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Australians told to eat more kangaroo as population hits double that of humans (standard.co.uk)
52 points by tomcam 97 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments

I've been living out here in Australia for about a year and a half now. It really is a delicious meat, though it's so lean that your options for how to prepare it are pretty slim. I've found that mince is the easiest to work with by far. Kangaroo tacos are really delicious. Burgers with it are decent too. It's very close to beef in taste, just a slight bit bloodier tasting.

i tried kangaroo (steak, medium rare) when i visited australia and it was a very lean meat. it was good, but tacos or burgers definitely sound like the way to go. i also felt very guilty eating it because they are very cute animals (at least as a tourist, the locals talked about them being pests and wanting to shoot them).

It's gamey, which means a couple of things:

1) It holds up against marinades very well, which also help to retain some moisture when cooked. Marinade cubes overnight then cook on skewers, for example. Ditto steaks, probably.

2) It goes really well in curries and stews where the flavour of the spices/sauce overpowers weaker meats. Think recipes where you'd use beef or venison.

I like roo and I should probably eat more of it than I do and substitute it for beef sometimes. I think primarily in fluid-based slow-cooker meals where the leanness doesn't necessarily cause it to dry out as it's got fluids to keep it tender.

It's still a bit game-y for me. What else do you put in the burgers?

If its gamey it means you are wayyyy over cooking it! It literally goes off a cliff after medium rare so stick to that max :)

Agreed. As per my other post on here, I usually like cooking thick fillets of kangaroo meat. After marinating it, I like to sear the outside in a hot pan so the outside is almost charred, but the inside is still quite rare. Cooked this way, then sliced into 1cm thick segments and draped over a nice salad is one of the family favourites.

Gamey'ness is usually bad meat. People say the same about Lamb. It tastes "gamey". That's because you are eating tough old lamb. I bet it's the same for kangaroo.

If it's very lean I would add some fat to it. Pork fat :)

I bet that would make a killer sausage.

Isn't "lamb" a young sheep? How can it be tough and old?

Sheep meat is mutton. Makes a lovely curry.

Not the animal, the meat. The meat has been butchered and then left out too long. For some meats, aging in this way improves the taste or texture - Not so much for lamb.


In the US, there is no distinction made between the age of sheep in the labeling of its meat. No matter how old the animal, it's lamb, not mutton.

Wow! That finally explains why I never found mutton in the US. I've been curious about that for over a decade.

we call kangaroo sausages kangabangers - havent heard of anyone mixing with pork though

Interesting, most sausages use pork fat to keep the meats from drying out. If you don't use pork fat what kind of fat do you add to the kangaroo meat to keep it moist in a sausage?

Also, haha I love the phrase "kangabangers". Sounds like an outback criminal gang. "The kangabangers shot and killed two today."

My preference is a stew.


Can confirm that this recipe is great.

Might even turn someone that thinks kangaroo meat is too gamey.

> It really is a delicious meat

Honestly, I've never really liked it. Every few years I convince myself to give it another try, and each time I'll spend a week or two cooking it every other day in different ways and I'm yet to find something I like.

Maybe mince is the thing to try next.

> Burgers with it are decent too

I agree. The steak is bit gamey. The burger mince has enough herbs and ingredients to mask that taste. The sausages "kanga bangas" aren't too bad either. Obviously plenty of tomato sauce (not ketchup mate!) is a must.

I agree, minced is the way to go otherwise it tends to be really stiff, perhaps slow cooking could solve the stiffness problem but I've never tried.

Roo burgers are the easiest solution and can be found at any Aussie supermarket or butcher.

Having never had the pleasure of trying kangaroo you make it sound like venison or bison here. VERY lean, so you must eat it rare to medium rare or you wind up over cooking the crap out of it and it winds up like tough shoe leather. Ugh.

I hope one day to make it down there and try some kangaroo steak, or some braized slow cooked kangaroo. I bet it's very healthy red meat, unless its farm raised. What is the natural diet of kangaroo? Grasses? Leaves? I doubt it is grain.

Id agree on the taste part. Never had bison, but still that same gamey taste, certainly stronger than venison.

