Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not Like Chicken

Why does everybody assume meats they haven't tried taste like chicken? By my recollection, here's what some of the less-common meats I've eaten taste like (some of these are based on only a couple of samples):
  • Ostrich: Beef
  • Venison: Gamier beef (my favorite meat)
  • Rabbit: Sort of like chicken, but really more like gamy turkey
  • Duck: Oily turkey
  • Goose: Beefier turkey
  • Goat: Lamb
  • Whale: Beef
  • Frog: Halfway between fish and chicken
  • Alligator: Consistency of maybe pork, with a lighter flavor
  • Buffalo: Beef
  • Ants: Crunchy lemon (the formic acid does it)
  • Squab: Yeah, squab tastes like chicken.
So there you have it: Squab tastes like chicken. I guess maybe pheasants do, too. What do you expect? Today on Chowhound I saw someone speculate that goat would taste like chicken. How could goat not taste like lamb? They're almost the same animal. I've been asked if whale meat (I was in Japan; I guess it was probably minke whale) tasted like chicken... how on earth could that be? I guess I don't have much experience eating small animals like squirrels or rats; asking if those tasted like chicken would be legitimate. Or even ostrich, since it's a bird. But seriously, a lot of the things people say taste like chicken --- like duck or rabbit --- really taste more like turkey. So come on folks, let's put this common misconception to bed.

10 Comments:

At Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 5:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger Victor said...

Goat is a poor man's lamb. Had it once. Once. Icky and stringy.

I've had Ostrichburgers at Fuddrucker's. Very, very good -- can hardly tell the difference.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 6:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Yeah, goat is like low-quality lamb.

 
At Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 8:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous doafy said...

now, my neighbor tony says that he's had really really good goat. better than lamb. but that was in Mexico, when someone had to cook all the goats because, as he says, "they'd all been killed by the chupacabras or something"

 
At Friday, September 1, 2006 at 9:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I suppose it may have something to do with the cooking. I think all of the goat I've had has been stewed. I don't think I've ever directly compared, say, lamb chops vs. goat chops.

Another question: why does nobody ever drink pig milk? Jen theorizes that it's because the pig sits around in the mud and shit, while cows (and goats) tend to stand up more.

 
At Friday, September 1, 2006 at 9:32:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Matthew B. said...

Horse meat is pretty good, if you get it from a decent restaurant. Tastes like roast beef. How much like roast beef I'm not exactly sure, since I've mostly eaten it raw.

I heard Tony Rayns talk about eating dog meat once. Said it tasted like lamb.

 
At Friday, September 1, 2006 at 10:21:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

So has anyone ever tried to be smart and ask you if the horse meat tasted like chicken?

I don't think I've ever eaten meat from a carnivorous mammal. No bear, seal, dog, etc. I wonder if that's got a different flavor.

On a trip to Seattle a couple years ago, my now-wife and I ate a whole bunch of salmon, including a sampler plate at one restaurant that featured three different varieties of salmon all cooked similarly. That was pretty cool; we got to taste the subtle differences between the different varieties.

I think it would be neat if some restaurant had a "meat tasting" where one could prepare similarly-prepared meats.

 
At Friday, September 1, 2006 at 10:51:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Matthew B. said...

I'm sure some of the pork you've had is from pigs reared partly on meat.

No one's ever asked me what horse tastes like -- but I have heard the "tastes like chicken" thing from Japanese people with respect to other weird meats, so it's not just an English-speaking-culture meme.

Besides horse, the only sashimi I've had from a warm-blooded animal is beef. I know people who've tried chicken sashimi and pork sashimi, which strike me as respectively unwise and suicidal.

 
At Friday, September 1, 2006 at 12:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Yeah, I guess they say there all sorts of unnatural stuff in farm animals' diets these days. Maybe instead of different animals, a place could have a meat-tasting featuring only beef made from cattle raised in different ways or with different diets. Or just different USDA grades--- how much can we tell the difference between prime, choice, etc.?

 
At Monday, September 4, 2006 at 9:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous arifa said...

another chowhound reader!!! yay! before becoming vegetarian, i had only tried beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, and fish. i was never very adventurous. eve nif i ever stopped being veg, i doubt i'd ever try rabbit because that would just be too weird for me what with pet bunnies and all.

i've got to say that indian-style tea made from buffalo milk is amazing. i highly recommend it if you can get your hands on some (and if you like indian-style tea).

 
At Monday, September 11, 2006 at 11:08:00 AM PDT, Anonymous clynne said...

I must disagree with you on a few:
* Duck: Gamy dark-meat turkey
* Goose: Beefier turkey
* Goat: really gamy (in the bad way, not the good flavorful way) beef
* Alligator: Pork-texture, kinda fishy flavor but not bad-fishy
* Ants: cayenne pepper! Although that might be what an ant bite tastes like.

I agree with you that goat's flavor is probably likely affected by the cooking technique but also I suspect the quality of goat available here in the USA is highly variable.

 

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