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Kid goat: the Ghanaian way

Kid goat: the Ghanaian way

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In Ghana, goat is very commonly eaten in a multitude of forms – grilled over coals as the beloved street food chichinga, or used to add depth to the country’s many different stews and soups.

In Ghana, goat is very commonly eaten in a multitude of forms – grilled over coals as the beloved street food chichinga, or used to add depth to the country’s many different stews and soups.

You don’t have to go too far to get goat in Ghana. It’s a shame that’s not the case in the UK, although there are an increasing number of places around London where you can get a decent goat meal, such as The Gold Coast Bar, Jason’s Little Kitchen supper club and Chalé! Let’s Eat, and the supply of quality goat meat is getting easier to come by.

Despite the widely held belief that goat is tough and chewy with an overpowering flavour (I think this is often true of poor-quality meat), goat can, in fact, be as versatile as lamb and beef, and kid goat in particular is super lean and easy to cook, as these recipes show.


Suya is a popular West African street food snack, known in Ghana as chichinga – it’s basically like a Ghanaian shish kebab. The gamey tenderness of diced kid goat is perfect with suya, and is the most common version I’ve come across in the capital, Accra. This recipe is super simple and tasty as hell. Whack it on the barbecue in summer, or enjoy it all year round from a griddle pan or from under your grill.

This delicious stew will put fire in your belly and warm you right through! It’s more commonly cooked with beef in Ghana, but the gamey quality of goat works amazingly well in it, too.

While at university, my friend Josie shared the secret of her Italian family’s slow-cooked steak ragù with mashed garlic broccoli with me, and I’ve never cooked ragù with minced meat since! This version uses a diced leg of kid goat – it’s a slow and low cook, but is so worth the wait.

Or if you’re after a bit of a British twist with goat, why not try Jamie’s mouthwateringly-good kid burger finished off with a dollop of minty yoghurt and red onion pickle?

To find out more about the sustainability and welfare issues surrounding the production of kid meat in the UK, and where to get the best quality, most delicious goat you can, check out this feature.

You'll Be Maaaaaaaad About Goat If You Follow This Chef's Recipe

You can't rush goat, says chef Kevin Onyona. To make the meat tender, you need to cook it a long time — but not too long.

As the host of the Goats and Soda blog, I wanted to learn a little bit more about goats.

At the top of my list: How do you cook goat meat?

You gotta break down that meat, and you got to give it love.

chef Kevin Onyona on cooking goat.

That's the question I put to Kevin Onyona, who cooks goat at the Swahili Village restaurant in Beltsville, Md. The Kenyan-born chef was also in charge of preparing the goat stew served up at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival earlier this summer, as part of the Kenya exhibits.

"Goat, it is easy to mess up," he told me. "It's a very tough meat if you don't get it right. You gotta break down that meat, and you got to give it love."

And you've got to take your time. "If you rush goat, just forget it," Onyona said.

So throwing a hunk of goat on a grill is not enough. For soft, succulent goat, Onyona bakes the meat after grilling it, to break down the sinewy muscle even further. He also adds salt, pepper and meat tenderizer.

That goat meat had better be swimming in water for a nice, long simmer, says Kevin Onyona. Spices and vegetables will be tossed in later. NPR hide caption

That goat meat had better be swimming in water for a nice, long simmer, says Kevin Onyona. Spices and vegetables will be tossed in later.

But at the Folklife Festival, Onyona was serving stewed goat. And for that, he devotes a couple of hours of cooking.

First, he boils chunks of goat meat for about an hour, with "a lot of water," he says. You don't want to keep adding water during the 2 1/2-hour cooking time, or that'll interfere with the seasoning of the meat. So fill that pot to the brim at the start. Onyona also puts chunks of goat bone in the mix, for added flavor. And garlic.

Should the pot be covered?

"Covered, uncovered, whatever!" he says.

After about half an hour, Onyona adds his seasonings: cumin, curry, cardamon, the Indian spice combo known as garam masala. "There's a very strong Indian presence in Kenya," he says, "and a lot of exchange in seasonings."

After another 30 minutes of boiling, he adds lots of chopped vegetables: onions, tomatoes and peppers of all colors.