As for cooking, no, terribly dangerous advice. Cook kangaroo well regardless of what butchers and cooking shows tell you.

Kangaroo has somewhere near 20x the bacterial levels of raw chicken. It's wild hunted meat that's been commercialised. Perfectly fine if you eat it soon after being killed, but no sold roo in Australia falls into that category.


There's plenty of ways to keep meat tender while cooking it well, pressure cooking does an amazing job.

That is very interesting. I know of no red meat in N. America that carries bacteria that must be killed by cooking it well done. Poultry is dangerous undercooked, and to a lesser extent pork, even though pork here is irradiated so much you would be ok if it's a little pink. But red meat? You can eat any red meat tartar afaik.

Off to read that link! What an interesting animal, culinary wise.

I wonder if it's like beef where cooking the outside of a solid (not ground) hunk of meat is enough to kill bacteria that mostly only hang out on the surface. This, incidentally, is why I'll happily eat rare seared steak, but I only eat burgers that are cooked through.

As for the diet of kangaroo, yeah they're grazers. You can go out and see them grazing on grasslands in the national parks around the city. Apparently it's pretty high in the good Omega 3 oil too.

Sometimes I've eaten kangaroo and enjoyed it, then tried to prepare exactly the same food again and it tasted like a horrible bloody mess. I am not an expert on cooking roo. I recommend feeding it to your children so that they think it's normal however it tastes, and leave it as a gift for the next generation.

If there really is an oversupply of roo, why do I have to hunt for it on the shelf? And why is it always in weird packages with gimmicky branding?

Marinated roo steaks are pretty good. The marinade balances out the extreme lean-ness.

It's worth pointing out that this isn't some hypothetical. Kangaroo meat is available at most grocery stores and butchers, it's fairly cheap, and quite delicious. It's the red meat I buy most often.

It's also worth saying that kangaroo in Australia is a bit like deer in the US: city people think the animal is a bit magical, country people think it's a bit of a pest; some people hunt it for food; you can buy the meat in some butchers but it's not in the diet of most; and occasionally it's culled because of population explosion. The only real difference is that the deer is not a national symbol.

Not sure why you're being downvoted, because as a lifelong resident around deer, afaik everything you've said is reasonable, if not true.

I live in a rural'ish area with a decent deer population [1] . Most residents see them as endearing, while a minority see them as pests. Go a bit farther out into more rural (but not boonies) areas where people do more serious (but still personal scale) agriculture on their properties, and the ag-pest attitude becomes much more prevalent.

Ask any winemaker and they'll call deer a pest.

Fwiw I'm in the "magical" camp (being neighbors with a deer rescuer will do that to you!) but understand the ag perspective.

[1] There's a family of deer that walk by my property every evening, and this morning I inadvertently startled a buck that was chilling out in front of the house -- they're very timid animals, which I guess is a big difference vs Kangaroos?

I'm within the city limits of a large city in the northeastern US, and I've seen deer on lawns. And since they spread deer ticks over wide ranges, and those ticks spread Lyme disease, they're definitely more than just an agricultural pest. We killed or drove away all the wolves, so now the deer proliferate.

Kangaroos are also generally timid, although there are exceptions. I'd had some chilling moments happening across big males and getting stared down. "Ok, bye" <slinks away>

As someone who grew up on rural prime production properties and now lives in the city, I find this assessment to be spot on.

I know peers who get excited when we go for drives outside of the city limits, so they can see a Kangaroo. I get stressed out driving the car out of the city, because if you see a Kangaroo you're likely to run into it at a hundred k's an hour. They are a bit of a pest in the numbers they've expanded to.

Fairly cheap... but still more expensive then non steak beef, pork or chicken.

I would eat a heap more of it, but its often ~ $16 a kilo when I can get chicken breast for $8

The price seems to have gone up considerably in the last 5 years. We used to eat kangaroo steaks and burgers regularly, but now we only consider it if it's on sale.

I noticed this as well - a few years ago when I could barely cover rent it was basically the only meat I could afford. Now I think of it as an occasional purchase because it's more expensive than chuck steak.

