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.
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.)
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.