How to Roast a Goat

Martin Golding

Thanks to JZ and Mark's Meats, getting the goat was a painless process. Carol picked it up neatly dressed and ready for marinating Friday afternoon. Hanging weight was reported as 24 pounds.

[Live weight was 50 pounds even. I sell meat goats by offering to deliver them to a local reputable processor I know to be USDA inspected and humane. - JZ]

I used a Jamaican jerk dry rub on the hindquarters, and marinated the rest using a Cajun recipe we dug up. I covered it with plastic and tossed some ice bags on, and left it overnight. The spit-roasting technique was straight out of "Outdoor Cooking" from the Time/Life series of cookbooks. It called for 2 hours plus 4 minutes per pound, so Saturday at noon we started the charcoal.

While it was warming up we loaded the goat onto the spit. I used skewers and wire to hold it firmly and to lace it up, so it looked like I'd been torturing the poor thing, but it worked well. We used five 20-pound bags of charcoal, plus another ten pounds for the marshmallows.

Martin and Goat

The spit-roasting recipe said to put the leftover citrus peels in the cavity; since we didn't use their marinade I didn't have any so I sliced a lemon and a lime, and added a handful of peeled garlic, a bunch of coarsely chopped mint, salt, pepper, and thyme.

About 1:30 we put the spit over the fire, then baste.and.a.quarter.turn every twenty minutes. I took it off at 6:00, one of the shoulders was underdone but the rest was perfect. I'd checked the temperature of the other shoulder earlier, and banked that end of the fire a little, so if I'd checked both shoulders it would have been perfect.

Most of the goat disappeared rapidly, to general acclaim. I was going to serve it neatly arranged on a platter, but couldn't keep enough of it sliced. Perhaps I was slowed down by the need not to hack off any of the fingers that kept getting in the way while I was carving.

It was as described; somewhere between beef and lamb in flavor and relatively lean. The best part turned out to be where the jerk overlapped the stuffing, followed by the ribs and the tenderloin. So next time I'm going to dry rub the whole thing and turn what was the stuffing into the marinade.

We had 34 people, two of whom wouldn't eat goat. We served about a pound of butter beans, a couple quarts of jambalaya, about two pounds of cole slaw, and twenty pounds of crawfish (about five pounds of edible meat) with the goat. We had most of one shoulder and another pound or so of bits and slices left over. I was a little worried, I hadn't expected quite that many people; but the goat was just the right size.