Lamb vs Goat: Which is the Best “Other Meat”?

Lamb vs Goat

Lamb vs Goat: Which is the Best “Other Meat”?

After the big three: pork, chicken and beef, lamb and goat are amongst the most popular land proteins worldwide. Still, lamb and goat combined represent less than 7% of the world’s meat consumption. Let’s see if we can change that!

Lambs and goats are extraordinary sources of high-quality meat, and they’re much more than alternatives to the ubiquitous beef; they can compete with the best cuts in flavor and texture! Here’s all you need to know about lamb and goat meat. Most importantly, let’s answer the most crucial question: what’s the best “other” meat? This is lamb vs. goat.

Lamb vs Goat

How Does Goat Meat Taste?

Goat meat is red meat, just like beef. These very skilled animals have been domesticated for thousands of years, and they’re highly priced for their meat in North and Central Africa, the Middle East, India and South America. The US is also catching up. The number of goats bred for their meat in the country nearly doubles every decade!

Goat meat is lean and somewhat sweet; its tenderness and fat content depend on the animal’s age and gender. Small goats or ‘kids’ are esteemed for their lean meat, and meat from grown goats or ‘chevrons’ often finds its way into stews, where it’s slow cooked to tender perfection.

Some people describe goat meat as gamey, but that’s rarely the case. Sure, the meat’s flavor is more exotic than the relatively mild taste of beef, but when it comes from young, castrated goats, it is rich and flavorful without being funky at all.

How to Cook Goat?

Goat meat is versatile, and different cultures have found their own way of cooking the agile animal. You can roast and barbecue goat meat with outstanding results, and these methods are all rather popular.

Northern Mexico specializes in ‘cabrito,’ young goat spit-roasted whole by the indirect heat of an open flame. In Africa, a whole roasted goat is served during weddings, an unusual alternative for a wedding cake. Curry goat is common in India, and so on.

What the lean, sweet meat has in common everywhere is that it’s crowd-pleasing delicious. The goat’s ribs, loins, tenderloins and legs are great material for braising and slow cooking.

Since the meat has little fat, direct heat can dry out and toughen goat meat pretty quickly, so grilling goat or cooking it with heat-intensive methods is not advisable. It comes without saying goat meat benefits significantly from smoke, so cooking it low and slow with rustic methods pays off.

How Does Lamb Taste?

Lamb meat comes from young sheep and older muttons. These animals, although as impressive as goats, are often more docile, so they develop much more fat. Unlike goat meat, the USDA inspects and grades lamb meat, so Choice and Prime lamb meat exists. This makes consumers more comfortable when purchasing the unfamiliar meat — lamb makes up roughly 5% of the global meat market.

Lamb meat, though, is fattier and more flavorful than both beef and goat meat. The meat’s richer marbling or intramuscular fat also makes lamb more compatible with high heat, and grilling lamb is encouraged. Lamb meat is also red meat and is, in fact, quite dark (the older the lamb, the darker the meat).

People often mention a gamey character when describing the lamb’s fatty meat flavor; there’s no doubt lamb is ‘gamier’ than goat meat. However, lamb’s age and the cooking method influences its flavor greatly.

How to Cook Lamb?

Meat from young sheep is highly priced worldwide, and the animals are often slaughtered between one month and one year of age. Still, mutton meat, much gamier and tougher, is appreciated by many. Not dissimilar to goat meat, mutton is best enjoyed in slow-cooked stews, while young lamb meat can be grilled and roasted successfully.

The spicy mutton curry is widespread in India. Mexican barbacoa, a whole lamb slow-cooked in a pit oven, is a Sunday specialty. Sucker lambs, usually just a few months old, are prevalent in Australia and to some extent in the US. Lamb skewers are immensely fashionable in Southeast Asia, and mutton is a traditional dish in the UK. You’ve probably heard about the trendy rack of lamb, often found in the finest restaurant’s menus.

When cooking lamb, grilling experts prefer direct, high-heat methods, especially for fattier center cuts. Lamb legs can be significantly leaner and are best slow-barbecued or oven-roasted.

Lamb VS. Goat, Which One’s Healthiest?

Health-wise, lamb and goat are both excellent sources of protein. Goat meat contains an average of 27 grams of protein for every 100 grams (3.5 oz), and lamb contains roughly 25 grams of protein for the same amount of meat. In contrast, 100 grams of beef contain around 24 grams of protein.

Goat meat, though, is much leaner than lamb meat, with less fat and cholesterol and nearly half of lamb’s calories. Goat meat also contains almost twice as much iron as lamb, making it a healthier alternative to lamb and beef.

Biggest Differences and Similarities Between Lamb and Goat
• Both goat and lamb meat are red meat.
• Goat meat is leaner and sweeter than lamb meat.
• Lamb meat is gamier than goat meat.
• Lamb meat has more marbling than goat meat; therefore, more flavor.
• Goat meat is not compatible with high-heat cooking methods such as grilling; it’s best stewed or slow-roasted.
• Most lamb meat cuts can be grilled successfully.
• The market prefers young goats and lambs over older animals.
• The USDA grades lamb meat, but goat meat has no quality or yield grades.
• Lamb is more tender than goat meat.
• Goat is considered healthier than lamb for its leaner meat.

Lamb or Goat, Why Choose?

Lamb and goat meats are growing in popularity. There’s no doubt we’ll see more of them in upcoming years, and that’s wonderful! Consuming a varied diet is healthier for you and the environment, and it’s much more enjoyable as well!

Add lamb and goat meat to your grocery list and enjoy their uniqueness. With “other” meats, you don’t have to choose. Instead, treat yourself and your loved ones with both superb sources of meaty goodness!

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