Cabrito is meat from very young, milk fed goats under 50 pounds. The meat is tender, juicy, and very lean and tasty at this age. Today's cabrito is prepared in many ways following diverse recipes with
many different added ingredients. However, the authentic cooking practices are al horno (baked), asado (barbecued), or guisado (stewed) with traditional comino (Cumin), ajo
(Garlic), and Chile pepper spices.
Chevon may be a goat from 50 to 75 pounds and 6 to 9 months of age with almost the entire animal being expected to serve the table. Traditional Mexican
methods of cooking meat are often designed for a cut of meat from an animal that has matured or has done a bit of walking around. In many cases, market goats today are older and larger than true
Traditionally, on the day of the pachanga (lively party), several cabritos are slaughtered in the very early morning hours. All parts are saved and meat is cut up according to method of
preparation - large pieces for asado, small bite-size pieces for guisado. Of course, there are many other dishes, and goat meat is prepared in many different ways with each family adding
its own ingredients to a recipe. Women are often the cooks, but men also have their own style and prepare some delicious dishes.
Palatability and Cholesterol
Panel taste tests rate cabrito and young chevon Spanish goats as being much more acceptable in overall satisfaction than slightly more mature pork, lamb and beef carcasses. "Satisfaction" is
a combined impression of flavor, juiciness and tenderness. Goat meat that is from an animal over 75 pounds or a year old is best cut up into one inch or smaller cubes and cooked in stew or stir fry.
Taste tests also indicate that goat meat is unique from other species and often preferred by those with a discerning palate.
Goat meat is exceptionally lean and low in fat, making it an ideal choice for health conscious consumers. Unlike sheep, the subcutaneous fat cover is
characteristically thin on the goat. Fat cover on the loin of cross-bred farm goats has been measured at 2.3mm compared to 5.4 to 5.9mm in the sheep of similar age and sex. Leaner than other red
meats, recent tests have suggested that goat meat has 5mg of cholesterol per 100gm serving while the lowest figures recorded for other meats were 44mg for beef, 52mg for lamb and 66mg for pork.
Meat Care and Preparation
A cabrito is usually selected, slaughtered and prepared the same day. Retail markets usually sell chevon (older goats). These are sold as entire carcasses, quarters or smaller cuts as customers
specify. Since there is no standardized procedure for cutting a goat carcass, many butchers follow the traditional procedure for cutting up lamb carcasses. When using in stews, small portions of bone
are usually included in the pot and allowed to cook down for an especially delicious flavor.
Goat Meat Cookery
Cabrito will lose moisture and can toughen quickly due to low fat content if it is exposed to high, dry cooking temperatures. Therefore two basic rules are:
1. Cook it slowly (low temperature)
2. Cook it with moisture
You are Goat Enthusiast #