He does not add salt. "All the seasonings have a little bit of sodium," he explains (which may not technically be true, but who am I to argue with a master of goat?).

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After boiling the stew for about 45 more minutes, he turns the heat down to a simmer. "You don't want to break the meat down too much," he explains.

At the very end of the marathon boil, he adds lots more spices: coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic, fennel seeds, cumin, cinnamon, paprika. "A little bit of everything," Onyona says. The last thing you add is cilantro, after you finish cooking, "for color and aroma."

The end result should be meat that is tender but not completely broken down. "You can chew it a little bit," he says.

The stew is served with the bones on the plate as well. If there are no bones, he says, Kenyans will not believe it's a goat dish. "They love to pick up the bone, suck on the marrow."

And how does the goat stew taste?

I had never eaten goat before the festival. But I dug in. The meat was rich, mouth-wateringly tender. And it had a subtle heat from the spices.

The goat almost melted in my mouth, yet I could definitely sink my teeth into it.

I shared my rave review with one of Onyona's fellow cooks at the festival, Victor. Victor got a look of rapture in his eyes and said, "That is goat, now, that is goat!"

Three steps to great barbecue

The cooking process breaks down easily into three sections.

The initial cooking period. From the moment you put your rubbed meat into the smoker, most of what you’re accomplishing during this period is taking on smoke flavour. That is, your rate of cooking is relatively constant for the first couple/few hours. But when you begin to get above 70C/160F:

The cooking slows down, and you enter “the stall”. This is the second, purgatorial portion of the cook where collagen begins to break down, but it’s neither raw nor done. The rate of cooking slows down during this part of the process because of evaporative cooling, the method by which the meat is giving off moisture from the internal cells to the surface in order to cool off (similar to your body sweating). This in turn slows the rate of the heat penetrating the meat. After a certain amount of time, though, the harder collagen tissue within (the bits that make tough meat tough) will have dehydrated enough in order to dissolve, and the meat will quickly resume a sharper rate of temperature incline, called “the jump.’” This is the point where many professionals will wrap their meat in butcher’s paper, which helps to retain moisture near the surface and insulates the meat from drying out during the final bit of cooking.

The jump. This is the most crucial of the three sections to keep an eye on, because you don’t want to overshoot your ideal cooking temperature (between 91-95C when the collagen has fully turned into tender, meat jelly). I like to pull my meat when it’s between 89-90C internally. You can place it into a small container, such as a thermobox or insulated cooler and the temperature will continue to rise and carry over into the temp zone of 91-95C, where you’ll get the moist and tender meat you’re aiming for.

Brad McDonald: ‘My final advice on barbecue? Don’t overdo it. And save room for dessert!’ Photograph: Elena Heatherwick/The Guardian

How to Cook Jollof Rice the Ghanaian Way

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Jollof (jol-ôf) rice is a popular dish that is enjoyed by Ghanaians, Nigerians, and other West Africans. Ghana is one of the several coastal countries of West Africa. Jollof has many variations the dish can be made with meat, vegetables, or tofu. The uniquely colored rice is often enjoyed at dinnertime, but is also eaten at various parties and weddings. The origins of this dish stem from the Wolof people, an ethnic group found in the Senegambian region (Senegal and Gambia). Although most people know this dish as jollof, another name is benachin, which means “one pot” in the Wolof language. No matter the name, people from all over West Africa and -- now by emigration -- the world revel in this dish, whether it be at parties or in the comfort of their own homes.

Goat Curry

This Nepali dish is popular in South Asia, the Caribbean and many countries in Western Africa. Goat curry typically is served with rice, a side of lentils and vegetables. Most Nepali households where goat curry is served prefer to use meat that has bones in it, because the bones lend a distinct flavor.

In general, goat meat’s taste and cooking time vary depending on the age of the animal. To make sure you have an evenly cooked curry, ask the butcher to give you meat from same goat. Leg, neck and rib meat are good for making curry.

Below, I have two separate recipes for making this curry — one using a pressure cooker and the other using a normal pot.

