Monday

Skippy



No other animal symbolises Australia more than the kangaroo.  For those of you that have never before been down under, 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 from 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 roos since time began. Aside from the nutritional benefits, many people are starting to rave about its environmental benefits – there isn’t the methane byproduct which farming cows produces.

It gets the thumbs up on a wide variety of nutrition fronts, with the key highlights for kangaroo meat 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 kangaroo 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, kangaroo meat is a champion lean meat. Even when stacked up against lean beef, trim lamb and lean, skinless chicken breast, kangaroo meat comes out trumps (see the table below).

Fat content per 100g of raw meat

Kangaroo fillet or steak 1
Lean beef fillet 2
Lean beef rump 2
Trim lamb steak 2
Lean, chicken breast2
Total fat (g)
1.3
6.3
4.6
5.8
1.6
Saturated fats (g)
0.3
2.4
1.7
2.0
0.5
Trans fats (g)
0.1
0.3
0.2
0.3
n/a
Polyunsaturated fats (g)
0.4
0.6
0.4
0.6
0.3
Monounsaturated fats (g)
0.5
2.5
1.9
2.3
0.7

Table: http://www.macromeats.com.au

Other nutritional properties..

Kangaroo meat is a particularly rich source of iron. In fact, a 150g serve of kangaroo steak or fillet provides 41% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for iron.

A 150g serve of kangaroo meat provides over a quarter (28%) of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for zinc.

36% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for riboflavin. Riboflavin is primarily involved in energy production and supports vision and skin.

63% of the RDI for niacin. Niacin helps to release energy from carbohydrates and fat and also supports the digestive and nervous systems.

80% of the RDI for Vitamin B6. This vitamin is needed for protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also helps to manufacture red blood cells and regulate certain hormones.

Over 100% of the RDI for Vitamin B12. It helps to break down fats and proteins to produce energy. Vitamin B12 also plays a role to produce red blood cells and helps to maintain normal nervous system functions.

So now you know how good our skippy (Aussies like to refer to kangaroos as “Skippy”, a name which comes from a popular old television show) is, how can you expect to eat it in Australia?

1. Kanga Bangas

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

2. Kangaroo Steaks

In place of beef, kangaroo steaks are tasty when marinated and cooked on the barbie.  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. Kangaroo 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).  Not many places sell the roo pie, but if you’re lucky enough to come across a quality pie shop, like Freddo’s outside of Port Macquarie, then it just might be on the menu. Keep your eyes peeled.

4. Skippy Burgers

“Skippy burgers” are simply roo burgers that have been prepared from kangaroo mince, slightly undercooked, and then stacked with your typical burger toppings.  For those who throw the humble gherkin out of their usual burger, be warned, in Australia you tend to find beetroot is the topping of choice.

5. Roo Tail Stew

In Sydney’s Chinatown, roo tail is sold at the butcher shop alongside all the other meats that might fancy for your dinner that night.  Some Chinese restaurants will even serve you up some delicious roo tail stew, made from that part of the kangaroo that helps them to keep their balance when hopping about.

6. Kangaroo Pizza

You can get just about any type of meat on a pizza, and in Australia, heck why not pop some kangarooo top!  The Australian Hotel in Sydney is one of the few places to dish up kangaroo pizza.  If you are going to dabble in kangaroo meat, a roo pizza is one of the more subtle ways to ease yourself into this new ingredient.

7. Kangaroo Jerky

For a salty snack that can go just about anywhere, kangaroo jerky is another option.  This dried meat treat is made from roo meat that has been cured with a number of other spices.  It’s great for shoving in your backpack and or for long car journeys round Australia when your lacking refrigeration.