Kangaroo has been a grocery staple in Australia for many years and is also eaten in other countries such as Germany and France. Australia holds the monopoly on Kangaroo meat since that is where most of the species is found in the wild. Kangaroo meat can be found in grocery stores as steaks, fillets, sausage, and meatballs.
Kangaroo meat is known to be very lean compared to beef, more like that of pork or chicken. It is very gamey meat, with a bold, earthy flavor. It is best served with a hot pink center and needs to be slow-cooked at low heat to get the best flavor and texture. When cooked properly, it is tender like steak but it’s easy to overcook and end up with tough, dry meat.
The History of Kangaroo Meat
In 2018, archeologists discovered a cave with evidence of what looked like a family having Kangaroo barbeque thousands of years ago. There were campfire ash, tons of kangaroo bones, and ancient cooking tools and dishes for about 8-10 people. Clearly, we can’t set a date on just how long humans have been eating kangaroo, but it’s been a very very long time.
The commercial industry for Kangaroo meat began in Australia in 1959 and is now considered to be one of the most successful wild harvest operations in the world. Over 70 percent of the meat harvested in the country is exported, bringing in around $270 million a year, and creating thousands of jobs. Over 1.5 million Kangaroos are harvested commercially each year.
Kangaroos are not farmed, they roam free in the wild which is a much more sustainable form of harvesting than other industries like beef farming. Using modern technology, the population of Kangaroos is monitored by aerial drones and if it is deemed to be dwindling, harvesting is shut down until the population can repair itself. Kangaroos breed like rabbits and reach maturity in a year or two, so this does not take long.
In some parts of Southern Australia, Kangaroo wasn’t even legal for human consumption until 1980. This didn’t stop people though, and Kangaroo was a common ingredient in many Australian cookbooks dating back to the 1920s. Indigenous people came up with their own creative names for the meat, such as Kere aherre, malu, or kuka.
In 2005, the magazine called Food Companion International held a contest trying to find an official culinary name for Kangaroo meat. The hope is that seeing something else listed on a menu will help those more squeamish about eating such a “cute” animal overcome their objections. Much like a pig is called ham or pork, and cow meat is called beef. The winner of the contest was Professor Steven West, who penned the name australus. However, the Kangaroo Industry Association never made a move to adopt the name officially.
Different Types of Kangaroo Meat
Like other popular choices of protein such as cow, pig, sheep, or buffalo, Kangaroo meat can come in many forms. All of which, will have a bit different taste and texture to them. The brand “K-Roo” is popular for selling a wide variety of kangaroo meats, including mincemeat, burgers, meatballs, strip steak, and more. There are other parts of the kangaroo that can be used for cooking such as the knuckle, saddle bone, and shank bone.
Kangaroo steak is a cut from the upper legs of the Kangaroo and is usually very tender. There are many different ways you can cook a Kangaroo steak, including grilling, broiling, frying, and more. A popular way of serving is sliced into salads, rice, or vegetables. Though, many people prefer to just eat it straight up.
Allowing the steak to rest, both before and after cooking, can make for a much more tender and juicier piece of meat. If the steak is cooked right out of the fridge and can cause the outside to burn and the inside to not be quite cooked through. Giving yourself 10-15 minutes to let the steak come to room temperature before cooking makes a world of difference. Likewise, allow the cooked steak to rest for 5 or so minutes as well, to let the natural juices re-absorb into the meat.
Like any sausage, the cut of meat you get in Kangaroo sausage can vary depending on where you get it. It is thoroughly ground kangaroo mixed with spices, herbs, vegetables, and the like. In some parts of Australia, you can buy “Kanga Bangas” a popular slang term for prepackaged kangaroo sausage in casings. They’re most popularly grilled or added to a bake of some sort. It’s important to cook Kangaroo sausage all the way through.
Kangaroo Burgers and Meatballs
At a traditional Australian “Barbie” you will often see Kangaroo Burgers. They aren’t much different from beef burgers, really, except for the more earthy tones. Kangaroos are 100% grass-fed due to them being wild, and you can tell this from their meat. Kangaroo meatballs are very similar to burgers, depending on how they’re made they may have egg, breadcrumbs, or vegetables mixed in.
The tail of a kangaroo is a somewhat underlooked cut of meat, that is flavorsome and delicious. It can be grilled, braised, smoked, roasted, you name it. It’s a great cut for adding to stews and soups, as it is at its prime when slow-cooked. The tail contains more collagen than other cuts from the kangaroo. It has been compared to pigeon breast in terms of taste and texture.
Is Kangaroo Meat Good For You?
Kangaroo meat is one of the leanest meats on the market, due to its muscular build and the fact that they are strictly grass-fed. They are not farmed, so there are no artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, or anything else humans have thought up to inject into some of our processed meats these days.
Kangaroo meat is extremely high in protein and low in fat, and full of iron, zinc, and omega 3s. This meat is so nutritious that there is actually a small group of people who exclude any other meat except kangaroo meat in their diets. They are known as “kangatarians”.
Eating Kangaroo meat is good for the environment as well. Kangaroos produce much less methane than cows, which is an ongoing concern for dairy farmers. They also require significantly less water than other animals and are able to survive most droughts.
We’ve seen the nutritional value that Kangaroo meat offers, and this can also lead to health benefits. It’s great for building muscle and losing weight. When properly prepared, this animal can be a tasty meal that’s good for your health.
There are many people who hesitate in regards to eating kangaroos simply because they are appealing to the eye, and they generally feel bad. Many countries have made the trade of kangaroo meat illegal, including the US.
However, it’s important to remember that these animals would overpopulate by the millions if there was not some effort made to keep them under control. They can be a pest that will destroy farmlands and gardens if left unattended. The hunting of kangaroos must absolutely be kept in check, but it is necessary. Doing our part to make sure they are humanely killed and the meat is put to good use is the best way to make sure they are not killed in vain.