BBQ Bonanza 2011 - Goat Skewers with a Vinegary Herb Sauce

You're standing at your barbecue grill with a package of hot dogs and you're wondering "why don't I do something more original?" Or maybe you're thinking about where the beef in your burgers came from. Whether you use an indoor grill, a gas grill, a Weber with Kingsford charcoal or a hibachi with fancy Japanese super-coal...What you put on the grill, and how you cook it (brine? marinate? grill as is?) is as important as the tools you use.

BBQ Bonanza 2011

This year, our theme is Sustainability at the Grill. I'm going to be hosting a killer series of guest posts from award-winning cookbook authors, famous chefs, food writers and bloggers, BBQ experts and new converts to the cause, over the next three months. I can almost guarantee that you'll be inspired to expand your grilling horizons, each week, all summer. And there are giveaways, recipes, contests. So fire up that grill - or plug it in - and get ready to rock some amazing sustainable food.

We begin this year's Bonanza with a recipe from my new friends in sustainability, chiefs of the "Goaterie" Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. Mark and Bruce are the enviably successful authors of several cookbooks, including the Beard nominated Ham. They also write a great blog called Real Food Has Curves.

Photo credit: Denise Woodward, Chez Us

Why We Love Goat

Guest post Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough

Mark and I refer to our selves as the hardest working food writers no one’s ever heard of.  How can it be when we’re North America’s most published food team? Mark’s the writer and I’m the chef.  We’ve developed over 10,000 original recipes over the past 11 years, most of which have been published in one of our 19 cook books, some in our magazine work, and the rest posted on our food blog The blog is named after our book Real Food Has Curves – a 7-step plan to get off processed food - which was published last May.

This March we received our first James Beard Award nomination for HAM: An Obsession With The Hind Quarter and published its sequel, GOAT: Meat Milk Cheese. According to Bon Appétit Magazine, “If we’re all eating goat in 5 years it will be because of this book.” High praise indeed.

So why goat?  We’d both eaten it in the 70s—Mark in Cancun, while mine was served up by my grandmother’s Jamaican home health aide in Manhattan. Delicious? Yes. But our first tastes were strong, musky, and a bit gamey. Neither of us ran to the butcher looking for more anytime time soon.

Three decades passed before we had the chance to try goat again. We had driven up to Vermont’s Mad River Valley to buy some grass fed ham from North Hollow Farm. To our surprise, Julie and her husband Mike (owners of said farm) were keeping a few goats around with the grass fed cows and pigs.

“They’re going to be slaughtered for meat,” Julie said, “but I don’t know if I’m doing it right. Would you be willing to taste test and let me know what you think?”

This goat meat was nothing like the Caribbean meat we’d both had years earlier. This was sweet, mild, and tender— tasting like a cross between dark meat turkey and pork — we were hooked. No wonder most of the world loves this animal. Did we mention that it can be both kosher and halal? And it accounts for 70% of the red meat eaten on the planet. Goat is going to be the next big thing  - and with any luck, Mark and I will go along for the ride.


Goat Skewers with Vinegary Herb Sauce

This recipe appears in Goat: Meat, Milk, & Cheese. (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011)

You'll end up with four skewers. (One per person, maybe? double or triple the recipe at will.)

Some of the best chunks come from the goat leg, the meat sweeter and subtler. We’ve already considered that meat in the Goat and Quince Stew (page 52), but here it’s more elemental, less adorned, a real pleasure on its own. Bruce’s sauce here is sort of like chimichurri (page 111) but skewed more to the Middle East, less to South America.

  • 1/4 cup (55 g) minced fresh chives or the green bits of a scallion
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) stemmed, packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) stemmed, packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3  cup (165 ml) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) goat meat chunks from the leg, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 metal kebab skewers

1. Whir the chives, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, pepper, and salt in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. While the machine is running, pour the olive oil through the open feed tube in a slow dribble to make a light sauce.

-- No food processor? Mince the chives, cilantro, and parsley on a cutting board, then mash them with the other ingredients in a mortar with a pestle until pasty. Drip in the oil, grinding the mixture into a sauce as the oil is added in dribs and drabs. It won't be as smooth as that from a food processor, but it'll do in a pinch.

-- No food processor, no mortar, no pestle? (Are you sure you wanted to buy a goat cookbook?) You can make this sauce by rocking a knife through the herbs on a cutting board until they’re minced, almost pureed, then adding coarse-grained salt and wiping the side of the knife’s blade across the mess, using the grainy salt to further mash the herbs into a pulp. Scrape all this into a bowl, stir in the vinegar and pepper; then whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

2. Place half of this herb sauce in a large bowl (reserve the remainder in a separate bowl in the fridge for a garnish). Add the meat cubes, paprika, and cardamom. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

3. Thread the meat cubes onto the skewers and set them aside at room
temperature while you prepare the grill, either heating a gas grill to high heat (about 550 F [288 C]) or building a high-heat coal bed in a charcoal grill. If you don’t want to use the grill outside, heat a large, heavy grill pan over medium-high heat until smoking. As the grill is heating up, take the reserved sauce out of the fridge so it comes back to room temperature. You can even nuke it for a few seconds to take the chill off (but don’t get it too hot or the taste will become too pronounced, almost bitter).

4. Set the skewers directly over the heat (or in the grill pan). Grill for 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into a cube without touching the skewer registers 160 F (71 C). Serve the skewers with the reserved sauce on the side.


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BBQ BONANZA '11 is sponsored by:

Click on the logo to visit their site.


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Here's Ed at the Rowes Wharf "yurt" and that's their 1st place trophy from the Cape Cod BBQ event. That's right, first place. Stop by one of their locations to sip a free cup of tea, savor some fantastic BBQ and enjoy some old school social networking.


Giveaway Rules:

We'll be giving away three Silk Road BBQ Sauce Trios. One trio will be given away in each month: July, August, and September.

Each winner will receive: one bottle of Carolina sauce (for dressing pulled pork); one bottle of pomegranate chili sauce (versatile sweet/sour/spicy); and one bottle of jerk marinade (meat brine or stew base or ceviche base).


Here's what you have to do to win:

1. Add a comment on any of the BBQ Bonanza posts. I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner from that month's comments.

2. Add a post on your own blog and link back to one of the BBQ Bonanza posts (and let me know which), earn another shot.

3. Add an answer to this question: Which of the sites on the Silk Road BBQ website is NOT a current actual location of one of these yurts? -- Or this one -- in what category did Silk Road BBQ win first place? -- and gain another chance to win.



Bonus Round!

➜ Bon Appetit says goat may be the next big thing. Tell us your goat story on this post and you will also be entered to win a copy of Mark Scarbrough's and Bruce Weinstein's terrific book.