Monday, March 30, 2015

GOAT MEAT (part 1) – CAPRETTO/CABRITO what is the difference?

Goat meat has been eaten for millennia and is often referred to as Chevon derived from the French word chèvre (goat).This usually refers to the flesh of a mature animal. In some countries it is also called mutton.
The most tender meat, however, is from a milk-fed goat kid. It is eaten in many part of the world, is often regarded as a delicacy and is known by different names according to where you live.

Capretto kids arrive at the abbatoir
CAPRETTO is the Italian name for kid goat. CABRITO if the Latin/Spanish name for the same. 
By specification, Cabrito/Capretto is young milk-fed kid goat ranging from 12 to 20 weeks of age with a carcase dressed weight between 6 and 12 kg. The meat is very tender with a mild flavour similar to veal. It should be pale pink in colour. For the grower, it will return a premium price on the export market. 

Cabrito is eaten as a specialty dish common in Latin cuisines such as in Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina where it is usually slow roasted.
Capretto is most popular in southern Italy and Greece. It is an Easter celebration staple in the Alpine regions of central Europe. In the Bavarian Alps of Germany, it is served braised. In the Austrian Alps region it is usually crumbed and fried.

For centuries, young milk-fed kids slaughtered for meat were usually the unwanted male kids of dairy herds. However, by today’s standards, dairy goats, especially Nubian-types, are the least desirable as they are often rather leggy.
Thirty years ago, in Australia, a booming export trade in kid carcases was established on the back of the cashmere market. However, fibre production declined in 1990s following the release of the South African Boer Goat genetics into Australia.

Flocks of both feral and cashmere does were suddenly in demand for use as recipients for the new genetics through live mating, Artificial Insemination and embryo transplant programs.

Feral does with cross-bred kids
Though initially, because of the value of the newly imported genetics, pure male Boer goat kids were kept and raised to be sold to stud breeders or exported as terminal sires, the cross-bred kids from the feral or cashmere does heralded the start of a burgeoning goat meat export industry. The improved meat qualities of the imported genetics were immediately evident in the cross-bred kids.
The Ennobled Boer goat had long been bred in South Africa as a meat animal.

The Boer’s genetics relevant to Capretto/Cabrito carcases are as follows:
Excellent conformation.
High fecundity and increased kid production.
Does average 160% weaned kids with kidding rates as high as 200%.

Boer does with new-born triplets

Good mothering instincts in the does and high milk production for rearing kids resulting in high or early weaning.
Kids have excellent early growth and are therefore ready for market early. Kids show daily weight gain of 255 grams per day average.
Things to remember.
In producing kids for the export market – the kids should remain on the doe until the time of slaughter in order to maintain the pale flesh colour.
Kids should be grown to the desired weight specifications. At the abattoir, overweight kids are heavily penalized (in price) if delivered for the export trade.

Once the kid is weaned and its diet changes, then the meat will darken and can no longer be marketed as Capretto/Cabrito. As it matures, the young goat is classed as chevon (to follow).

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