I used to believe that goat was the most popular meat in the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the animal most widely eaten around the world is the pig. Chicken and cows follow in popularity, with goats and sheep trailing at five percent of our overall consumption. This doesn’t surprise me. The sheer size of a pig or cow versus a goat means it’s a much better source of food.
And in first-world, dining-out terms? When was the last time you saw goat on a menu? The bony little guys just aren’t very versatile meat animals. Which makes it all the more exciting when I find a well-prepared goat dish. For that, I can thank Grandpa Hank. Though he passed on in 2007, he taught great-grandson Stephon Washington his recipe for his native Jamaican curry goat.
Washington is chef at O’Malley’s Pub at the Holiday Inn Dulles. But early this year, he helped launch a ghost kitchen, Grandpa Hank’s Jamaican Kitchen, where he offers Caribbean food for pickup and delivery. And while the jerk chicken in its many forms is tangy, spicy, and an all-around winner, I would argue that the goat is the star of the show.
The takeout container is crowned with Scotch bonnet peppers, hinting at the heat that will follow. The first bite doesn’t feel like the smack one might expect. It’s a slow, peppery burn. The goat is fatty by turns, while some bites are lean but still tender. Some cling to bone, others are standalone cubes of flesh. Potatoes and goat meat soak up the sauce readily, melting with heat in each bite. But that’s what the sweet undertow of coconut rice is for, both neutralizing the fire and providing textural variety.
Hank would certainly be proud. And I’m just pleased to find so fine a goat dish in the relative chevon desert of NoVA.
5425 Holiday Park Dr., Sterling
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