Kangaroo Loin with Mushroom Sauce

Notice those lovely fried morels on top! I foraged those in Arkansas earlier this week and needed a VERY special dish to serve them with.

**PLEASE NOTE**  A video on how to make this dish is located at the bottom of this recipe!

Yes, yes…you’re shocked and a bit disgusted that I’ve posted a kangaroo recipe.  Folks…kangaroo is the venison of Australia.  It’s their most common game meat.  It jumps into the road in the middle of the night and destroys your car, just like a deer.  It is hunted with guns, bows and arrows, and traps, just like deer.  And kangaroo meat is absolutely superb…when properly prepared…just like venison.  Kangaroos are herbivores with chambered stomachs, just like cattle, sheep, and deer, and their meat is astonishingly similar thanks to their diet of grass and weeds.  And since I am on the shortlist for Tourism Australia’s Best Job in the World…”TasteMaster” of Western Australia…I figured this would be a very appropriate recipe for me to share this week.

Notice this label is in both Dutch and French!

But first of all, where do you even get kangaroo meat?  I source mine from Arrowhead Specialty Meats right here in my hometown.  While you’re not likely to run across it in your grocery store, most specialty meat markets carry kangaroo and will sell directly to the public (though their primary customer base is restaurants).  So just Google your city name or zip code, plus “specialty meats” or “game meats” and you’ll find one.  Or ask the chef as your favorite gourmet restaurant where he gets his unusual meats, and he’ll be happy to tell you.

Kangaroo meat, just like venison, is incredibly lean…as lean as a boneless skinless chicken breast.  This means that, if you like red meat, but are watching your saturated fat and cholesterol intake, kangaroo could be a lifesaver for you!  However, this almost complete lack of intramuscular fat means that it can be challenging to cook kangaroo meat and end up with a juicy, tender cut of meat.  The leg meat is unsuitable for pretty much anything but long, slow braising, or grinding into sausage.  The loin, however, is a different story!  It runs along either side of the spine and doesn’t get nearly the exercise that the legs do.  This is where the “filet mignon” is cut from beef.  So look for kangaroo loin, and you’ve got an outstanding cut of meat.

The first step I take with ALL game meats is to brine them.  Brining ensures juicy, perfectly seasoned meat.  For up to 4 kangaroo loins, make half a gallon of brine in a gallon-sized pitcher or big bowl:

2 quarts water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
handful of ice cubes

Stir with a whisk until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.  Place the loins into the brine, and keep in the fridge for 2-3 hours.  Remove the loins and discard the brine.  On a big plate, combine:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons powdered garlic
2 Tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

There’s no need for salt, because the meat is already perfectly seasoned.  Dredge the loins in the seasoned flour.

Preheat the heaviest cast iron skillet you have over high heat until the pan is screaming hot.  Open your windows and turn on your vent fan.  Into the skillet, put:

2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Add the loins, one at a time, searing for about 60 seconds on each side, until each loin is nicely browned all over.  Remove them to a pan and let them rest.

Preheat the oven to 325F and place the rack in the center of the oven.

Into the empty skillet over medium high heat, add:

1 pound sliced mushrooms (any kind)

Unless your skillet is massive, it’s best to saute the mushrooms in batches so that they’re not crowded in the pan.  This allows them to brown and develop flavor.  Season them sparingly with salt when they are in the pan…this helps them give up their water so you get lots of flavor building up in the pan.  Once all your mushrooms are nicely browned, remove them from the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and add:

a bit of olive oil
2 shallots, minced

When the shallots begin to take on a little caramel color around the edges, add:

1 cup white wine

Scrape the bottom of the pan as the wine reduces, and once it is almost evaporated, add:

4 cups chicken stock (preferably unsalted)

Return the heat to high and boil rapidly until the stock is reduced by half.  While the stock is reducing, place a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the kangaroo loin.  If you are cooking several loins of differing sizes, put the thermometer into the smallest loin.  Place them into the 325F oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 120F.  Remove them from the oven and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before removing the thermometer or cutting them, or else they’ll lose all their juices.