First, place the goat meat in a large mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons mustard oil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and about a third of the garlic. Massage to coat the meat evenly. Cover and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Directions (using a pressure cooker)

Heat the mustard oil in a pressure cooker (uncovered) over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the fenugreek seed, star anise, cinnamon stick and dried chili peppers cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the spices are fragrant and the fenugreek seed turns dark brown. Stir in the onions cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until they begin to look caramelized.

Add the goat, stirring to coat. Cook uncovered, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, during which time the meat will begin to brown. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt, the turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry powder and garlic, stirring so the spices are evenly distributed. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the roasted tomatoes, green chili peppers, water and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a blender puree until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the pressure cooker, stirring to incorporate. Seal/lock the pressure cooker lid. Cook for about 25 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the pot sit for 5 minutes, then carefully unlock and open the lid. Search carefully and discard the star anise, cinnamon stick and dried chili peppers.

Transfer the goat and its sauce to a warm serving bowl or platter. Garnish with the cilantro and the chili peppers, if using serve right away.

Directions (using a pot or a Dutch oven)

Preheat the broiler to high (or 400-degree oven), and fit a rack 6 to 8 inches from the broiler. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place the tomatoes, chopped red onions, ginger, green chiles, and half of the remaining garlic on the baking sheet and broil until the tomatoes are soft and starting to blacken, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly, then puree in a blender with the water. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons mustard oil in a large pot or dutch oven (at least 5-quart volume) over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the fenugreek, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and dried chiles. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant and the bay leaves and fenugreek are starting to brown, about 6 minutes.

Add the goat and stir. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked on the outside and starting to brown slightly, about 25 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt along with the turmeric, asafetida, cumin, coriander, curry powder, and the remaining smashed garlic and stir. Cook, uncovered, until the goat is lightly browned and the spices are fragrant, about 15 minutes more.

Add the tomato-vegetable puree to the pot and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the goat is very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer the goat curry to a warm serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro to serve.


Recipe By


Mix together goat meat, salt, black pepper, 4 Tbsp curry powder, 1 large onion sliced, garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper. Please in the fridge overnight (or at least 5 hours) to marinate.

1. Remove the sliced onions and scotch bonnet pepper from the bowl of marinated goat meat and set aside.
2. Heat cooking oil in large saucepan on High. Place goat meat in pan and brown to seal in juices.
3. Once the meat is browned add thyme and 2 cups of boiling water cover, lower heat to Medium-Low and simmer for about 1 hour
4. Chop 1 medium onion and add to pot along with the sliced onion and Scotch bonnet pepper that was set aside earlier
5. Add 2 cups of boiling water and bring to a boil
5. Taste and remove Scotch bonnet pepper based on your taste add more curry powder to taste
6. Add potatoes and tomato ketchup simmer on low heat for 1/2 hour, or until the meat is falling off the bone

Serve with white rice and a green salad

Video Lesson: Gold Members click below to watch us make this recipe step by step.

How to Cook a Goat Shoulder

The shoulder of an animal is generally a slow cooking or braising cut, and goat shoulder is no exception. The best way to cook a goat shoulder is a long slow roast, with aromatic spices. Most often, seasonings are either middle eastern or Caribbean, as those cultures have a long history of cook goat meat to perfection.

My friends at Green Mountain Girls Farm gifted us a whole goat some time ago and we’ve been slowly working through it, one glorious cut of goat meat at a time. I served the roasted goat leg to my skeptical parents and quickly won them over. My tiny baby buddy demolished a whole rack of goat ribs on his 2nd birthday, so thus far this goat meat is both grandparent and toddler approved. Now onto the next cut: goat shoulder.

In general, goat meat is cooked long and slow, and shoulders are often cooked longer and lower than other cuts. When I worked in a BBQ restaurant after college, the pork shoulders would be roasted all day at 225 for perfectly tender pulled pork. With that in mind, I assumed goat shoulder would be an all-day affair. Not quite…

I did a good bit of research and every single recipe I could find had the exact same instructions. Dry rub the meat, and then roast the goat shoulder at 325 degrees F (160ish C) for 4 hours. Simple enough, so that’s what I did.

The vast majority of the recipes I can find are made with middle eastern seasoning, and almost all of the include preserved lemons. For the most part, people associate lemon flavors with chicken, not darker meats…but preserved lemons are different. They’ve been salt-cured, and the harsh sour notes are removed and only a fragrant lemon base full of umami remains.

