Turns out my brother, a recent carnivorous convert (he was a pescetarian/vegetarian for the last 15 years until I made him eat organic, grass-fed rack of veal at Christmas dinner, but that's a whole other story), was coming to visit in mid-Feb.
Also turns out that my friend Max's birthday was at that time and he was postponing his annual birthday pig roast because he and his lovely wife Davina were just returning from Brazil. Long, confusing story short, we decided to merge the 3 coinciding events and make a whole lot of goat and have a whole lot of people here to eat it.
I hear it's not easy to find goat. Where did you start looking, and what did you wind up with?
I started at Golden Gate Meat in the Ferry Building. I spoke with Dean, the butcher, about my goat needs, and he contacted his meat guy and then we spoke on the phone a few times. But in February, goat is not that easy to obtain unless you want an entire goat (you can purchase fresh local goat starting in about June). And even though Dean willingly offered to cut it up and cryovac the pieces, I didn't exactly know what I would do with 35 lbs of goat meat. Party favors anyone? I checked a few other places, but I really wanted to find a free-range, organic goat that had a happy life on a farm.
Anyway, I ended up going online and found this fantastic ranch in Colorado called Fox Fire Farms. Obviously I would have preferred to support local ranchers, but that was just not an option. And besides, they rocked. I called and spoke with the owners who told me they had two 3-lb goat legs they could send me. They arrived a week later packed in dry ice along with a pound of lamb stew meat and ground lamb. Definitely a small rancher that I would continue to support.
What did the legs look like uncooked?
Deeply red, meaty, sinewy.
More sinewy than lamb? Like goat:lamb as Guy Pearce:Vince Vaughn?
Nice analogy. But if Guy was the goat and Vince was the lamb, I think I'd have to change my answer to who I would share my bed with. I'd definitely go with the goat on that one.
Tell us about the recipe you used.
I found a recipe online, after a lot of back and forth about how we were going to make it, we finally decided upon Mexican barbacoa style. Of course, when it came down to it, I couldn't follow the recipe because, even thought I've never prepared goat before, I of course thought I could do it better. Anyway, my thoroughly revised recipe is below.
How did you serve up the goat?
After we shredded it, we tossed it back in the juices from the marinade, then laid it out along with fresh corn tortillas, homemade pickled red onions, queso fresco, salsas, and thick crema. Best damn goat tacos I've ever had.
The goat cooked for four hours, right? Surely something funny must have happened during those four hours? Any good goat jokes?
We made the chile paste the night before and rubbed it all over the goat legs, then let it sit overnight. I woke up quite early the next morning (around 7am) and slid that goat in the oven, so the only thing that really happened was me making coffee. I think my dog curled up next to the oven in anticipation.
So did you give him any, or is he still a goat virgin?
Oh, he had his way with the goat.
Did anyone get drunk waiting for their goat?
I would say the drinking started around 2pm with the pulling of the goat. I believe I counted 5 bottles of cachaca which we were using to make caipirinhas, an ode to Max and Davina's recent trip to So-Am.
You're being avoidant again, but I'll let it go...wouldn't want it to get out that BAB bloggers were a bunch of lushes. So how many other goat virgins were in attendance?
There were actually quite a few. We took a show of hands just before serving and there were probably at least 15 out of about 30 people. It was quite a party.
So, did it taste like chicken?
No, actually it tasted like really rich pork. It wasn't hoofy at all like I expected. But we also served pulled chile-roasted chicken and our friend Tony made exquisite lamb carnitas with a mint salsa. Oh mama. The funny thing was that by the end of the night, the goat and lamb were nearly gone (we managed to save just enough goat to make goat huevos rancheros the following morning) but there was a ton of chicken left. Enough for me to made a big batch of yummy chicken enchiladas.
Is 'hoofy' a common gastronomic term or one you made up? It sounds like a term one would use when getting ready to break up with someone. Like "Gee, this guy is making me so hoofy, I can't wait to be done with it!"
Sounds more like a reason to break up with someone, like "Ew, he gave me something really hoofy." Um, wait, what are we talking about? Oh yes, goat meat. I'm not sure, I think that goat was described to me that way, but I'm not sure where I picked up the "hoofiness."
Tell us about your phobia of never having enough food. Where do you think that comes from? Have you discussed it with your therapist?
I just have an inner need to feed people and to me, the worst thing is to have a party and not have enough food, so I invariably overdo it. The morning of the goat party I decided I didn't have enough food so we bought two chickens, rubbed them with the remaining chile paste and roasted them, then pulled the meat. We also bought another 100-pack bag of tortillas (from La Finca, which make the BEST corn tortillas in the bay area in my opinion).
Any good comments from your guests about the goat?
I don't remember, I was too tipsy from all the goat and caiprinhas.
About 6 guijillo chiles
10-12 allspice berries
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Two 3-lb legs of goat
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a teakettle of water to a boil. In a cast iron pan over medium heat, toast the chiles on each side until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, place in a heatproof bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain the chiles, de-stem and seed them, then add to a blender.
Meanwhile, grind the allspice, cumin, and oregano. Add to the blender along with the thyme, onion, garlic, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Season the goat all over with plenty of salt and pepper.
Put into a roasting pan, and rub the chile paste all over the goat. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
(Note: we only ended up using about half of the paste, and reserved the other half to marinade something else, like a chicken. It would also probably be great on lamb.)
Preheat the oven to 300F. Cook the goat for about 4-1/2 to 5 hours, turning once about halfway through, until very tender and falling off the bone. Pour off the juices into a bowl or glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. Shred the meat. Pour the juices back over the meat and toss to combine.
Serve with corn tortillas, pickled onions, and crema.