Although Australian aborigines have eaten kangaroos for centuries and 19th-century European settlers hunted them for food, it wasn't until the end of the twentieth century that Australians began using kangaroos for anything other than dog food. Recently, Russians, Europeans (particularly Germans) and South Africans have been driving up demand for kangaroo meat, as has the Australian home market where it's now becoming commonplace in supermarkets. Kangaroos are wild and are not currently farm-raised so they fall in the category of game animals. Because of their free-range environment, the foods they eat and their low fat content, kangaroo is deemed one of the healthier meats. It has a flavor somewhere between that of wild rabbit and venison. The Australian kangaroo industry produces a wide variety of cuts that are similar to domestic animal cuts. Even with its low fat content, kangaroo is considered one of the more tender game animals, though it's suggested that prime cuts be cooked to no more than medium-rare to prevent drying. Other cuts should be braised with moist heat or roasted with ample basting, larding or barding. Partly because kangaroos are viewed as cute, and in keeping with the theme of calling the meat of deer venison, of cows beef and of pigs pork, the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia ran a contest in 2005 to name kangaroo meat. The winning moniker was australus, though there's been no commercial push to use the name. Kangaroo meat has limited availability in the United States, though a number of mail-order outlets are providing it through the Internet.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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