Goat. Ever considered adding it to your meal plan?
Research into how consumers respond to goatmeat cooked in various ways by cut could be used to drive domestic consumption of the product, according to one meat scientist.
Jarrod Lees from the University of New England last year won the $22,000 Meat & Livestock Australia Award in the Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
His winnings went towards investigating whether goat meat can be differentiated by cuts in the same way as beef and lamb.
Over the past year, Dr Lees' work has included sensory testing of grilled and slow cooked goatmeat cuts, with one more taste testing session involving roast meat scheduled for the end of March.
Each session involves 60 consumers sampling various cuts cooked in the different styles.
The study used 12 nine-month-old Boer goat wethers.
Dr Lees said while it was a small-scale study, it had shown that consumers were generally quite satisfied with the product, with an analysis of the grill data showing preferences for rumps and racks, followed by the loins and knuckles.
"One of our issues we're finding is the goats have mixed results in terms of cold shortening where during processing they have been chilled down too quickly, making things tough, with the loin cuts particularly susceptible," he said.
"If you look at how they managed the sheepmeat eating quality program with Meat Standards Australia, a big part of it was just about managing the processing factors that affect eating quality.
"Across all the cuts that we fed them as a grill, the average tenderness score was 51.3 out of 100 and their juiciness scores were 54.6 out of 100.
"Interesting the flavour score was 60 and given that we fed it to a group of consumers where maybe 10 out of the 60 had tried goatmeat before, that's really promising."
The goatmeat used in the study measured 3.3 to 3.4 per cent intramuscular fat and had an average GR measurement of 14.5mm when scoring the fat.
Dr Lees said high quality farmed goat meat was able to command a premium when sold domestically, although most of Australia's goat production involved harvested or managed wild populations bound for export markets.
"We really need to work in conjunction before we start pushing domestic consumption," he said.
"If all of a sudden a lot of people bought goat meat, we might end up with a lot of low quality goat dumped on the market.
"We need to work in conjunction where we are promoting goatmeat as an alternative red meat but at the same time trying to make sure there is a more consistent quality of goats coming through.
Dr Lees said making sure people know how to cook goatmeat properly would also be important for the future of the product.
"If someone gets some chops and decide to just grill them on the barbecue, if it's a good goat that will work but if it's not they will get this poor eating experience that will taint goat for them for quite a while," he said.
"They normally say it's up to eight weeks with a bad eating experience but with a new protein you might never try that again."
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