The Baaa’d Goat Feast

Goat in Jackson County Oregon.

Billy Goat, aka Rambo, stood on our front porch and posed for Peggy. He was a handsome fellow.

“Curt,” Peggy hollered at me from the kitchen, “there is a goat running around in our back yard.” I looked out. Sure enough, a white billy-goat was dashing back and forth in the field above our house baaing like the Hounds of Hell were on its heels.

“Maybe tomorrow’s dinner has escaped,” Peggy suggested. Perhaps she was right. Our neighbors Margaret and Bryan were hosting a goat bar-b-que for Memorial Day. It’s something of a tradition, but normally they cook a lamb. This year, our next-door neighbor, Jim, had donated a goat. I could understand why it might want to get away.

While Peggy called Jim and grabbed a camera, I went out to have a discussion with Billy. I baaa’d at him. I often talk to Jim’s goats. And yes, they talk back. Sometimes we have extended conversations. This time Billy came rushing over to tell me his woes. I started scratching him behind the ears. It works for dogs, cats, and horses, why not for goats. Soon Billy was purring like a cat, or he would have been if goats purred. Jim arrived in his truck.

I scratched Rambo behind the ears and calmed him down.

I scratched Billy behind the ears and calmed him down. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

“Come on Billy,” I suggested, “let’s go see Jim.” Billy dutifully followed along.

“His name is Rambo,” Jim informed me as he beat on a can filled with goat food to entice his errant ram. Rambo wasn’t buying it. He was obviously irritated. At a minimum, Jim had interrupted a good ear scratching.

“Are we looking at dinner, here?” I asked Jim. His last ram had ended up in stew.

“Oh, no,” Jim told me. “That’s Pinky.” Pinky had been a bad goat in the spring and caused the demise of two kids from another Nanny. That had irritated Jim, which isn’t a good idea. “Pinky was Rambo’s companion, however.” Jim explained. “And now he is mad.” Apparently Rambo had escaped from his pen to mount a rescue effort. Back in his pen again, he sounded like an angry bull elephant on a rampage. The whole neighborhood shook from his complaints. Jim retrieved another nanny to put in with him. Rambo shut up— immediately. So much for true love.

The next day…

“Stop that,” Bryan’s father Bernard urged when Jim referred to the goat that was roasting on the spit as Pinky. Obviously Jim was having fun, teasing. A fair-sized group of neighbors, friends, and a contingent from Southern Oregon University had gathered for the feast. Everyone had brought food to go with the goat meat and several had brought wine. Fred, the brewer from the Caldera Brewery in Ashland, had brought a generous supply of the brewery’s award winning beers. I considered it my responsibility to sample a few.

This Caldera IPA was quite tasty. So tasty in fact, that I had to drink another.

This Caldera IPA, Hopportunity Knocks, was quite tasty. So tasty in fact, that I had to drink another. I can honestly report that the brewery’s other ales were quite good as well.

Goat bar-b-que in Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon

Ex-Pinky roasting away over an open fire.

Spices and oil are bushed on the goat by Brian's brother-in-law Kieth. The brush is also made of spices such as rosemary and sage.

Spices and oil are brushed on the goat by Brian’s brother-in-law Keith. The brush is also made of spices such as rosemary and sage.

There is something primitive about carving your meat off of an animal that has just been roasted over an open fire. It’s enough to make squeamish folks hesitate. Throw in the fact that it was goat, and even more people opt out. The real gourmet challenge, however, was the Kokoretsi Bryan prepared. He had taken a portion of the goat’s intestine, stuffed it with cut up pieces of the goat’s lungs, heart and liver, trussed it up, and cooked it beside the goat. The meal required a bold palate.

Brian carves meat off the goat roast.

Bryan carves meat off the goat roast.

Bryan serves on neighbor Jim, who donated the goat for the feast.

And serves our neighbor Jim, who donated the goat for the feast.

Kokoretsi being grilled in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon.

The Kokoretsi all trussed up.

But the goat and the goat intestines were quite tasty. With the exception of a vegetarian or two (understandably), everyone lined up for goat meat and most people tried the Kokoretsi. I went back for second helpings of each. As for the vegetarians and the more dainty eaters, there were numerous options, including a delicious apple pie Peggy had baked for the occasion. No one went home hungry.

Bryan's father, Bernard, makes an annual trip down from Portland to oversee the cooking of the lamb/goat. It's a family affair.

Bryan’s father, Bernard, makes an annual trip down from Portland to oversee the cooking of the lamb/goat. It’s a family affair.

Margaret teaches at SOU and served as editor of my book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam.

Margaret, looking chirpy,  served as editor of my book, The Bush Devil Ate Sam.

It wasn't only people who had fun at the goat feast, This dog made quick work of some spilled beer.

It wasn’t only people who had fun at the goat feast. This dog made quick work of some spilled beer.

It was the Australian Shepherd puppies that stole the show, however. I don't know how many there were, but it seemed like there were plenty to go around.

It was the Australian Shepherd puppies that stole the show, however. I don’t know how many there were, but it seemed like there were enough to go around.

Like, how cute can you get?

Like, how cute can you get?

After all of that attention, this one needed a nap.

After all of the attention, this one needed a nap.

Peggy attests to just how good the goat meat was.

Peggy attests to just how good the goat meat was. NEXT BLOG: I’ll take you back to the magical Greek Island of Santorini on my Wednesday photo essay.

 

 

33 comments on “The Baaa’d Goat Feast

  1. There is nothing like chargrilled goat meat. A lovely meat and it has turned many a vegetarian into meat eaters. 😉
    The puppies look like Border Collies. I don’t know about Australian Shepherds. Border Collies together with Kelpies are used for sheep mustering.

    • You may very well be right, Gerard. I was told they were Australian Shepherds but I would have to go with the people from Australia. 🙂 Maybe my friends from Animal Couriers will provide the definite answer. –Curt

  2. This looks like a grand time, and an excellent local tradition! I do love meat roasted on a spit. I’ll bet people plan their whole Spring around this annual gathering. It was very neighborly of you to sample the local brew as a favor to the brewer. You’re a giver.

    • I made sure to give Fred ample praise for his brew. 🙂 It is a nice tradition. In fact Bryan and Margaret had to forego last year’s barbecue and everyone missed it. –Curt

  3. Must admit the photos of roasting goat made me a bit squeamish, too. But glad I kept reading and scrolling. The pics of the Australian Shepherd puppy left me with a good taste in my mouth — unlike what I might have said if forced to eat goat! Enjoy the partying — it’s just great to be with friends.

  4. I do enjoy goat, and your roasted one looks scrumptious. I’m not so sure about the kokoretsi. On the other hand, my favorite part of the fried chicken when I was a kid was the liver, so maybe…

    Of course, if the price of playing with those puppies was eating a plate of kokoretsi — hand me my fork!

    • My mother raised us on tongue, heart, brains, etc. So I am fairly open to variety in my diet. 🙂 Did you ever eat bug-a-bugs in Liberia, or other strange dishes? The puppies had there winning ways. I think most of the people there took a were enticed. –Curt

  5. He is a handsome animal. And tag #1 tells me he’s the top of the heap in his herd. He’s a Boer, which is the same breed we raise. Originally from South Africa.

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