If you thought beer was the only consumable thing celebrated in October, we’ve got news for you: The month has also been dubbed Goatober by the fine people at Heritage Foods, and Ditmas Park restaurant The Farm on Adderley (1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, 718-287-3101) is ready to celebrate.
Goat meat doesn’t appeal to you? The Farm’s Chef Tom Kearney suggests rethinking that stance. “A lot of people think that goat is really gamey and strong in flavor, but it’s really like a mild version of lamb,” he says.
Kearney’s affection for goat puts him in a small minority of American eaters. Goat is the most widely consumed meat on the planet, but here in the good old U.S. of A., it’s not a menu regular. And home cooks looking to experiment might have a hard time finding a butcher to sell it to them, too–even specialty markets hardly ever carry it.
But while goat meat is a rare find for American diners, goat cheese is anything but. And this is why, according to Heritage Foods USA, we should be eating more of the meat, too. It works like this: Goat cheese is made from goat milk. Goats only make their milk when they have babies. So after the babies have been born, if they are male and therefore won’t make any milk themselves one day, they are, basically, worse than useless, and they are a financial burden on the goat farmer. Baby goats are “in a weird way … a bi-product of a farm” raising goats for their milk, according to Heritage. Creating a market for goat meat, therefore, means that farmers can raise these poor, unwanted little babes–instead of killing them at birth–with the knowledge that they’ll eventually be able to profit off of them. All of this explains the confusing “No Goat Left Behind” motto: Eat goats to save them.
As it turns out, though, Kearney didn’t even know about Goatober when he first had the idea for the Get My Goat party happening this Sunday night at his restaurant. “I had no agenda with an awareness campaign; I just wanted to have a cool event and celebrate local goat,” Kearney says. But as the chef of a restaurant committed to bringing “thoughtfully produced food and ingredients to [its] community,” the partnership with Slow Foods USA and Heritage Foods USA to get eight whole goats, bring them to the restaurant to be butchered, and throw a party in the animals’ honor made sense. Goat is, after all, also a seasonal food: Male goats born in the spring are slaughtered in the fall.
Sunday night’s partygoers won’t be the only ones that are new to the world of goat. Until three weeks ago, Kearney hadn’t ever cooked with it either. Already, though, he has plans for just about every last bit: The ribs, saddle, loin, and fatty belly all have a mild flavor, making those cuts great for slow braising and roasting. Goatober revelers will enjoy Kearney’s goat tacos–made with the slow-cooked pulled goat, harissa, pickled carrot, and shaved kohlrabi–as well as his spicy goat bowl of ground goat sausage, fire-roasted heirloom squash, and sweet and hot peppers.
But the bits and pieces that Adderley’s in-house butcher Israel Chavez slices off will have a use, too, even if they’re not served on Sunday. Kearney will use these pieces to make stocks, stews, and potentially even soap. (And, uh, if you know of any soap makers looking for some goat fat, send them Kearney’s way.)
Don’t eat meat but your friends do? The Get My Goat party will also feature plenty of cheese, craft beer, and live music. The party is on Sunday, October 27th from 5:30 to 10:30 PM. Tickets are $30 and available at getmygoat.brownpapertickets.com.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 24, 2013