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No other animal symbolises Australia more than the kangaroo. The koala may come close, but the kangaroo definitely trumps them all. For those of you that have never before been down under, yes, kangaroos do inhabit almost every part of the country, and it is not uncommon to encounter them in the wild – hopefully not because you’ve narrowly swerved to avoid one from your car. But one place where you might not be expecting to them to turn up is on your dinner plate.
Kangaroo, as a meat source, has actually been legal in Australia since 1993 but Aboriginal people have been hunting roos since time began. Although it’s less popular than lamb or beef, kangaroo is becoming accepted as a common source of protein, and a leaner, healthier one at that. Many people are starting to rave about its environmental benefits – there isn’t the methane byproduct which farming cows produces.
So, how can you expect to eat it in Australia? Well, here are seven tasty ways:
1. Kanga Bangas
Probably one of my favorite food names, the kanga banga is simply a kangaroo sausage. You can get these pre-packaged at the shops on your way to a barbie with friends. There’s really no fuss when preparing these guys; just pop it in a bun with some sauce, and you’re good to go.
2. Kangaroo Steaks
In place of beef, kangaroo steaks are tasty when marinated and cooked on the barbie. But, you’ll need to definitely watch how long this one gets cooked; there is very little fat on this meat, and overcooking can leave it chewy, dry and not as juicy. Almost everyone I have talked to about kangaroo meat has stressed that it must be a medium-rare finish in order to enjoy.
3. Kangaroo Pies
A stereotypical food, other than Vegemite of course, that defines the Australia people, is the meat pie. Fill a meat pie with roo meat, and it doesn’t get any more Australian than that (unless you’re knocking it back with an icy VB). Not many places sell the roo pie, but if you’re lucky enough to come across a quality pie shop, like Freddo’s outside of Port Macquarie, then it just might be on the menu. Keep your eyes peeled.
4. Skippy Burgers
Aussies like to refer to kangaroos as “Skippy”, a name which comes from a popular old television show. Therefore, “skippy burgers” are simply roo burgers that have been prepared from kangaroo mince, slightly undercooked, and then stacked with your typical burger toppings. For those who throw the humble gherkin out of their usual burger, be warned, in Australia you tend to find beetroot is the topping of choice.
5. Roo Tail Stew
In Sydney’s Chinatown, roo tail is sold at the butcher shop alongside all the other meats that might fancy for your dinner that night. Some Chinese restaurants will even serve you up some delicious roo tail stew, made from that part of the kangaroo that helps them to keep their balance when hopping about.
6. Kangaroo Pizza
You can get just about any type of meat on a pizza, and in Australia, heck why not pop some kangarooo top! The Australian Hotel in Sydney is one of the few places to dish up kangaroo pizza. If you are going to dabble in kangaroo meat, a roo pizza is one of the more subtle ways to ease yourself into this new ingredient.
7. Kangaroo Jerky
For a salty snack that can go just about anywhere, kangaroo jerky is another option. This dried meat treat is made from roo meat that has been cured with a number of other spices. It’s great for shoving in your backpack and or for long car journeys round Australia when your lacking refrigeration.
About: Brooke Schoenman is the expert author for WhyGo Australia, an online travel guide with life to the land down under. She currently resides in Sydney, Australia and can be found on both Twitter and Facebook.