February 4, 2014

Home-Ground Chevon

This old hand grinder used to belong to my grandmother.

We don't eat a lot of beef, but we do eat a lot of goat meat, also known as chevon (or cabrito, although chevon is the "legal" term.) Folks will sometimes ask what it tastes like; all we can say is it tastes like goat. It doesn't taste like beef anymore than mutton or venison tastes like beef. But it doesn't taste like mutton or venison either! Still, I've served chevon burgers to folks who didn't know it wasn't beef and weren't the wiser.

Like everything else we do, there have been things to learn. One helpful thing was aging the meat before butchering (technically, butchering is the cutting up of the carcass. The killing part is called killing).

Aging is the process of allowing the carcass to "rest" after it's been dressed. I'm sure we're all familiar with rigor mortis, the stiffening of a body shortly after death. This biochemical process is not permanent. Aging the carcass allows the muscles to relax and allows enzymes to further tenderize the meat. We didn't age the first chickens we prepared and the meat was tough! Aging makes a delicious difference. I'll list some links at the end of the post for those of you interested in more information.

I've also learned that it's a whole lot easier to grind the meat if it's partially frozen. At room temperature, even refrigerator temperature, it gums up the grinder and it's a real chore to get a good hamburger.

Someday I hope to invest in equipment that will let us process larger amounts, but for not, I'm thankful to have even a small hand grinder.

Parting "Where's Riley?" shot with the promised links below.

Of course I had snoopervision. And a taste tester as well.


Home-Ground Chevon © February 2014 


Frugal in Derbyshire said...

When we kept goats we ate a lot of goat (kid) meat. We thought it tasted like lamb, but with less fat. In fact we often served it without saying it was goat and our guests assumed it was lamb. We ate an older goat once and were glad when it was finished !
Good tip for folks to mince meat when it is half frozen. it really does help doesn't it? Mind you the year we home butchered two steers with our ordinary kitchen equipment I completely burnt out our electric mincer !

Leigh said...

Gill, I had to chuckle at your comment about the older goat meat. We're kind of in that boat right now, although I've been told a good solution is sausage!

I've been thinking of investing in better, quicker equipment for larger amounts than a pound or two. After reading your comment, I think I'd better make sure it's pretty heavy duty!

Farmer Barb said...

The type of machines that hunters get have to account for the mysterious age of the wild game they are getting.

The last old rooster that I got had to simmer in the oven for three days. Any before that and it was like chewing gum.

Old anything takes a special kind of cooking, I guess. I am glad to know about the freezing, too. How do you prepare the meat to go into the grinder? Strips, chunks, or other?

Renee Nefe said...

when I was a kid, my father would take venison to the butcher to get it made into sausage (we didn't have a grinder and couldn't justify getting one with the few deer he brought home) but they had to add pork fat to the sausage because the venison was too lean. Dad always had it seasoned "extra-spicy" so you never knew what kind of meat it was.

and I know that if I were to do such a process, I would certainly have snoopervision. She wants to make sure there are no oopses.

Ed said...

We used to raise hogs on the farm and always had some old sows that had to be put down for various reasons. We ground up a lot of sausage or burger out of them and put the larger cuts for long periods of time in the crockpot to get through all the meat. A crockpot will darn near turn any tough cut of meat into something edible.

These days other than the occasional steak we grill in the summertime, the only red meat we consume is deer which we use just like we would beef products. It is a lot leaner and almost everyone we serve it too assumes it is beef. I think looks plays a huge part in what we taste. If it looks like beef burger when cooked we assume it is. If they see the deer burger in raw form, most will swear there is a taste difference.

DFW said...

Very helpful as usual. Thanks Leigh.

Mama Pea said...

We have the same hand grinder and have made some pretty good sausage with it!

We've made the "mistake" of telling people the meat served was goat and it always turns them off. If nothing is said, seems they are fine with it. We humans are strange animals, aren't we?

Cassandra said...

Your snoopervisor looks like he knows his job very well. :)

Leigh said...

Barb, we do old in the crock pot. The may still be chewy, but it isn't so tough as to be inedible. In fact, Dan likes chewy.

I just cut it into small chunks. Strips work too. It was mostly odds and ends anyway, so as long as they weren't too big, they went in. It does help to grind it two or three times actually.

Renee, a whole deer would be a lot to hand grind anyway! Good idea about the pork fat. We did make some sausage from this goat and it was pretty tasty I have to admit.

Ed, hurray for crock pots! They are miracle workers, aren't they?

Interesting about the venison everyone thought was beef. So much to be said for how the sense perceive something.

DFW, that's the beauty of the internet, we all learn from one another. :)

Mama Pea, people really do have a built in prejudice toward anything goat! The few times I've offered a taste of goat milk the "no thanks" was always accompanied by a wrinkled nose. Then they'd ask what it tasted like. Even when I said it was sweeter than cow milk they still weren't game for a taste.

