Last Call: Turns out kangaroo is tasty

Kangaroo steak
Kangaroo steak
Photo: christian_sutheja (iStock)
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There were plenty of memorable beers at last week’s Great American Beer Festival, but there was also one very memorable bite: kangaroo sausage. At the Paired event—a separately ticketed food and beer pairing event within GABF— I stepped up to the booth manned by chef Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan in Melbourne, Australia. He was dishing up kangaroo sausage.

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Illustration for article titled Last Call: Turns out kangaroo is tasty
Photo: Kate Bernot

Wilkinson was busy, but I couldn’t resist asking him a litany of questions: What kind of sausage is this? Chipolata, a short sausage with a coarse, spiced filling. All kangaroo? No, with pork mixed in because kangaroo is too lean. Where does he procure kangaroo? From a wild game hunter, who can legally shoot them and then sell the meat. Which part of the kangaroo is most delicious? He points to the rump and loin. (By this point I could sense the line growing restless behind me.)

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I let Wilkinson get back to plating sausages and take a bite of mine. It’s wild, in a familiar way, reminding me a bit of elk. The wattleseed component is a smart addition, adding a warm, nutty flavor that makes the whole dish even richer. Until that bite, antelope and caribou had been the most exotic meats I’d eaten. Now, I’m ready to jump the next time I see kangaroo on a menu.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

aurorafirestorm
AuroraFirestorm (Alcoraiden)

True facts: every so often I have “exotic meat” parties, where I get a whole bunch of non-staple meats and cook them up so people can try them. I get whatever I can. Yak, elk, kangaroo, camel, various kinds of snake, alligator (uncommon here in the Northeast), ostrich, whatever I can get my hands on. It’s so fun.

What I’ve learned so far is that snake is really amazing, but python in particular is tough as shoe leather, and you have to cook it low and slow for ETERNITY. Alligator is divine and tastes like a rich chicken-fish. It’s a great light meat. Just about every red meat tastes the same IMO, including ostrich, maybe I don’t have good receptors or something, but honestly they’re all some variant on beef. Almost all of them are richer than beef though. I think it’s because American beef is shitty grain-fed boring stuff.

I have yet to try bear. I really want to try bear.