Making your own preserved lemons is easy, and it only takes salt, lemons and about 3 weeks of patience. They’re also readily available in grocery stores or online. Homemade or store bought, it doesn’t matter. Remove the inner pulp of the lemon fruit and then finely mince the cured rind. For a whole goat shoulder, you’ll want about 2 tablespoons of minced preserved lemon rind. Skip it if you want, or use a bit of lemon zest mixed in with the rest of the dry rub.

For the goat leg, I used a very simple dry rub made from 2 teaspoons of each salt, sugar, garlic powder and onion powder. That same dry rub would work well on a goat shoulder too, but since I’m taking this in a middle eastern direction, I decided to use a Lebanese spice mix. Baharat or Lebanese 7 spice mix is made from things common on most spice shelves, though you can also buy it prepared.

Oddly every recipe for baharat seems to have a slightly different mix of 7 spices, and in slightly different proportions. It’s clearly not an exact recipe. For the purposes of this recipe, I’m going to use simple proportions that result in roughly the 2 tablespoons required to rub the goat shoulder. Mix together these ground spices:

  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 pinch cloves

Once you’ve made your spice mix…Take 2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon, 2 tablespoons Baharat, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp garlic powder and mix it together thoroughly to form a paste. Add a little preserved lemon liquid so it’s more spreadable. If you’re not using preserved lemon, skip the paste step and just mix the dry ingredients together to use as a dry rub.

Either way, spread the dry rub or the spice paste mixture all over the outside of the goat shoulder. At this point, if you have time, refrigerate the goat shoulder for 12-24 hours in this flavorful spice rub. Don’t skimp here, it takes a while for the flavors to sink into the meat and you want to give it enough time so that every bite has the benefit of the spice rub.

Place the shoulder on a rack above a roasting pan, with 1-2 cups of water below to keep the drippings from burning. Roast the goat shoulder for about 4 hours at 325 until the meat is very tender and it pulls apart easily with a fork.

Where to Buy Goat Meat

Goat meat is becoming much more popular in the US these days, as people return to more traditional ways of cooking. Just a decade ago goat meat could only be purchased at ethnic markets, or by buying a whole live goat.

The rise in backyard dairy goats has also increased the availability of goat meat. Those cute little homestead dairy goats have to be bred every year of they’ll stop producing milk, and each year they give birth to up to 4 goat kids. Like it or not, some of those goats have to end up on the table, no animal can sustain that reproductive rate year after year.

Given the surplus of goat kids, we used to buy a pair of goat kids each year for about $20. These days I’m chasing toddler kids instead of human kids, and I was happy to be gifted a crate of goat meat from my friends at Green Mountain Girls Farm. They raise dual-purpose goats for a meat and dairy operation. They’re just one of at least a dozen small farms in Vermont that sell goat meat commercially.

If you don’t want to raise goats yourself, seek out a farmer selling chevon, which is the technical name for goat meat (like pork is for pig meat).

Why You Should Eat Goat Meat

Thirty years ago, few Americans were familiar with goat cheese, but today the fresh creamy cheese is everywhere. Now sustainable-farming advocates hope we&aposll also fall in love with goat meat. Shirley Richardson, a small-scale Vermont farmer, is one of those advocates. She saw that the goat dairy industry generates a significant number of kids (baby goats) each year to keep their mothers producing milk. Dairy farms have no need for males and keep only some females, resulting in a lot of extra young goats. Explains Richardson, "Farmers welcomed help figuring out a way to put these surplus animals to productive use in the food chain."

Richardson co-founded Vermont Chevon and has been working to develop a sustainable and humane model for raising dairy goats for the meat market. While goat meat is popular worldwide, in America it has typically been limited to smaller ethnic markets and restaurants (Indian, Caribbean, Mexican). But that&aposs changing as some upscale restaurants, including Chicago&aposs Girl & the Goat, as well as Whole Foods Market and specialty butchers are adding it to their mix. Adam Danforth, butcher and James Beard Award-winning author, notes it&aposs a challenge for retailers to carry goat meat: "There&aposs slow progress, but I see it happening."

