Kangaroo and other exotic meat
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Crocodile

Medical research has proven that crocodiles are precious from head to tail because their flesh, bones, scales and internal organs contain proteins and amino acids, high quality unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and a variety of elements that are essential to the human body. Crocodile meat is not only delicious, but also invigorates the body, enriches the blood, strengthens bones and muscles and removes the effects of moisture and other factors that cause disease. It is a great remedy to treat cough, asthma, rheumatism and diabetes.

The flavor of alligator meat is quite unusual for our everyday chicken-beef-pork palate. Perhaps we could say that this meat is the middle ground between fish and chicken. When cooking, we should avoid cooking crocodile meat for long periods of time. Since, apart from the tail, it is a very clean meat with a very low content in fat, you would dry up its juice and flavor. An essential rule to cook Australian meats to perfection is to let them rest a bit after being cooked.

Crocodile and buffalo should be kept covered and in a warm place after cooking for at least 5 minutes before eating. This will help the animal muscles relax and the difference will be quite noticeable on the palate.

Buffalo

Buffalos are ruminants native to Asia from where they were brought to Africa and Europe and then the Americas to countries like the United States of America, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

As a food source, buffalo meat stands out from others in its class because on one hand, a liter of its milk has twice the solids when compared to cow's milk or goat milk and on the other, their meat is classified as premium quality.

Buffalo meat has a rich red meat similar to the bull’s, making it possible to cook it in many different ways, with excellent results on the barbecue, grilled, fried or roasted. And because it has a stronger flavor than veal or beef, you should marinate it a while before so that it acquires taste and texture.

A tip to get better results with the marinade is to avoid the use of acids such as lemon juice, white wine or port wine, as these ingredients dry off the meat and its natural juices. Instead, use olive oil, a few drops of sesame oil, herbs, ginger, garlic or lemon grass sticks. If you want to use sherry or other wines, and balsamic vinegar, add them only 5 minutes before cooking the meat, or better yet, add them when you're cooking the sauce for this dish.

Crocodile and buffalo meats are excellent quality products, they’re capable to enhance the most demanding restaurant menus and hotels, but unfortunately they are difficult to find, making them too expensive and therefore not that popular.

Emu

The Emu is a bird belonging to the group of the ratites. In this group we also find the ostrich, rheas, cassowaries, and others. They are birds that have adapted to terrestrial life using their well-developed and strong legs, as the only means of motion.

Emu meat is the choice for those looking after their health and who want a diet containing red meat low in fat and cholesterol. The emu has a very lean red meat (97% lean), which is similar to beef in taste and appearance. It has more iron, protein, vitamins A, C and B12 than beef and it is lower in cholesterol than chicken.

The top-notch chefs praise for its ability to absorb a variety of spices and seasonings when preparing gourmet dishes.

The vast majority of restaurants and 5 star hotels in Australia serve emu meat. The meat was so well received by the passengers of the airline Qantas that they decided to serve the meat in First Class during the whole 1994 year, when the menu is usually changed every 6 months.

The tenderness of the meat was compared in laboratories with prime beef steak.

Ostrich

The Ostrich is the largest bird that has survived to date. These birds have adapted to terrestrial life, their legs are well developed and strong.

His flesh and feathers have always been highly sought after, and therefore hunted to extermination in some places. So much so that in the nineteenth century farms were established in many parts of the world, South Africa and Australia becoming the leading breeders.

Ostrich meat has the same texture, flavor and color than beef: it is red, with a flavor so similar that it is difficult for the consumer to distinguish any difference and the texture is soft like beef, but is lower in cholesterol, fat and calories. Ostrich meat and beef have the same protein content, but the former has half the calories, 25% less cholesterol and only one eighth of the amount of fat.

Kangaroo

Kangaroo meat has excellent nutritional qualities, always contains very low amounts of fat, is high in protein and has a high content of iron and zinc. For all people who pay special attention to their diet, kangaroo provides an important source of low-fat meat and a very high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Some recent studies with persons of Aboriginal, European and Australian origins have shown that people who consume kangaroo meat more often (Aboriginal) have a lower risk of cardiovascular problems while preventing metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes and high percentages of cholesterol in the blood.

Research conducted by Professor Kerin O'Dea and colleagues, shows that 40% of the fat in kangaroo meat is long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid molecules which are believed to have an important role in reducing blood clots, improving blood supply and therefore reducing the dreaded heart attacks and thrombosis. Kangaroo meat has a fine texture and its muscle fibers are soft. The best way to prepare it is rare or medium rare to preserve its juices during and after cooking. Kangaroo meat’s taste is very similar to beef only slightly stronger.

The Exotic Meat Cookbook: From Antelope to Zebra
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