Kangaroo meat is processed for human consumption from any breed of free-range kangaroo. Private landowners can rear freerange kangaroo herds on their property and hunt then according to their requirements. According to Australian rules, all commercial kangaroo meat is produced only from free-ranging wild animals that live wild on private land or on land owned by private owners. This process was introduced to ensure that harvesting of wild animals could be done to keep their numbers under control. There are at present over 35-50 million kangaroos in Australia and commercial hunters are allowed to cull 5.5 million to 7 million kangaroos per year from this wild herd.
History of Kangaroo Meat
Kangaroo meat was a prime food source for local indigenous Australian tribes. However, the meat was limited in availability and most Australians preferred to consume chicken, beef and other meat sources. The meat was legalized for human consumption in 1980 and this resulted in an easy availability of the meat. By the year 2008, Australian consumption of the meat increased to 14.5% per year.
Culinary Uses of the Kangaroo Meat
Kangaroo meat was commonly used in local aboriginal cuisine. The meat was chopped up for use in roasts, soups, gravies, sausages and other dishes. In Australia, Kangatarianism is very common. This is a diet variant where locals exclude all varieties of meat in their diet except kangaroo.
Popular Kangaroo Meat Recipes
- Kangaroo and Mash is a very typical Australian barbeque dish that is prepared. Fillets or steaks of kangaroo are roasted. The steaks are served with a mash made from sweet potatoes, potatoes, parsnips and butter.
- Pepper Kangaroo is also prepared with fillets of the meat. The meat is immersed in a sauce made from soy, garlic, pepper, and an Oxo cube. The meat is simmered in a onion, tomato and wine based gravy.
Cuisines Using Kangaroo Meat
Kangaroo meat was legalized for export in 1959. To suit a booming world demand, the meat was exported to specialty markets all over the world. Almost seventy percent of the meat is exported to European market, particularly Germany and France. It is also available in England in specialty food stores. Local Australian supermarkets stock many different cut-like fillets, steaks, minced meat and kanga banga or kangaroo sausages.
Preferable Cooking Methods
Kangaroo meat is very tender and it cooks very fast. The meat tastes very similar to venison but older cuts of meat can be quite gamey in taste. Locals prefer to cook prime cuts of meat to medium-rare to medium. It is recommended that the meat be soaked in oil for one minute prior to cooking. Prolonged cooking times tend to turn the meat dry, tough and stringy but this cooking process is indicated for lesser cuts of meat.
Kangaroo Meat Nutritive Value
Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat with a fat content of about 2%. The meat has a very high content of Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA which has been associated with a range of beneficial health effects. According to researchers, high levels of CLA can lower cancer risks, diabetes risks and flaring obesity levels.
In 2005, Food Companion International magazine ran a competition asking readers to come up with a name for kangaroo meat. This was done to encourage consumer participation. Kangaroo meat was not very popular as diners associated the meat with the popular cartoon kangaroo Skippy. To abolish this perception, consumers were encouraged to participate and more than 2700 entries were received. In December 2005, the winning entry was announced. The term “australus” was selected as the term for kangaroo meat. However, this term has not been accepted by the Kangaroo Industry Association in an official capacity.