Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
After butchering and aging the young Boer/Nigerian wether that my son had raised, he was anxious to try it out. Also anxious was our neighbor, Bill, who had never smoked goat meat before. We scheduled a day last week during some pleasant weather for him to fire up his home-made barrel smoker and thaw out the meat. Bill asked Caleb how he wanted to prepare the meat and gave him several “rub” options. Caleb opted for the simple preparation of rubbing it with olive oil, salt and pepper. The carcass was small and weighed nearly 20 pounds, bone and all. We took it to Bill in two large pieces; the front portion and the back portion. He cut the legs at the joints so they could easily fit into a roasting pan.
Bill smoked the goat at low temps of 200 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately three hours, then placed all the meat in two roasting pans with water and covered it tightly with foil to keep the chevron warm and moist. Chevron is very lean and healthy, a combination that can lead to a chewy, stringy meat texture if you are not careful. Cooking is best if kept slow, low and very moist. Stewing the meat for a long duration would also help turn it into tender bites.
The meat was “fall-off-the-bone” delicious. Very tender and tasty. Caleb was very excited to eat the meat he had raised; I think he felt some sense of accomplishment in doing so. It was a lean, dark meat that tasted quite mild and not at all gamey. The tenderloin, legs and neck meat were very tasty.
We also enjoyed eating BBQ sandwiches made with the smoked meat. I cut the meat into small pieces across the grain and heated it on the range with a little water and BBQ sauce. Heat and enjoy. The flavor was wonderful. A homemade BBQ sauce is really great for this.
After a few days I made a barley soup using the leftovers. On my woodstove I heated my cast iron dutch oven. When it was hot I added a few pieces of smoked hog jowl and sliced onions. After the onions were tender I added 2 quarts of water, 1 cup of pearled barley, a Tablespoon of boullion (any flavor will work), and leftover bones and meat pieces of the smoked goat. It is always good to remember the nutrition and flavor that is gained when bones are allowed to simmer for stock. This was heated to a simmer and cooked for nearly three hours (add more water if necessary – the barley really soaks it up!). Salt and pepper as needed, remove bones and enjoy!
Since this was our first experience with goat meat, I can't offer advice on how best to fatten up or prepare a wether for butcher. We were happy with the flavor and texture of this meat. He was 10 months old and only fed a small amount of grain each day, he ate lots of fescue hay and various grasses, weeds and leaves in the 2-acre pasture that the goats share.
There are many online resources about boer or other meat goats, as well as recipes for chevron.
Photo Credit: Our neighbor Bill with his barrel smoker (top), my son enjoying his chevron (right)