Kangaroo for dinner


Consider a little taste of Japan combined with a taste of Australia. Think of traditional Japanese flavors: sake, mirin, shoyu, and miso. Though Australia is famous for its lamb, and I’ve posted a couple of lamb recipeson my blog, I am cooking meat from another famous Aussie animal—no! not the koala.

How a (giant) kangaroo would look in the field across the street from my house!

A reader-friend from Australia suggested that I try kangaroo. It’s a nice lean meat; kangaroos are well adapted to Australia’s climate and less stressful on the land than sheep. We were discussing a variety of topics on my pastie post (food wrapped in dough). I mentioned that some Michigan deer hunters make pasties with venison, also a very lean meat. She cautioned that kangaroo might not be suitable; “it can be tough if more than shown the surface of a hot pan.”

A young buck in my backyard…

Kangaroo, Japanese Style
recipe by Tess
serves 3 to 4

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound kangaroo medallions
  • 1½ Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sake
  • 2 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1½ Tablespoons red miso
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

The meat appeared to be one piece cut into thirds, and a fourth piece, about the same size, from another animal (?). The label called the cut “medallions,” so I expected rounds of boneless meat but these were more like “chunks.”

I cut each piece into quarters, noting to myself now that I should not have cut them so small—or possibly not at all: it would have been better to cook the meat as a large thick steak which would be sliced upon serving.
There was plenty of “juice” once the meat had thawed, so I washed it carefully with cold running water and thoroughly dried the pieces with paper towels.

I’d found a suggestion online that the meat should be sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper and marinated in oil for 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet on high. Add the oil and when it is hot, lower heat a little, then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook and turn them until they stop exuding moisture and have begun to brown.
Over a high flame, heat a large skillet. Pour the marinade oil in, and heat. Add a few slices into the hot pan to brown quickly turning only once. The trick is to add and remove the meat so the pan stays searingly hot. If you add too many at a time, the pan will cool and the meat will brown more slowly. They just need a kiss of heat to add a nice caramelized flavor. In the picture, mine are a tad more done than they should be.

Deglaze the pan with (hot or even boiling) water, scraping up the delicious frond from the bottom. Lower the heat to medium-low (add a little more water if it boiled away before the pan was completely deglazed). Stir in the mushrooms. Deglaze the pan with the saké and stir that in with the mushrooms. Put the mirin and soy sauce into a cup and stir in the miso to dissolve. Pour that mixture into the pan and stir. Add the Balsamic vinegar. Taste: you may want a bit more miso or mirin. Heat on low. Turn off heat and stir in the slices of meat.

We completed this meal with boiled red potatoes smashed with salt, pepper, and butter; sauteed zucchini and broccoli; and radishes for color and crunch.

I’d cook kangaroo meat again: it costs about the same as a nice beef steak, tastes great, is low in fat. It would be interesting to use the fast-fry in oil technique (and maybe the flavorings) used in the black sesame seared tuna recipe.

9 thoughts on “Kangaroo for dinner

  1. Wow! I have to say this is very artfully done and beautifully expressed – “a kiss of heat” perfectly said! The roo looks well in your garden but beware although they appear graceful in grassland they can be a bit clumsy in the garden. But I guess deer have that habit too.

    Sometimes we holiday at Gypsy Point (northern most tip of Victoria), where the Genoa River is widest before it hits the sea and it is kangeroo paradise. Walking down to the water there are kangeroos flopped out everywhere like dogs on a suburban lawn. Just chewing – taking the sun – idling.

    • Carolyn,

      A “kiss of heat” is harder to do than I thought! That is why I think the ‘shallow frying’ as in the black sesame tuna link above might be a good way to cook ‘roo!

      The kangaroo in the field across from my house, (photoshop obviously), looks good. I don’t think he’d enjoy the winter snow cover here though.

      Deer are not clumsy in gardens. Not a bit. They are experts at nibbling the most tender flavorful (cultivated) plants without disturbing much else. Their motto: “Eat what you like, and leave only footprints.”

  2. Interesting, Tess. Where did you find the kangeroo medallians? I’ve seen bison, venison and many other meats but not kangeroo. Still, we’ve been in the boonies for ages now, so maybe I’m out of the loop.

    How do you think the meat would be if braised? A kiss of heat is almost a poetic term. :)


    • Marcia, the kangaroo meat is available (frozen) in a couple places here. Hillers is a sort of small local chain of grocery stores. They focus on high-end products and ethnic niches: Russians in this area, Japanese in a Detroit suburb, and you’ll be jealous, but they have a large selection of gluten-free products, including freshly made cakes, cookies and breads.

      Michigan’s economy may be in the dump, but there are pockets where people are still doing well-enough to indulge in being foodies! As small as A2 is, we have lots of fancy food stores!

      I’m sure you could order kangaroo online: it is as lean as venison, but different. Braising might work: I used to cook venison with red wine, bacon, tomatoes, and herbs. It was still best served rare, but my mother couldn’t stand rare or even medium meats…

      • Oh, yes, one can mail order almost anything now, but I think I’ll wait for the kangaroo until we’re in a place where it’s easily accessible.

        It bothers me a bit, which is odd because I adore both sweetbreads and brains. Then again, I will not touch liver, and I mean that quite literally.

        My husband’s father was a career army officer and they spent a couple of years in Alaska when he was 11 and 12. They had moose, bison, mountain goat and who knows what? It was a great experience.

        The word poetricity is a charming one, and I used to be an avid reader of Cummings. Thanks for the link. :)

        • Bothers you because it is kangaroo meat? Or you equate it with organ meat? Or because of the huge transportation costs?

          Hmm. Tongue (veal or beef) and liver (calf or chicken) I can eat. Don’t know that I’ve eaten brains… blood sausage yes. sweebreads ???

          Elk, deer, wild ducks (some that should not have been eaten: too fishy), lutefisk…

          Okay, this is not a good topic for me right now: I’ve had tummy trouble the past couple of days. Even chocolate does not sound tempting.

          Hope you are having a nice holiday. t

          • Tess, I just don’t see myself going out of my way for kangaroo meat. It doesn’t seem that appealing, but I am eating very little meat these days. As for the brains and sweetbreads, I used to eat them at nice restaurants and never cooked them myself.

            I did cook veal tongue, however, which my whole family loved, and yes, Hillers does make me envious.

            Hope your tummy is feeling better. :)

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