I’ve been back from my study abroad program in Australia for a while now and have finally been able to reflect on my experience. I saw beautiful sights, drank delicious wine and tried new foods, specifically kangaroo.
I know, I know. How could I? Not only are they very cute, but they’re the first thing most people think of when they think of Australia. However, you don’t normally think of them being seasoned and grilled for your Sunday barbeque. At least I never have.
After being in Australia for about two hours, I wandered through the grocery store and quickly realized that eating kangaroo is much more common than you would think.
There it was: kangaroo steaks, ground kangaroo meat, kangaroo medallions and even kangaroo roast. From that moment on, my curiosity grew. Was it gamey? Was it tough? Heck, would it taste good with barbeque sauce?
Turns out, kangaroo has been eaten in Australia for a long time. Historically, the Aboriginal (native Australian) communities ate kangaroos, and the European settlers partook as well. But after a while, the practice of eating kangaroo died down and it wasn’t until recently that it came back. In fact, only recently did Australia begin exporting kangaroo meat to other countries like Russia (who gets 70 percent of Australia’s kangaroo meat).
Though some Australians still feel strange about consuming their country’s beloved emblem, it seems as though most people are able to put that aside and enjoy a true Australian barbeque. I saw it for myself when I finally got the chance to (literally) feed my curiosity in the outback with my classmates on a four day camping trip.
On our final night, we had what our cooks called “Meat Fest” which included steak, chicken and of course the heavily anticipated kangaroo medallions.
The first bite was a bit tough (which I realize depends on the way it is cooked) but packed with flavor. It was a bit gamey and reminded me of venison. I loved the taste alone so much that I only dipped it in barbeque sauce once, just to try it. The kangaroo accompanied with vegetables made for a very satisfying dinner.
Turns out, kangaroo is not only delicious but also decently healthy. The meat is lean, high in protein and low-fat. I enjoyed the meal so much more when I realized I didn’t have to feel too guilty about eating two servings.
I did feel a bit strange about eating an animal so widely adored, but overall I feel no shame. I was happy to take part in a growing Australian tradition and recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to try it.