Apparently kangaroo meat makes a mighty fine burger.
The typical image of a kangaroo happily hopping across the Australian outback is a little at odds with the idea of a kangaroo burger. However, according to butcher and trained chef Colin Walker of Askew’s Foods in Salmon Arm, which began stocking ground kangaroo recently, there are plenty of nutritional benefits from eating kangaroo in addition to the meat being quite tasty.
“The first question I get is ‘Well, what does it taste like?’” Walker says. “I compare it to a game meat. It’s similar to moose in that it’s very lean, it is 98 per cent lean – that is so lean, it is kind of crazy. It has some really good benefits to it as far as dietary things go. It has these fatty acids that are one of the highest known dietary sources of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and it has all kinds of good benefits to it.”
According to nutrition information from kangaroo meat supplier K-Roo, the meat is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins and minerals such as iron and zinc.
“I think with the diet they are having down there in Australia, it definitely has some things different than beef, especially feedlot beef which is all grain fed,” Walker says.
“It’s kind of like Canadian game animals; they are eating a wild diet, a lot of grasses and that part of it is very good considering people pay a premium for grass-fed beef. People are always looking for stuff that is lean, and this is very high in iron and very high in protein but low in fat so it has good things going for it there.”
Walker says initially only a small order was placed with the Australian supplier to see if the community would take to it, but the product piqued the curiosity of customers who returned with good reviews of their culinary experimentation. That prompted repeat orders.
“Right off the hop there it went well; we started selling it and had some interesting questions about it. It’s all been positive so far. We gave it a whirl and it has actually been going off the shelves pretty good here,” he says.
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As a trained chef who cooked in many European restaurants in the past, Walker notes that it didn’t seem odd to him when he first stumbled on the meat.
“I cheffed in Europe for over 15 years and that made me pretty open to different meats. Like we would cook ostrich and we used to have stuff like crocodile fillets at the hotels I worked in, so I am just kind of drawing on that experience,” he says.
As for his own opinion on kangaroo meat, Walker says kangaroo burgers were a hit with his family.
“The way I had it at home with the kids and the family is on a nice Sunday we just made big fat burgers and chucked them on the barbecue. If you can get yourself a pineapple, slice it and grill them on your barbecue and chuck them on top of it, and it just opens the flavour right up and it tastes pretty good.”