I never thought I would have the desire or the opportunity to cook goat. I’m not opposed to eating it, but it also wouldn’t be the first thing I’d go for on a menu. I mean it’s so . . . goaty. Right? Gamey and tough is what I expected. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong on all accounts.
A recent visit to Belcampo Meats offered me the opportunity to try out a variety of new meats I never thought I’d have access to, including goat shoulder. Seeing it in the case, I knew I had to give it a go. First of all, it was adorable. I know that’s a weird thing to say about a piece of meat, but it was! It was so tiny and all wrapped up with string like a little present. I simply couldn’t resist it. And it seemed like the perfect thing for my next sous vide experiment.
I chose Whole Spice’s Zhug seasoning (a blend of chile, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt, cardamon, clove, and cilantro) since it seemed appropriately exotic for the goat, and I didn’t want to over complicate the matter. So I simply seasoned it all over, bagged it up, and put it on to cook. It was so small, I figured it would be done very quickly – like a pork tenderloin!
After 2 hours at 134ºF(57ºC), I took it out of the bath, seared it in a hot cast iron pan, and served it with asparagus and pine nut couscous. It was a beautiful color and “doneness,” but definitely needed more time to break down the connective tissues I’d somehow neglected to consider. Duh, it’s a shoulder. It works hard! So even though it was done enough to serve, and certainly tasty enough to make into pitas for lunch the following day, next time I would give it a solid 8 hours to help break down all of that collagen and further tenderize the meat.
If you’ve ever been hesitant to try goat, I highly encourage you to give it a go. The taste was much milder than I’d expected – milder even than many lamb dishes I’ve had. The meat was tender and flavorful without any sense of “goatiness.” Even cold, it’s delicious!
- Goat shoulder 2-4 lbs
- ½ teaspoon dried chile
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamon
- ⅛ teaspoon clove
- ⅛ teaspoon dried cilantro
- Preheat water bath to 134ºF(57ºC).
- Rub goat shoulder all over with spice mixture.
- Seal in bag and cook for 8-12 hours.
- Remove from bag, and pat dry.
- Sear on all sides.
- Serve with couscous and asparagus.
- Leftovers make great cold pitas the next day!