Skip onto Your Plate

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By Siobhán Floyd

 

No other animal symbolises Australia more than the Kangaroo. For those of you that have never come across one, yes, kangaroos do inhabit almost every part of the country, and it is not uncommon to encounter them in the wild – hopefully not because you’ve narrowly swerved to avoid one in your car. But one place where you might not be expecting to them to turn up is on your dinner plate.

Yes I said dinner plate! We are one of the only countries that doesn’t have a quam with eating our most recognisable mascot and coat of arms feature.

Kangaroo, as a meat source, has actually been legal in Australia since 1993, but Aboriginal people have been hunting roo’s since time began. Aside from the nutritional benefits, many people are starting to rave about its environmental benefits – there isn’t the methane by-product which farming cows produces.

It gets the thumbs up on a wide variety of nutritional points too, with the key highlights being:
• It has an energy (kilojoule) content that stacks up well against other lean red meats
• It is a terrific source of high-quality protein (HBV)
• It is low in fat, with less than 2% fat
• It contains low levels of ‘undesirable’ saturated fats
• It is a source of heart-friendly omega-3’s
• It contains CLA, which has antioxidant properties and may help reduce body fat in humans
• It is a particularly rich source of the minerals iron and zinc
• It is an important source of several B-group vitamins, namely riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12
• It has the Heart Foundation Tick of Approval

Let’s take a look in a little more detail at what this versatile, tasty and nutritious game meat has to offer.

As they say, the Aussie kangaroo is a lean, mean, fighting machine. These animals are super active and graze on natural foliage which produces a lean, high quality game meat. A 150g serve of roo fillet or steak typically provides 643 kilojoules (that’s 153 calories) compared with a beef fillet and lamb steak at 608 and 552 kilojoules respectively. It’s a fact – with less than 2% fat, roo meat is a champion lean meat. Even when stacked up against lean beef, trim lamb and lean, skinless chicken breast, roo meat trumps them all.

So now you know how good our skippy is, how can you expect to eat it in Australia?

1. Kanga Bangas

Probably one of my favourite food names, the kanga banga is simply a kangaroo sausage. You can get these pre-packaged at the shops on your way to a BBQ with friends. There’s really no fuss when preparing these guys; just pop it in a bun with some dead horse (tomato sauce), and you’re good to go.

2. Roo Steaks

In place of beef, roo steaks are tasty when marinated and cooked on the BBQ. But, you’ll need to definitely watch how long this one gets cooked; there is very little fat on this meat, and overcooking can leave it chewy, dry and not as juicy. Almost everyone I have talked to about kangaroo meat has stressed that it must be a medium-rare finish in order to enjoy.

3. Roo Pies

A stereotypical food, other than Vegemite of course, that defines the Australia people is the meat pie. Fill a meat pie with roo meat and it doesn’t get any more Australian than that (unless you’re knocking it back with an icy VB).
Alternatively you may see the humble roo pop up on a menu as: Skippy Burgers, Roo Tail Stew, Kangaroo Pizza or Kangaroo Jerky just to name a few.

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