I guess the price is going to start dropping again once there's too many...

Exactly my thoughts. I'd eat more if it was more available and not so expensive. If it's in the supermarket it's only like one or two products.

I don't really have the skills to cook nice Kangaroo but I think it has a lot of potential as pet meat.

We switched our pets to kangaroo and feral goat, supplemented with some chicken necks and offal, with some veggie scraps for the dog. The price is not much different from processed pet food (~$4/kilo) but it's done amazing things for their health.

I was surprised by the difficulty I had finding restaurants offering kangaroo when I visited Melbourne a couple of years back. I did eventually get to try it, but the meat certainly didn't seem to form a normal part of the local diet. I wondered if there were class connotations about it, or if it were seen as exotic.

My family has started eating kangaroo quite a lot recently. We used to eat a lot of lamb back when it was a cheap cut of meat decades ago, but the ever rising price (lamb shanks used to be around $2 each as a throwaway cut, nowadays they are around $10 each in my local supermarket) has made us switch to roo.

I love it in stir fries, an my oldest teenage son who is becoming a gym junky loves eating it because of its low fat content and high protein. I think the secret is getting the marinade right. We tend to douse it in a lot of mediterranean herbs and wine overnight so it has a similar taste to highly spiced lamb yiros meat when cooked up in a pan.

Interestingly, one of our cats eats nothing but raw kangaroo mince (aside from dry biscuits) and he has grown HUGE (as in huge frame, not fat). Talking to vets and other cat owners, apparently kangaroo meat can do that to a cat...

And yet California insists on continuing to ban all kangaroo imports into the state.

This ban affects dog food that contains kangaroo, and affects states outside of California too:


> This product cannot be shipped to the state of California due to current California state laws. Additionally, this product may not be available to purchase from Royal Canin directly if you are located in Nevada, parts of Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, or parts of Oregon because your order may be fulfilled from California

Not just meat, kangaroo leather is also banned as well as any other kangaroo made products

Really? Why? Here in Australia the meat isn't very popular despite supply, gets used mostly in pet food (and the leather is used as well). I'm sure we'd happily export it to anyone interested, why would Cali ban it?

California bans all sorts of things. Foie gras, wood stoves, apples from some other states in the union, reference to a nationally recognizable sports team, allowing animals to have sex within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship[0], driving in a housecoat (but only if you're a woman)[citation needed], and the eating of any frog which dies in a frog race (really).

"apples from some other states"

How does that work? Is it for worry about pests, or insecticide use? I thought the US Constitution prevents a state from banning products from another state.

I looked in the online California Code at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml but found no mention of "housecoat" or "house coat". I also found nothing relevant for "robe" or "robes". Could you point out the relevant law?

The section on frog jumping races is at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xh....

It appears to be in place to allow frog-jumping contests while preventing the frog-jumping contest from being used as a way to get other other laws related to the capture and use of frogs.

Quoting http://articles.latimes.com/2003/feb/06/local/me-frogs6 : "After a thorough legal review, the lawyers discovered a provision tucked into the California Fish and Game Code in 1957 that basically exempts "frogs to be used in frog-jumping contests" from general wildlife rules."

Mark Twain's story about Calaveras County may be the reason behind that law.

> How does that work? Is it for worry about pests

Yes, California’s ag quarantine/inspection laws are about pests (and the prohibited without certificate imports are part of those laws). California is unusual in enforcing its quarantine laws with border inspections, but not in having them.

> I thought the US Constitution prevents a state from banning products from another state.

State ag quarantine laws are common and have generally been held Constitutional absent federal action that overlaps with or expressly preempts them.

> How does that work? Is it for worry about pests, or insecticide use? I thought the US Constitution prevents a state from banning products from another state.

I have no idea, but this is at least the guidance. https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/factsheets/BringingFruitsVeggi...

That said, I'd like to be clear in not knocking all laws of this sort, for example laws about citrus are obviously informed by: https://californiacitrusthreat.org/

> I looked in the online California Code at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml but found no mention of "housecoat" or "house coat". I also found nothing relevant for "robe" or "robes". Could you point out the relevant law?

