Health and Wellness: Beef vs. Chevon, the Other Red Meat

Grilled Beefsteak
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Beef vs. Chevon, the Other Red Meat

In the United States, beef is the most widely consumed red meat. Ask an average American to define red meat, and you’ll probably hear a slogan about beef being what’s for dinner. Hamburgers, pot roasts, and super-sized steaks are an ingrained part of the culture in the USA. Beef tastes great, it’s widely available, and most home cooks know how to prepare it with ease.

Marinated Goat Meat
Marinated Goat Meat By David Blaine from Spokane, USA – DSC00744.JPG, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6449148

As much as beef is widely adored and devoured, consumers of it should be aware that it is not the healthiest option for them, the economy, or the planet. Many Americans might be surprised to learn that 75% of the world relies not on cows for sustenance, but on goats. Both species are dual-purpose, meaning they can produce meat and dairy products. Both have hides that make beautiful leather. And both eat vegetation. So, what’s the difference? Read on for a quick compare and contrast between beef and chevon.

1. Human Health

When comparing any two meats, the levels of protein, fat, calories, and iron may be the criteria discussed. If you make conscious choices to eat the healthiest food available, these are important factors.

Three ounces of beef provides:

  • Protein: 23g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 6.8g
  • Calories: 245
  • Iron: 2g

Three ounces of chevon provides:

  • Protein: 23g
    Fat: 2.58g
    Saturated fat: 0.79g
    Calories: 122
    Iron: 3.2g

Based on these criteria alone, chevon is a healthier red meat than beef, because it supplies the same amount of protein in half the calories, a negligible amount of fat, and more iron.

Grilled Beefsteak
Grilled Beefsteak

2. The Green in Your Wallet

In the United States, where the love of goat meat hasn’t taken off yet, the price per pound can be notably higher than beef when purchased through a specialty shop or online. However, if you live in or near a rural area, it may be possible to find an inexpensive source.  Try searching the web for a small goat farm that sells meat by the whole or half animal. This can be a great way to fill your freezer with healthy meat and save money too.

3. The Green of the Planet

Perhaps the greatest difference between beef and chevon lies in the environmental impact each has on the earth. To produce one pound of cooked beef, a steer must consume 27 pounds of feed and an average of 1,799 US gallons of water. The water requirement alone can make raising cattle unpractical in areas that are experiencing a drought.

Conversely, goats are able to convert low-quality browse, or brush, into meat without costing the farmer anything other than the cost of the land lease. The amount of water to produce a pound of chevon, at 127 US gallons, is drastically less than that of beef.

Taste Test

As a consumer, you may be concerned with the economy and ethical best practices, but as a foodie your priorities may linger on your taste buds. Which begs the question, “What does Chevon taste like, and will my family eat it?” Good question.

It turns out that goat meat tastes surprisingly like high-quality grass-fed beef, except for a noticeable lack of marbling due to its low-fat content. Some skeptics worry that Chevon will have a gamey taste similar to venison, but that isn’t usually the case. Goats which are allowed to browse on sweet, tender plants and are harvested at a young age have a nice, mild flavor.

A tajine of goat meat
A tajine of goat meat

Versatile in Recipes

Chevon adapts well to virtually every cuisine. From Indian to Mexican, and everything in between, the mild nature of goat meat readily absorbs flavors from tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices. On a busy weeknight, simmer stew chunks in curry sauce, or make a batch of taco filling. Try marinating strips in a vinaigrette, and cook them on skewers. Served with brown rice and vegetables, they make a tasty, memorable meal. Check out the many meat recipes by hamptoncreek, and simply substitute chevon.

Preparing goat meat is a bit different than beef because it doesn’t have very much fat. If you’re planning on making goat burgers, you may need to mix in some beaten eggs as a binder. Chevon roasts need to be braised or cooked in a crock pot in order to prevent the meat from drying out. Cuts such as chops and steaks can be grilled or broiled successfully.

If you’ve never tried Chevon but enjoy tasting new foods, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. As a red meat, it is a healthful, affordable, and environmentally-friendly alternative to beef.

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