Another important task, Richardson says, is "educating chefs and consumers about this healthy and flavorful meat." Goat meat has about the same amount of protein as chicken breast and more iron than beef. "Goat is a good example of a meat that is ignored, based on ignorance," says Danforth. "It&aposs delicious. Sweet, mild and not gamy at all. People are pleasantly surprised when they try goat-everyone from foodie laymen to really experienced chefs."

Try Goat at Home

Try our recipe for Indian-spiced Goat Curry or check out Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, a cookbook with recipes for Jamaican jerk goat, kebabs and more.

Guyanese Pepperpot Recipe

The epitome of Guyanese cuisine, pepperpot is a beautiful, aromatic meat stew dish cooked using cassareep. Unmistakably Caribbean in flavour and smell, pepperpot is a symbolic national dish of Guyana.


  • 4 lbs of meat beef and goat
  • 1 lb pig trotters optional
  • 1 cup cassareep
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 stalks stalks basil
  • 2 pieces orange peel
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 small onions
  • vegetable oil
  • thick white bread


  1. Wash and drain the meat including the pig trotters.
  2. In a large cooking pot, heat the vegetable oil and add in the beef and goat meat, and the pig trotters. Cook until browned.
  3. Chop and add in the garlic, chili pepper and onions. Stir to let them cook.
  4. Add in the cassareep, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, brown sugar, salt, and thyme.
  5. Finally, add in the water to cover all the ingredients and stir well. Let it come to a boil.
  6. Once the pot is boiling you will need to skim any scum from the top of the pot and then reduce the heat to low.
  7. Cover the pot and leave to cook for 3 hours, checking on it to skim any excess scum.
  8. After 3 hours, the broth will have reduced to a thicker, rich, aromatic sauce. Stir to check you are happy with the consistency and cook longer if required.
  9. Serve up 6 portions leaving any leftovers to be reheated in true Guyanese fashion. Cut up some thick white bread and serve on the side.
  10. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:


Serving Size:

Bottle Feeding 101

When at all possible it’s better for the kids to be left nursing from their mom. Sometimes however this isn’t an option. I usually try to work with a doe and newborn for at least 24hrs before giving up and bottle feeding the kid(s) completely. With a newborn it’s best if you can allow the kid to nurse some colostrum from it’s mom for the first 24-48 hours. If this isn’t an option, then a powdered or gel form of colostrum is available at most farm co-op stores or you can order some from Jeffers Livestock or one of the other supply companies online. Obviously it would be best to have some of this on hand before the kids arrive.

What to Feed

There are two main options, either a commercial powdered goat milk replacer or make your own using a cow’s milk based recipe that you mix up yourself (recipe below).

I recommend that all people new to bottle feeding use the powdered milk replacer. I personally find that it’s easier to use, there are less steps (and thus less chance of making a mistake), plus it’s quite a bit cheaper in the long run. There are many brands to choose from online, but be sure you purchase one labeled for “goats” if at all possible. Some companies make a multi-species milk replacer for horses, cattle, goats, & sheep, but these are all different species with quite a variety of needs nutritionally. If a goat specific milk replacer isn’t available in your area then you may want to try the goat milk replacer recipe below.

1 gallon whole milk (homogenized)
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup buttermilk
Take the gallon of milk, and pour out about 1/3 and set it aside
Pour in the 1 can of evaporated milk and the 1 cup of buttermilk into the gallon then pour to the remaining milk that you set aside until you reach the top. Mix gently each time before making up a bottle.

I’m not sure who originally created this bottle feeding recipe, but it has been used by many goat breeders for way longer than I have been around. The kids seem to grow well on it, though I still prefer to use the powdered formula due to cost.

What Type of Bottle to Use

It really isn’t a big deal what type of bottle or nipple is used as long as the kid is able to nurse from it. Many breeders swear by using the Pritchard Teat nipple, while others prefer the thicker lamb nipples. Both of these can be used on a 16oz or 20oz soda or water bottle. Over the years I’ve found that regular baby bottles work just as well and the kids seem to be more willing to take these nipples than the larger varieties. I typically buy the cheap ones from the dollar store.