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I could not find it. I've seen it printed in so many places that I started to believe it without seeing the exact wording of the law. In fact, the only code referencing 'woman' in the Vehicle Code is about ownership.

The ag laws are among the few that make sense. Agriculture is big business in California, and we've been overrun by invasive pests a few times now. It makes more sense to keep them out than to try to eradicate them after they become established.

If I had to guess why we ban kangaroo meat, it's probably because too many people think they're "cute".

Those sound like archaic unenforced laws which every state has. But they really do have a very overbearing government. It's very common to see labels like "not available in California" or "known to the state of California to cause cancer".

Random fact, not all kanagroos are a pest some are endangered.

Most of their meat is not for the western taste buds. The steak part is on par with beef. But then it gets pretty gameie pretty quick.

Environmentalists have eaten kangaroos (often without eating any other meats) for years so this is not a new idea. It's in most supermarkets.

Camel is another pest that was sold commonly for a while, but seems to have stopped.

Horses and cats are other meats that should be added in.

> Most of their meat is not for the western taste buds

I live in Australia. Kangaroo is very common and popular. It has been for farmers since the settler days andin my generation its made its way to the city. Fun fact there used ro be a breed of dog (never made official) for hunting kangaroos. Also many supermarkets have a camel option or 2.

And as far as I know the only endangered kangaroos are tree kangaroos. These are super rare and look like a cross between a possum and kangaroo. Others maybe someone can add?

I think the biggest issue is if they opened up hunting again would be to make sure people know the difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo.

Kangaroo is one hell of a pest in Australia. It's a native, which made it illegal for the general populace to hunt in the early 2000's (this doesn't apply to Australian Aboriginals). Non-Aboriginals who want to hunt them have to go through tedious multi-day "ethics" courses on about how you should and shouldn't hunt them, and even after that your options are limited and the process is ridiculous.

Unfortunately this has led to kangaroos reaching plague proportions. They destroy farms, tear down fences and generally be a nuisance. You can barely drive through rural roads without breaking a sweat in case a kangaroo jumps in the way of your car.

The problem here is multi-fold.

The location issue:-

1. Due to Australia's sharp weather, areas could suddenly fall under drought which would result in a sharp decline in kangaroo numbers.

2. As a result of this, kangaroo culling is disincentivized in other areas even though there is an uptick rather than a decline.

The species issue:-

1. There were originally about eight distinct breeds or so of kangaroo, but things like hunting and drought has reduced the numbers of those species dramatically.

2. The outcome was to limit the amount of kangaroo culling so as to not affect other breeds.

3. As a result, overall numbers haven't declined - rather they have sharply risen - and certain breeds have "muscled out" the at-risk breeds.

Firearms laws in Australia:-

1. The Australian government banned most firearms after a massacre in 1996.

2. The Australian public has since come to find guns "dirty" and Australian lawmakers (coincidentally, those belonging to the same parties that outlawed hunting of kangaroos) do not want to promote firearms (even in a licensed, limited fashion)

3. Promoting the culling of these species would run counter to their political discourse for the last couple of decades.

Grammatical aside -- historically, aboriginal is an adjective, aborigine is a noun -- so you could talk about Australian aborigines, or aboriginal Australians.

Agreed on pest status of kangaroos. They are hugely destructive animals, worse than goats especially as the larger kangaroos can clear almost any fence, plus can do you some serious physical harm if they feel threatened.

There's arguably 4-6 species that come under the heading kangaroo. Then you've got the wallabies (anything not big enough to be considered a kangaroo), and the wallaroos (anything not either of the above). Then a few other categories (tree wallabies, say). I feel the taxonomy is unnecessarily confusing.

IIRC, the biggest problem with roos and droughts are that they can stall development of their young, and then re-start it once the drought breaks -- so as a group they're very quick to bounce back in numbers.

I think your take on firearms and Australians' attitude towards same comes across as a bit loaded.

