Understanding the meat is just the beginning.
It is not everyday that you get to feed llamas, alpacas, run from Oscar the ostrich, or drink milk straight from the goat’s teat. Though it is these activities that allow you to wrap your mind around the epicness and prepare it for a great gastronomic adventure worth a lifetime of experience.
To begin this journey you must first acknowledge the animal husbandry and love that a farmer exudes when raising animals for food. In my personal experience on an exotic meat farm, I have come to realize that the farmer may very well love his animals more than anyone who has loved animals. Seeing this love, care, respect, honor, and passion first hand has given my friends and I the trust needed to try just about anything Anshu offers us. Who he is and what he believes about the game meat he provides to the world, brings us to a new understanding where we all can share in and respect the sacrifices made to provide our indulgence.
Every so often, a small group of friends and I take the two hour drive to Perris, CA where we visit with our good friend, and animal lover, Anshu Pathak, owner and farmer at Exotic Meat Markets. Anshu is a character, an interesting man of great moral fiber, who maintains a down-to-earth persona that makes him fun to be around and to listen to. I have come to know that he loves his animals very much, and he respects the sacrifices they make to provide food for us. There is no pecking around when eating with Anshu, come hungry and prepared to complete the food presented before you. Respect the animal by not leaving any meat on the bone. A number of these animals are bred and raised on Anshu’s farm, where he oversees their care from birth to packaging. He has llamas, alpacas, goats, ostriches, turkeys, geese, and many more. Those he does not raise, he travels to see how they are raised before purchasing or processing. To say the least, Anshu is one of the most honest, humble and passionate human beings I have encountered, and he truly loves the meats he sells, and the animals that provide it.
On this particular trip, the meat of the hour was lion, though we had several items that day, including very delicious beaver tacos, and cuy. Lion meat is pale in color, it is a white meat. Its presence in your mouth is majestic. The meat swells as if the king of the jungle is standing on the edge of a cliff that is your mouth, and roaring over his kingdom in dominance. I liken the chew of the meat to chewing gum, it takes work. The flavor is clean, lion is a very lean and muscular meat, but has some fat content that is pronounced. Lion does not taste like anything else, though when cooked in butter, there is a buttery deliciousness about it that sends an orgasmic burst of flavor down your throat. Being able to experience different meats and using them in normal food dishes like a taco, burger, hot dog, or simply grilled has opened my mind and world to a new area of culinary artistry.
Exotic meats are just as okay to eat as socially-accepted ones. Sure, the thought of eating some of them can make you squeamish, even I have trouble with certain things; that should not bar anyone from being willing to expand their minds and palettes to understand the meat. The reason I know I do not like oysters is because I have eaten them on several occasions, prepared in several different ways, and become nauseous every time. I do not like throwing up. The way I know I love lion meat, beaver tacos, curried goat, lamb, alpaca steaks, kangaroo hotdogs, and other exotic treats is because I have tried them. Try exotic meat before you condemn it, you may just surprise yourself.