Top ten meats from 2012

OK on this page you’ll simply find my regularly updated top 10 and an easy to follow list of how the weeks of meat have progressed this year. What the meat was and a brief synopsis on it. I have also added a rating system which goes like this:

  1. The difficulty of meat preparation, cooking and recipe used- Easy, Medium, or Hard- E/M/H
  2. How I rated the meat out of 10- 1=vile up to 10=bring me more right now!
See below for all the pertinent details:
  5. LAMB
  6. GOAT
  7. DUCK
  10. RABBIT


 DUCK: A simple recipe with quality duck breasts resulted in a gorgeous meal to kick off the year of different meats! E/9


CROCODILE: My second attempt at cooking tail fillets and the result was absolutely stunning. A definite keeper in the play book! E/10


QUAIL: A nice meat, but the whole birds just too fiddly and awkward. Easily fried in quick time if butterflied, however. Give it a crack and decide for yourself. E/4


LAMB: A favourite with my family and this recipe came from my dad. A different cut than normal but an amazing result. Do this recipe yourself!  M/10


VENISON: Wild and shot in New Zealand’s Southern Alps by  a mate. A BBQ with friends and an interesting marinade meant this was a winner! M/8 (Medium because of the butchering and prep needed, not done by me. I cooked in on the BBQ so an big E for my efforts)


MUTTONBIRD: Another wild New Zealand addition. A lot of preparation needed and a very interesting result. Pretty salty and very greasy. Could have done with more work before frying but I still liked it. H/6


TUNAMy first ever trip to the fish markets was an eye opener for such a rookie, so the resulting tuna purchase was the easy way out. Simple recipe and delicious result. E/6


KANGAROO: A rich dark meat. Care has to be taken not to over cook and I followed the advice of the butcher. A tender and tasty fillet was the winner of the dish. M/7


CHICKEN: A common meat but done differently. I used mince and made into massively tasty patties and made a health ‘burger’ when added to a stack of pesto stuffed field mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. M/8


HORSEI finally got the ‘taboo’ meat I was after. I wanted to ruffle feathers and questions peoples idea of acceptable animal slaughter. Please read and tell me your thoughts. The meat itself was sweet and rich, a nice change from other red meats. H/6 (I say hard because of it’s availability. Very easy to cook once attained)


MUSSELS, PIPI’S, SCALLOPS, OYSTERS: Preparing and cooking shellfish was new to me, so this took some thought and slight encouragement. I think I settled on top recipes as they were all delicious. M/7


RABBIT: Another meat I’d never cooked, but this whole rabbit completely de-boned before me was stuffed with pancetta and rosemary and the result was divine. A must try. E/8 (Easy for me as the butcher had rolled and it was ready to go. Get a whole rabbit bones in and I think you’d be looking at hard for sure).

A partridge and a pear tree


GOAT: An inordinate amount of meat, a stupidly expensive new  stock pot but an absolutely amazing curry enjoyed with loved ones. Tender and bursting with flavour. Make this! H/9


GUINEA FOWL: Getting a bird with head still attached- a first. Found a great looking recipe but unfortunately stuffed the timing up and didn’t adjust with the amount. Tasty but a bit overcooked. M/6


SHEEP’S BRAINS & TESTICLESA definite first for me! Had to be done at some point and this was it. A very interesting process and not a terrible result. certainly different! Try for yourself. H/5


PRAWNS: In need of a simple week and this was just the ticket. A very simple and quick recipe with a completely satisfactory outcome. Another must try. E/8


SWORDFISH: A trip to Bali saw me not brave enough to try a very obscure meat from a very local market. So a simple but purely delightful raw swordfish salad did the trick. Will definitely do again. E/7


BEEF CHEEKS: Limited options this week, but I took my time and very slowly cooked this often called offal dish. The result was tender and flavour packed cheeks, shared with family. A winner! H/8


EMU: A bit unknown in terms of the cut and a disastrous result. This perhaps needed to be slow cooked. A tough and unsatisfactory result. More research needed! E/2


ASIAN WATER BUFFALOSweet compared to beef, and certainly lovely meat, but unfortunately a poor pan that wasn’t hot enough left this not as good as it could have been. M/6 (I say medium due to sourcing, but easy to cook, just like beef)


VEAL SWEETBREADSA delicacy to many, especially the French. I followed their cooking technique and the result was ok but nothing outstanding. I would try at a nice restaurant but struggle to cook again. H/5


