Mystery Meat: It’s Crunchier than Buffalo

Here’s a new game for you — guess the meat! The boy and I have this thing going where we’re trying to eat our way through all the animals of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it seems sometimes because we’re pretty willing to try anything we can find on offer at the butcher’s stand. We both come from culinarily adventurous families, so I guess we sort of spur each other on. So we’re going to share!

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This is a red meat, obviously. I rarely go beyond medium rare on my steaks, as you can see from what happened when I cut into it. We found this in our local grocer’s freezer. The only previous time I saw it available was at the Long Beach seaside farmer’s market in Cali a couple years ago. Back then, I asked the man selling it what the main difference between this meat and anything beef-ish was. His reply was “It’s crunchier than buffalo.” Now, if that’s not an intriguing answer, I don’t know what is.

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Prepared fast and easy, on the pan with olive oil, pepper and salt. I seared it over high heat to seal in the juices before heating it up the rest of the way. You can see that it’s very red — even more red when cooked than beef. So very high in protein. It’s quite low in fat and cholesterol — lower than beef, most beef alternatives, and even turkey and chicken.

Okay, here’s one last hint: It walks on two legs.

Give up? Go on…

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Ostrich! I found it tasty and very fulfilling as a red meat. It is milder than game meats (because it’s farmed) and more forgiving in cooking than some other extremely low fat reds. I’m a fan. The boy still prefers buffalo, because it has more of that beefy flavor. Neither of us found it particularly crunchy at all, so I’m just going to have to assume that the market dude was talking about how it had no fat marbling compared to beef.

Considering the many, many ostrich farms that dot Southern California, it’s surprising I haven’t tried it more often than I have. It was just never really in the supermarkets that often, probably because the bird products were being exported. Finally, a bird that doesn’t taste like chicken.

2 Comments:

  1. I haven’t tried ostrich yet, though I’ve seen it on several restaurant menus. I have tried buffalo (and moose), and liked it. I nearly tried turtle chili in New Orleans in 1996, but decided against it.

    • I’m not sure if I ever saw ostrich on menus when I was in Cali, and we dined out pretty frequently and across a variety of places. I’m sure I would have ordered it out of curiosity if it was there. We quite like buffalo and I like venison of all sorts as well. Haven’t come across turtle, though I suspect it would be very similar to alligator. In which case, it tastes, disappointingly, like chicken.

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