There might be some of you out there who can’t imagine eating a kangaroo because of something called the “cute factor.” It’s true that most advertisements promoting tourism Down Under feature kangaroos so cuddly-looking that the last thing on your mind is throwing one on the barbie. Most people just want to catch a glimpse of a kangaroo hopping around in its natural habitat. The odds of this are pretty good; kangaroos are year-round, prolific breeders. In fact, there are so many kangaroos hopping around in Australia that commercial harvesting of the species is necessary to keep the ecosystem in balance. Given these circumstances it makes sense to eat the meat rather than letting it go to waste – luckily, it’s tastier than you might imagine.
Rich and slightly sweet with only a hint of gaminess, high in protein, zinc and iron and always free range (there is no farming of kangaroos in Australia) kangaroo meat is becoming more and more popular within Australia and beyond. Although eating kangaroo may be new to many people, it is nothing out of the ordinary for Australia’s Indigenous peoples, who have hunted kangaroos for thousands of years.
Primary cuts of kangaroo are the loin, fillet and rump. Like most game meat, kangaroo is low in fat and tastes best when cooked to medium rare over high heat. The meat is a deep red color and it retains some of this redness even when cooked past medium rare, so it can be a little tricky to gauge when it’s done. It’s helpful to have a meat thermometer to take the guesswork out of cooking game meat like kangaroo to perfection.
To spice up the flavor of kangaroo we’ve rubbed it with a simple mixture of salt and curry powder. You can also play around with other spices in your kitchen, as the relatively mild flavor of the meat can be enhanced by just about any blend. Contrasting the richness of the kangaroo loin is a side of cauliflower flavored with coconut and spiked with lime juice and green onions. Forget the steamer, this cauliflower is sassy.
Kangaroo exported to countries outside of Australia is usually vacuum-sealed and sold frozen. Talk to your local butcher about bringing some in for you, or search for a butcher that regularly carries wild game.
Approx. 4-6 servings
1 1/2 – 2 pounds of kangaroo loin (if frozen, defrost the day before in the refrigerator and set out 1/2 hour before cooking)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (you can run coconut flakes in the food processor to shred it)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 head of cauliflower, grated or finely chopped
Juice of one lime
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Sea salt to taste
Mix together 3 tablespoons of olive oil plus salt and curry powder. Rub all over the outside of the kangaroo loins.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add kangaroo loin and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until meat is medium rare (130-135 degrees F). Kangaroo can also be finished in an oven preheated to 400 degrees, or skip the stove altogether and grill the loins.
Let meat rest 5-10 minutes then slice and sprinkle sea salt on top.
To make cauliflower, warm 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the shredded coconut. Continue to sauté until the coconut is nicely browned.
Add the coconut milk and cauliflower and mix well. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower reaches desired texture.
Add the lime juice and green onions. Mix well then add sea salt to taste.