POSSUM: A pest to most and many are killed for that reason. I can now advocate eating these animals as a great dietary source. Not the best meat I’ve had but in a curry would be superb I think. Try one. E/7 (This was easy to cook, however, keep in mind that it’s hard to come by and Tom’s butchering made it an easy meal. A whole possum might be a different story…)


YELLOWBELLY FLOUNDER: A comfort zone breaker for me being a whole fish. Very easy to cook and a simply delicious meal. I avoided the eyes and guts, but will definitely dive into some flounder with my dad when he next offers! E/7


WILD SOW: Caught in the wild by a friend of my fathers, this feast was coming a long way off. I made three meals out of the whole animal and they were all stunning. Three great feeds means this rules! H/10


PHEASANT: This little game bird was a simple delight. The recipe used almost caused chaos but the end result was beautiful. A definite recommendation for roast pheasant! Get some today! M/8


LAMB’S LIVER AND KIDNEYS: Not what I was hoping it would be. At all. It didn’t even get finished. May have been the recipe/cooking, but this dish wasn’t worth finishing. Keen to try again done well as this offal is packed full of nutrients! E/3


WILD HARE: A French recipe to cook this whole sectioned hare. The flavours were beautiful and the meat divine. A positive redeemer and a dish I would happily eat any day! Eat some hare! M/8


WILD HIMALAYAN THAR: A week that saw me appear live on breakfast TV cooking this Thar meat. I kept some and tried in a more casual setting. The leg roast was pretty good, but the back strap was easily some of the tastiest meat I’ve ever eaten. A bucket list must have for any real meat lover! H/10 (I say H purely because it’s hard to get, but the back strap was easy to cook.)


SQUID: An easy week post NZ trip. This was easy to source, but completely new for me to cook. A beautiful, albeit time consuming, recipe. Stuffing the calamari was fiddly but worth it. A very tasty result! H/7


ALPACAA great twist on the traditional big breaky. These Alpaca sausages were tasty and delicious with just a hint of spice to them. An ideal substitute for more traditional bangers! E/7


WOOD PIGEONThe England version- Finally my chance to hunt, kill, butcher, cook and eat a meat. A great day out with a great mate and I managed to shoot a pigeon. The breasts were marinated and made into a delightful skewer. Not a huge feed but tasty and a massively rewarding day. H/8


PYTHONThe New York version- The entire over the top USA at my fingers and I chose Python imported from Vietnam. Travelling and my stubbornness meant that I attempted to replicate the amazing crocodile from week 2. An astronomical fail. The was tougher that rubber and most entered the bin. Easily the worst week yet and a massive deflation. H/2 (H because it’s hard to come by and clearly needs more attention to detail during cooking, and a 2 because it didn’t taste horrible it was simply too much work to chew).


RAINBOW TROUTA week that saw me get some first hand advice and teachings from my dad. I delved back into the water with some Rainbow Trout and made a delicious Fish n Chips. Dad loved it and so did I. Easy and simply beautiful- a fantastic and healthy alternative to the good old ‘Fish supper’. E/8.


BABY OCTOPUS: Into the sea again for something I’ve never cooked before. I essentially made up my own recipe by combining parts of a few others and the result was outstanding. An immediate fan of octopus! Try this recipe! M/8.


WHITEBAIT: The ocean pulls through again as I venture into what is very popular in NZ- whitebait. Slightly bigger in Australia, so a ‘fritter’ was out of the question. So I dusted in coconut flour and fried in coconut oil to produce a stunning result- massive fan! E/7.


LAMB’S HEART: A last minute save from this late in the week. Certainly a different experience, but these stuffed hearts wrapped in bacon and baked in stock and red wine were an unanticipated delight. Very much like liver on first tasting but a nice finish which saw me down 2 whole hearts! M/6.


EEL: Lucky enough to have the company of a great client of mine from Japan who is a big eel fan! His recipe idea for Unagi Kaba-yaki worked out perfectly and was a delightful dish. A truly satisfying week for me and this challenge. A long term fan of eel as a result. M/7.


CAMEL: By myself for this one so decided on an authentic dish of Moroccan style marinated camel strip loin and Moroccan couscous extreme. The meat was a bit tough, but the flavours nice enough to warrant having again. Couscous was the winner. E/5.


