on the website today it’s not on there so I will paste it at the bottom of this post. I didn’t have to trim the meat and I just rubbed in some salt and pepper then left it to sit for a little while as I set the smoker up.
I had about half a bucket of leftover heat beads from a previous cook so I poured 1x 4KG bag of heat beads in then the bucket of leftovers and poured half a lit chimney of lumpwood on top. After 15 minutes I put the smoker together on top and after 45 minutes (total) it was hovering at 225F so I placed the goat shoulder on the top rack. I placed some Hickory and Cherry chunks from Smokewood Shack in. The hickory is a fairly strong smoky smell and taste which I like and I also like using cherry wood to colour the meat with a red tinge.
The recipe says to cook it for 5 hours but I knew from previous cooks it takes a bit longer so I factored on it taking 9 hours. I checked back every once in a while and topped up with more hickory and cherry chunks. After 7 hours it had taken on a nice colour.
After 9 hours it hit 81c internal temperature and I took it off to rest for a while.
The colour of the meat was fantastic.
Once it had rested for a while it as almost cool enough to pull by hand. As with previous cooks I prefer to pull it by hand to keep it in larger chunks so it doesn’t dry out as much. The goat meat was incredibly juicy, far moister than the pork and lamb I have done recently.
Time to Eat:
Whilst the meat was cooking I had made the green sauce: garlic, coriander, lime zest and lime juice and the sour cream / chipotle sauce. I sliced jalapenos, limes and red onions then diced an avocado. I didn’t make tacos this time, I cheated and used some Wahaca ones – just heated them in a frying pan.
I built the taco by smearing some of the sour cream / chipotle mix on the taco with some goat meat on top followed by the green sauce, jalapenos then red onions. I squeezed some lime over and thoroughly enjoyed it!
The goat meat was fantastic as always. It’s like a sweet tasting, young lamb. Very tender and clean to eat.
What works really well with this dish are the 2 sauces Neil includes in the recipe. I recognised the green sauce when I eat at Temper, it’s really nice.
I wouldn’t change a lot with this cook, we felt it was the best goat shoulder we had cooked so far. Talking to James he suggested cooking to 79c internal so I will try that next time but at 81c it was incredibly moist and pulled easily.
|Cook Equipment:||Weber Smokey Mountain|
|Cook Method:||Low and Slow|
|Charcoal:||1x 4KG Heat Beads and half a bucket of leftovers|
|Smoking Wood:||Smokewood Shack Hickory and Cherry|
|Cook time:||9 hours|
|Notes:||1: Try taking it off at 79c internal|
Kid Goat Shoulder Goat Tacos courtesy of Neil Rankin
For the Goat Tacos
1 whole Shoulder of Goat
150g Masa Harina flour
1tbsp olive oil
100g sour cream
100g Green Sauce (a blend of 100g garlic, 100g coriander, zest of live limes and 200g lime juice)
50g Chipotle in abado, blended
1 avocado, diced
2 jalapeno peppers
1 red onion, sliced finely
half a bunch of coriander leaves
salt to taste
1. Pre-heat your oven to 120 degrees. Season the Goat Shoulder with salt, before placing on a baking tray in the oven for 5 hours.
2. Whilst the Shoulder is cooking, make the tacos. Mix the Masa Harina flour with a pinch of salt, adding the olive oil and water until you achieve a smooth dough. If you find it too sticky, add more flour, too dry – more water. Roll the mix into a ball and cling-film in the fridge til needed.
3. When the goat is cooked, leave to cool at room temperature. Pull out chunks of meat and use the fat left in the tray to keep it moist.
4. Whilst the goat cools, mix the chipotle with the sour cream to taste. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron pan on the hob until it’s nice and hot. Roll the taco dough into small balls between two pieces of greaseproof paper, and press down to make a circle. Fry in the dry pan and repeat until the dough is used up.
5. Build the taco with the pulled goat and avocado. Drench in freshly squeezed lime juice. Top with the chipotle mayo, green sauce and slice of jalapeno and red onion. Finish off with the coriander.