Roo mince

A while back I tried kangaroo sausages (“kanga bangas”). Can’t say I really liked them.

But in the past week, I’ve tried kangaroo mince, in two recipes: spag bol, and chilli.

Perhaps it’s because the taste is partially hidden amongst a mass of tomato and other ingredients, but both these were hits — little difference in taste from the usual beef, and the kids and myself gobbled them up eagerly.

Why would you switch?

  • Greenpeace Researcher Dr Mark Diesendorf claims that kangaroo is better for the environment: roos require less land-clearing than cattle, they consume less water, and produce less farts methane gas
  • It’s healthier. Roo mince contains just 1.3% fat, about a third the amount of fat in lean beef
  • It’s cheaper. Coles online lists lean beef at $15.50 per kilogram, whereas kangaroo is $7.29 per kilogram

So I’m a convert. I’ll buy roo mince in future.

Maybe the next test is to try roo burgers.

But I’ll stick to beef for snags. (The Peppercorn lean beef sausages I recently found in Safeway seem pretty tasty, and less unhealthy than most.)

UPDATE 5/8/2009: Greenpeace have been in touch to say that the Dr Mark Diesendorf report quoted in the media did not reflect Greenpeace policy, and: “Greenpeace doesn’t advocate eating kangaroo meat and we don’t have a position on whether eating kangaroo meat is good for the environment.”

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15 thoughts on “Roo mince

  1. The trouble with the kangaroo sausages I tried was that they had too little fat in them. Sausages need plenty of fat otherwise they’re just not right.

  2. Philip’s right – As you have pointed out roo meat is v low fat. To improve the eating quality of low-fat meats, you can apply the following cooking techniques:

    – Cook v quickly over high heat, and don’t over cook – good for steak, not so good for mince. It’s generally a good idea to make sure anything made from mince meat is well done, for food safety reasons (smaller pieces = larger surface area = more risk of contamination and microbial growth).

    - Increase fat content by adding a little chopped bacon, butter or oil – you could make your own sausages this way (don’t need casing, just shape into sausage shapes. Addition of other ingredients, herbs, spices, grated veg etc you can adjust flavour to suit.

    - Slow cook over low heat for long time in liquid (eg spag bog, chilli or casserole)

    Bon appetite!

  3. When I told people that I would be moving to Australia they joked about eating kangaroo meat. I thought that this was funny and that my fellow Americans were ignorant about Australia. I told them that Australia was a civilized, modern, first world country and not just a sandy hot desert country with strange and dangerous creatures.

    I was quite surprised and amused to actually find kangaroo meat on menus and in the supermarket and really thought it funny that Australians would actually eat their national animal. I have tried roo meat a few times but I doubt I will buy it myself.

    I was also surprised to see fresh refrigerated pet food such as “dog rolls” sold in the meat case in the supermarket. I have never seen anything like this in the USA. Our pet food is either canned or dry. My friend traveling with me on my second trip here and I argued about wether the “dog roll” needed to be cooked first or was served raw. Ground beef used for hamburgers in the US sometimes comes in a roll like this.

  4. Well, not true actually – the most environmentally and economically cheap meat, is simply to not have any. Fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains with the odd bit of tofu or textured vegetable protein (mock meats) is actually remarkably cheaper than eating another animal. Especially when you consider:

    An area the size of ten football ovals (10 hectares) can produce enough;

    meat to feed 2 people.
    maise to feed 10 people.
    grain to feed 24 people.
    soya to feed 61 people.
    If you take 7kg of vegetable protein and feed it to a cow you end up with just 1kg of meat protein at the end.

    38% of the world´s grain is fed to farmed animals.

    The growing of animals for meat in Australia uses twice the water of rice production here annually. Dairy production uses even more water again while grain production uses a mere fraction of the amount of water.

    Much of the water involved in the meat industry ends up seriously polluted and needs treatment. Abattoir waste water and piggery effluent is some of the most highly polluted water in the world requiring extensive treatment before release or reuse.

    Livestock produce up to 85 million tonnes of the total 4-600 million tonnes of methane produced every year. Methane is a greenhouse gas and is 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

    From http://www.brightside.org.au/asp/content.asp?articleID=431 here.

    Try taking the switch for thirty days. Meat’s kind of like junk food really (well, considering it IS most junk food), you stay off it for a short period of time and eat a balance diet? You’ll never want to go near it again.

    Just remember, that every single veg*n in the world once said:
    I could never give up meat.

    Just a thought.

  5. Daniel, Kanga Bangas are no good, but you *really* have to try the Kangaroo steaks! Soo good, great flavour (totally unlike the banags) and lean as lean can be :)

    Love the blog btw.

  6. Nice bit of awareness raising, Daniel. Our family is going to buy some Roo mince and try it today!

    And thanks Aileen – great info on our meat consumption impacts. I must try harder to eat less/go veggie.

  7. I used to shoot plenty of roos on the farm, growing up.
    Never really thought about eating roo meat until I went to Thailand – go figure.
    It’s good eatn’.
    As we head into a depression(possible), roo will be a prized source of meat.

  8. I agree about the lack of fat in kangaroo making sub-par sausages and I fear the same thing will create a problem in making your own hamburgers or rissoles. I would suggest adding some kind of fat or fatty meat to them so they’re not so dry and strongly gamey. Perhaps chopped bacon, with the fatty bits, added to the mince would work?
    I reckon the Thai beef salad I made from Stephanie Alexander’s Orange Bible, using kangaroo fillet instead of beef is one of the best things I made over summer. I didn’t tell anyone of the switcheroo and they loved it, although they did pick up fairly quickly that it wasn’t beef. It *looked* like beef and I thought there were enough strong Thai flavours it had been marinated in to cover any gaminess, but they picked up on the different texture – softer

  9. I’ve made a few pots of Roo Chili and it works a treat, even with the strong spices of the chili though the smell of the roo comes through when it’s sitting in the pot, I don’t notice it though when I’m eating it.
    I think when it comes down to bang for your buck for protien roo is very good value, and the environment would benefit if it bacame more main stream.

  10. While it’s true that native species have a lower impact on the environment compared to sheep and cattle, culling Kangaroos is inherently inhumane. It’s impossible to set up slaughter houses in the same way as cattle and sheep because roos can’t be farmed in the same way – fences either fail to keep them in or cause horrible injuries when the mob takes fright – which they do at the drop of a hat.

    The only commercial alternative is to cull them the way we do now – with shooters in the forest. There’s no guarantee of an immediate clean kill, and when females are shot, the joeys have to also be killed – roos don’t do surrogacy. Given the attricious stories I’ve heard about stuff ups in slaughter houses leading to unecessary suffering and pain, the same and worse must happen in the field.

    For environmentally conscious meat eaters it is a dilemma, which I only personally solved for myself by deciding to become vegetarian.

  11. Shoulda known this thread would lead to rants from bloody vegos :-)

    There’s a reason we have pointy teeth and it is to EAT MEAT

    yum….

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