GOOSE: This was one solid and dense bird! However, after struggling for a good while I managed to get it cooked and carved for a family feast. The meat was good but the experience has me wary to coo one again. Worth trying for sure. H/7.


WALLABY: A very simple meal with these beautiful wallaby fillets. Quickly fried and the results was superb  I’m an instant fan of wallaby. A slight gaminess to it but very mild compared to it’s big cuz the kangaroo. This is a must try! E/8.


SKATE WING: Something new from the ocean for me this week. A strange texture, but simple to quick fry in a little lemon juice. Tender, mild and very pleasant. I’ll be eating this English favourite again for sure. E/7.


OSTRICH: A drug deal like escapade to source this meat was needed after no one else could get me any. The effort paid off, however, as this recipe is a boomer. Hard to get a genuine feel for the meat itself, but it can’t have been bad, because the kumara, bacon and ostrich pie was awesome! H/8.


ANGEL SHARK: A very tasty and delicious meal that led to a world of ethical assessment. I liked this shark meat, but have taken a strong view not to have it again due to the large decline in shark numbers as well as the practices in place that get it to the plate. Try a sustainable white fish instead. E/7.


LOBSTER: Not an ideal with having no fridge. So it meant getting this lucky guy taken care of at the fish markets. I managed to do the boiling etc myself. the result was a measly amount of very expensive lobster. I mixed into the kumara salad which was very tasty. Just too little lobster. Hard to see a repeat at that price! H/7.


PEAHEN: A long journey from Perth to my new oven. This bird was very similar to chicken, making me wonder why the Peacocks go to so much trouble! Perhaps a little over cooked. I’d have it again if offered, but otherwise just go for a free range organic chicken. E/6.


JELLYFISH: The most simple and fastest week yet. I simply bought this jellyfish salad from the Fish Market and when it came time to eat, we dug in. Flavours of sesame oil, soy sauce and chilli sauce were present but it was pretty nothing to eat really. I won’t be racing back. E/4.


PORK RIBS: It was about time I had a meat that made my week better! This rack of pork ribs was a new cooking venture for me. however, it all came together at the last minute to result in an absolute boomer of a meal. I loved these ribs and that was evident in the smile on my face. Try this! H/10.


SEA URCHIN & ABALONE (KINA & PAUA): These two New Zealand favourites were the last entry from the sea. Sashimi sea urchin was gross and didn’t make a third ‘mouthful’. I followed a simple ‘creamy paua’ recipe for the abalone that included mushrooms. The result just tasted like creamy mushrooms, so nice, but the abalone was lost. I’m keen to try both in the more common NZ style of kina and paua patties. M/4 (The seas urchin is dragging this one down to a 4).


SNAILS: Something I thought I wouldn’t do for this challenge, or bugs of any kinds. But in relasing that I’d done sea bugs such as prawns I caved. However, I resisted the French garlic butter recipes and made a beautiful roasted tomato sauce. This was divine, the snails .. not so much. Squishy and chewy, I won’t be rushing back. More a snails pace… E/4


PARTRIDGE: A Xmas themed week this week with an amazing visual pun- an actual tree made out of a pear to accompany the partridge. A tender, juicy and delicious meal, I’d definitely have these birds again. however, slightly fiddly and pretty similar to chicken. M/7.


OX TONGUE: A last resort for the penultimate week, of sorts. Still, a new meat and something very different. I went for a common technique of a slow boil in stock, cooling and adding to a fresh salad the next day. It was a weird one to deal with and certainly different to eat. I wasn’t a huge fan and won’t be rushing back. M/5.


TURDUCKEN (TURKEY): The final week had to be epic, and it was. I hadn’t yet done turkey on this challenge so why not do one that is filled with a chicken, a duck and some lovely pork. cranberry and macadamia nut stuffing?! A tough thing to cook due to it’s size and density, but the year’s experiences served me well and I nailed it. This was not only tasty and delicious, it was fucking awesome and an immense end to the year. D/9 (Difficulty was eased due to the arrangement being put together by Tom, my butcher, otherwise it would have been VFH- refer to the post for what that means).

Fuck yeah it is!

And that is the entire 52 weeks, in a nutshell. Comment below and let me know what you think of my top ten list and how you might rank them yourself.

16 comments on “Top ten meats from 2012

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  8. Well Done mate have ejoyed reading this each week, have had camel befofe, the tbone steak was awesome, no shit just as good as beef, gotta get the young ones, are a bit more tender

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