Cassandra, fortunately he was the only one at the time. Riley is pretty good of remaining silent, but he'll stare you down until you yield. Katy will demand loudly and try to help herself. :)

Debby Riddle said...

some folks love it,and do so well. I am envious. We are still adjusting to it. I had wonderful success with the back strap, marinated.
I enjoyed the African recipe someone sent me, marinated in lemon juice, yogurt ,and rosemary, then slow cooked in the crock pot. I always marinate mine in milk or buttermilk, and sometimes a little coffee. It is grass fed and organic, so that is happy!

Sandy Livesay said...


There is nothing better than processing your own meat. Nice grinder (I have a similar one).
Using frozen meat is so much easier to grind for making sausage or ground meat.

Ngo Family Farm said...

I chuckled about serving goat to those unawares ;) I've tried so many times to convince some of my family members to try our goat milk (so sweet and creamy from our little Nigerian!) but they flat out refuse. Funny and frustrating, really. I even had one extended family member turn their nose up at our eggs, saying they are "too real" for their taste. My husband's side of the family, however, adores all our homegrown stuff - many of them grew up in Vietnam, where they grew and raised most everything they ate. Older hens and their tough meat are actually a prized food for them!

Debby, that African recipe sounds wonderful!

Laura said...

Chevon may be the 'legal' name for it, but if you live in the southwest, it's cabrito...

I love goat meat - it's very fine grained and very tasty. I did an avgolemeno marinade once - it was awesome!

I wonder about aging rabbit. I haven't ever aged my chickens or rabbits, did the turkeys that I boned out, but I'm not sure it really would have made a diff. I'd be interested in the difference. I'll have to try it and let you know!

Anonymous said...

John, the guy who has the goats in the pasture behind us, sells them for meat, mostly to the local Mexican population. I haven't tried it yet, but want to.


Cat Eye Cottage said...

If you think your meat grinder is small, you should see mine. LOL. I love to grind rabbit meat and add a slice of bacon in the grind. That mix makes a delicious burger! And, I use ground venison almost exclusively for anything that calls for ground beef.

Leigh said...

Debby, I would love to know your recipes. I'm thinking of trying a chevon curry soon.

Sandy, it's a great feeling!

Jaime, it's so sad it's funny, isn't it? Interesting about the older, tough hens!

Laura, I think the legal name is only important for folks trying to sell it. :) I definitely need to try more marinades. And I'm very curious about your aging experiments. Please do let me know!

Stephanie, you may not even know you're eating goat! The Hispanic community is a great market for goat meat. The Muslim community too.

Candace, great idea about the bacon!

Su Ba said...

Leigh, I was eyeing up an electric meat grinder this past Christmas, but ended up buying myself a small chop saw instead. But I'd still like to grind my own meat someday. Now that I've seen what you can do with a small hand grinder, I think that's the way I'll go. It's only for hubby and me, so it doesn't look all that difficult to make two burger patties. I'd really like to be able to make ground lamb occasionally. Thanks for showing me the way!

Leigh said...

Su Ba, for a small amount, the hand grinder would likely be preferable; easier to set up and easier to clean up! The other good reason to have a grinder is sausage! Most goat folks do that with bucks which don't sell as well as does.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Me again!
Seeing these comments re goat meat. More goat meat is eaten in the world than any other type. Try cooking a Tagine of goat meat in your slow cooker. It is a Moroccan style dish.
What an interesting discussion you have here on your blog Leigh

Leigh said...

Gill, I'd be in dire straits without my slow cooker. If we ever do manage to get off grid, I'm keeping it! LOL. I am learning how to use my wood cookstove as a slow cooker, however.

I wasn't aware of the Tagine. I looked the word up and was very interested. It's both a cooker and a recipe. Thanks!

For the interesting discussion, all credit goes to readers who took time to comment (yourself included :) . I think most of us will agree that we learn a lot from one another.

Debby Riddle said...

This is fun, especially on a rainy day:) Leigh ,The African one is simply, marinate the goat meat, I would say approximately 2Lbs , in the juice of one lemon, buttermilk or yogurt to cover and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary. I usually marinate and thaw overnight, but not much longer, as it takes the blood from the meat, and makes it a little gray. Slow cooking on low in the crock pot,makes is very tender. I was trying to imitate a friend' device , that maintains a 130 degree temperature for 24 hours. I used the lowest setting, even at that it was ready and tender at 12 hours. I will get you the backstrap marinade recipe shortly.

* Crystal * said...

Yummy!!!! We love goat meat here! Bucks not high enough quality to be sold as breeding animals are raised up for the freezer.... I keep them on milk for 6 months, then to the freezer they go.... Older animals we make sausage or jerky out of :)