Firearm laws weren't exactly USA-style levels of free-n-easy pre-1996. The same people that would go out shooting kangaroos pre-1996 are the same people that are able to legally obtain guns with relative ease today. Most of the law reform was around semi-automatic, self-loading and pump action style weapons. So, not terribly high-impact in terms of kangaroo culling by farmers.

I feel that the 'dirty' attitude you're referring to is shared by almost every non-USA society (or at least, non-USA western society), especially amongst those that are informed regarding USA style gun laws and consequences of same.

I'm even more dubious about the correlation of political party's attitudes towards firearms and kangaroo culling. I don't know how trustworthy this source [1] is, but it suggests the four main political parties in 2016 were not against the idea of commercial kangaroo culling. Two fringe groups were against it, but all other parties noted there had 'no official policy'. I don't know of any political discourse that would be in jeopardy by either the current administration, or the primary opposition group, by advocating kangaroo culling.

[1] https://www.voiceless.org.au/election2016_positions

> I feel that the 'dirty' attitude you're referring to is shared by almost every non-USA society (or at least, non-USA western society), especially amongst those that are informed regarding USA style gun laws and consequences of same.

Switzerland, Czechia and all the Nordic countries disagree. ~Every house with an adult male Swiss citizen living there has a gun. Czechia recently added the right to bear arms to their constitution. All of the Nordic countries have large national gun clubs, I think the Norwegian one has over 10% of the population as members, to dissuade Soviet and now Russian aggression.

Every house with an adult male Swiss citizen living there has a gun.

Not true. First of all it's voluntary to keep your gun after military service, and even if you do choose to keep your weapon it's illegal to have ammunition for that gun at home (with a couple of very small exceptions).

All of the Nordic countries have large national gun clubs

No they don't. They have local gun clubs for recreational target shooting and hunting practice, but I wouldn't call them particularly popular. I don't know anybody who shoots outside of hunting, which admittedly is relatively popular. And basically everybody still thinks that the US notion of people just carrying pistols around with them is batshit insane.

I think the Norwegian one has over 10% of the population as members, to dissuade Soviet and now Russian aggression.

What??? I grew up in Norway and lived almost 20 years there and never heard anyone claim anything even close to that.

Being Australian living in Central Australia, we havn't had an issue until this year, 2 of my friends have nearly had their cars totaled by kangaroos. Hunting licenses should be a lot easier to obtain.

I've been told that, colloquially, kangaroo meat is occasionally referred to as "skippy." (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23086541)

I guess this is a bit of gallows humor because of the beloved children's show Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skippy_the_Bush_Kangaroo)

A few good wet seasons in the North has also resulted in the crocodile population exploding a little... I am betting that it won't be long before the government is touting crocodile meat as substitute for chicken or similar... ;)

I've had crocodile quite a few times - not particularly tasty IMO - like a bland version of fishy chicken. Though the croc skin boot and handbag industry might get a little saturated...

Part of the issue with this proposal is that wild roo meet not infrequently contains parasites in the muscles that makes it unfit for human consumpion. You have to be careful, just as with other wild meats. As a result, the supermarket-available roo meat often is farmed rather than wild-caught.

Same issue with the wild pigs up here in the North. Friends who hunt them say that the boar meat is delicious (far better than kangaroo), but it has risks with infections and other parasites that can be transmitted to humans.

I visited my brother in Sydney and he took me to a restaurant where they served chunks of raw kangaroo meat with a super-heated rock to cook it on. I thought the meat was pretty good.

I've yet to eat one, but kangaroo leather holds up nicely too. I have some boots made from kangaroo that have broken in well.

Also population of chickens and possibly cows are outnumbering us a lot, that is not a reason to eat them.

That's a false equivalence, we control the number of cows and chickens almost to the animal. They aren't a free roaming pest

Export to USA :)

Found out that it is not as hard to find in USA


Just tell the Chinese it has some sort of medicinal value or is a wild aphrodisiac and your Kangaroo problems will be solved.

Chinese demand for this kind of medicine or sexual stimulation is insatiable as we have seen with Ivory and Rino Horn. The animal may require protection at some point to avoid extinction.

With careful marketing and some convincing it could very well be a billion dollar industry.

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