goat butchery 101

Last night I went to a goat butchery workshop at Café Rouge in Berkeley. Butchery? Goat? Huh, what? Slaughtering an animal is something I have a hard time thinking about, much less doing myself (after catching and eating a trout on a camping trip one time, I found myself unexpectedly morose and in tears.) Yet I realize what a huge hypocrisy this is since I am not a vegetarian. So in an effort to be a more responsible omnivore (and also just because of my far-reaching interests in food and agriculture) I’ve been trying to become more informed about animal husbandry, meat production etc. Hence the workshop.

The evening started with an overview of goat breeds, raising and breeding, and humane animal protocol by Jeanne McCormack and Al Medvitz of Montezuma Hills Lamb and Goat who sell their meat to Café Rouge. Next the Café Rouge butchers, Scott Brennan (pictured above) and Ben Broadus demonstrated the art of
butchery. Except for some of the sawing, it wasn’t any more gruesome than my experience deboning the capon at Christmas.

After the carcass was butchered, Scott and Ben (along with several volunteers) prepared a variety of goat meat dishes for us all to sample. The first dish was a goat tartare which was shockingly delicious. I was prepared for a strong, gamey taste but was surprised by how light and sweet it was. Jeanne and Al explained that this was the result of the breeding, raising and age of the goat. Next were Kefta (Middle Eastern meatballs), again incredibly flavorful.

One of the unique goat products that Café Rouge’s meat market sells is a dry goat salami invented by Scott Brennan that he calls “Goat-eroni.” He demonstrated the making of these and also talked about the curing process. (Which is something I’ve been avidly studying so I was happy to hear more tips!)

Finally we were all treated to grilled goat chops and stuffed goat roast (made from the shoulder cut). The chops were the highlight of the night for me. If I had been served these without knowing what I was eating I would have been puzzled. They looked like lamb chops but the taste was far more subtle and well-rounded. I have always enjoyed eating birria but this was goat taken to another level. I have to say I’ll be back to the Café Rouge meat market soon to pick up some goat meat for cooking at home.

Until then, here are some recipes from the evening, all courtesy of Café Rouge’s Executive chef and owner Marsha McBride and Chef Rick DeBeaord.

Goat Tartare

1 lb lean goat meat (leg or loin)
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallions
1 Tbsp finely chopped mint
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp capers
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup small dice of celery
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of one orange
salt to taste

Finely mince goat meat by hand with a sharp knife. Mix with all ingredients. Let sit for 15 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve within two hours of making.


1 lb goat-belly and shoulder
1 lb beef
1 1/2 Tbsp toasted coriander
1 1/2 Tbsp toasted cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup chopped chard or kale
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp esplette pepper
1 Tbsp salt

Season meat with all spices and marinate overnight. Grind through a 3/16 inch die. (They also sell ground goat at the Cafe Rouge meat market.) Add chopped greens and form into 3 ounce balls or around a bamboo skewer (they used rosemary springs last night). Grill or saute.

Grilled Goat Chops

6 4-oz loin or rack goat chops
2 cups fresh orange juice and zest
2 cups honey
2 cups dry sherry
1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
sel vert
2 cups goat milk

Place orange juice and honey in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid caramelizes slightly. Add sherry and continue cooking until it forms a light syrup. Cool. Add herbs and goat milk. Preseason chops with salt and pepper or sel vert. Grill over charcoal or wood, brushing with marinade.

3 thoughts on “goat butchery 101”

  1. not a pretty sight for these vegetarian eyes at 3:45 in the morning, but sounds like an exciting workshop, nonetheless!

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