And there I stood, cooking kangaroo for my sweet and loyal Jacky (a darling little Jack Russell Poodle).
Let me start by saying I didn’t want to do it. I was that little girl who wanted to be a veterinarian. That brought home garter snakes and grasshoppers, to take care of them and feed them grass. All I could think about was cute soft brown kangaroos and the black eyes of their joeys peeking out of their pouches. I’m not even a “real meat eater” to begin with (fish and chicken) and here I was cooking kangaroo.
Over the last year and a half, Jacky started getting sick. At meals, she would look into her food bowl and walk away. If fed beef, chicken even pork she would throw up repeatedly. She didn’t sleep through the night and had lost her energy, which I thought was due to her age (7). She was constantly licking her paws, scratching her ears and even had really bad breath.
The trips to the vet became weekly. She was always sick. She has pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBL). IBL translates to food allergies so together with her vet, we began changing her diet. We tried soy and then a vegetarian diet but neither worked and she was lifeless again. The vet suggested we try a protein she had never eaten before. That’s where I first heard about kangaroo and she assured me dogs love it. But I didn’t want to feed my dog kangaroo, they’re so cute. I resisted and instead I fed her lumpy cottage cheese. It was the only thing her little sick tummy was able to tolerate. For four months, she ate cottage cheese every day that I mixed with rice, lettuce and a small amount of flax oil. Almost overnight she had transformed into a bouncy, energetic pup. But I knew she couldn’t live forever on just cottage cheese. Plus once she really began to heal she looked at us at meal time with a face that seemed to say -where’s my meat? That’s when I surrendered.
Once a month I (the least “real meat eater” of my family) stroll into the butcher shop and look for “exotic” meats. I have become very comfortable and somewhat of an expert in there. My butcher thinks the meats are for me and I am quite the carnivore. He beams when I go into his shop so he can brag about how he seasoned his latest wild meat pierced it onto a long stake and cooked it over an open fire in his back yard. I have also learned he likes his ostrich rare, pineapple juice is great to marinate wild boar, and one time while in Morraco he had camel stew with potatoes, oranges and anise that was to do die for. It’s too late now to tell him it’s for my dog, we have this thing going.
I can tell you the exotic meat selection is plentiful. I have seen crocodile, ostrich, moose, kangaroo, elk, venison, wild boar and bison. Despite being Australia’s national animal, Kangaroos are considered a pest so that makes me feel slightly better. Jacky loves the taste of kangaroo; I hear it’s very tender and flavourful. I have not tried it. I have never even eaten a beef steak myself (or cooked one). As far as meats go, it’s high in protein and low in fat. Plus it’s high in conjugated linolic acid that fights cancer and diabetes. I buy ground meats usually frozen. I thaw and boil the meats (2-3 minutes) individually without any seasoning or salt (boiled meat is easier to digest). Let me warn you it does put a particular barn like stink in the house so, boil with open windows. I mix the australus (offical name for kangaroo meat just in case you see it on your restaurant menu) with a little brown rice and portion these meals into ziploc bags I call “kangaroo pouches”.
Interesting fact I learned from my butcher.
A male kangaroo is called a boomer
A female kangaroo is called a flyer
A baby kangaroo is called a joey.