(Now let’s chat about internal temp for a second.  NO game meat should EVER be cooked beyond medium rare, because they don’t have enough fat to keep them moist once the meat is cooked through.  Brining definitely helps, but I still recommend serving kangaroo loin no doner than medium rare.  Pulling the meat at 120F will land you somewhere between rare and medium rare by the time the meat has finished “coasting.”  Pull it at 115F if you like it rare, let it go to 125F if you want it between medium rare and medium.  Anything beyond 130F I would consider inedible, but for those who get really squeamish about pink meat, you can take it that for, or farther…just explain to your guests that they’ll be supping upon kangaroo boots for dinner.)

Make a “beurre manie,” a fancy French term for equal parts of butter and flour, by mashing together:

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Just smoosh them with a fork until they are completely mixed into a thick paste.  Once the chicken stock is reduced by half, lower the heat to medium and begin adding bits of the beurre manie, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken.  Return the mushrooms to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and let the sauce simmer for several minutes.  Keep the sauce warm until serving time.

When the loins have fully rested, cut them into slices and spoon the sauce on top.  And enjoy your very first taste of an incredible meat that, while very much like beef in terms of texture, has a mild and exotic flavor all its own.  You’ll be hooked!

Enjoy this little 10-minute video that shows you the process, step-by-step:

11 Responses to Kangaroo Loin with Mushroom Sauce

  1. That’s definitely going on the grill this summer. Can’t wait!

  2. sarah schafer

    I never thought of Kangaroo as “game meat” but it makes total sense. While I may never get to try this myself on Kangaroo, I do sometimes get a cut of venison and will definitely follow your advice. Thanks Ben!

  3. Dagnabbit, that’s one big rabbit!

  4. G’day Ben, I am an Aussie who became mesmerised with you the moment I saw your auditions on MCS02 here in Melbourne, Aus last week (not on TV but from the net)! You definitely have fans in our household and I was pleasantly surprised to find your blog, and hear of your Down Under adventures. You were definitely the standout in that competition and I fell so in love with your mother’s chef’s hats that I have used the pattern to construct a winter hat for me (fake fur tiger).

    Yes, we do eat ‘roo, & with some regularity, but not @ the frequency of lamb or beef. Try marinated ‘roo chops on the barbie, or replace ground beef (mince) with ground ‘roo. Delicious, gamier, and much leaner! ‘Roo is available in most cuts in nearly every butcher section of our supermarkets. ‘Roo is not perfect for some meat recipes that call for a delicate flavour though.
    Yes, kanagaroos are extremely cute, just as new born lambs are, but here they an be a farmer’s pest, can overpopulate (believe it or not) causing problems for themselves and the environment, and can be a real road hazard causing huge damage to vehicles and themselves. It is permitted for ‘Roos to be culled, and of course, ‘roo has formed a crucial part of the indigenous diet for thousands of years.

    They are still a native animal, and one I adore. My mum used to raise orphaned joey’s from the pouches of their road kill mum’s, and carried them with her in a shoulder bag so they were with her all the time. Once they were out of the pouch (shoulder bag) she would gently reintroduce them to their natural environment. She even carried her wriggling shoulder bag onboard flights with her to the horror of one flight attendant once.

    Strange, the two fauna emblems of our national coat of arms, we eat: the emu and the kangaroo! Does any other country have this dubious claim for their national coat of arms?

    Have you tried the humble yabbie yet in any of your recipes (fresh water prawn)?

    • Sue! How extraordinary…your message has really humbled me, thank you so much for taking the time to respond and I send my love to your family! I’m so glad you like my silly hats, I’ll pass that along to my mum! You are very correct, I don’t think Americans have the same image of kangaroos that the Aussies do. We think of them as cute, curious, cuddly creatures. But one afternoon of chat with an Aussie will definitely reveal otherwise.

      I LOVE the story of your mother raising the orphaned joeys, how precious!

      I think it’s quite dignified of a country to have the relationship to its coat of arms that you do. Food is the very backbone of society. No country can claim that its rise to prominence occurred without the humble foods that fed its farmers, its soldiers, its statesmen, and its citizens.

      I HAVE tried your massive freshwater prawns, and they are extraordinary!!

      I do hope to meet you and your family some day!

      Cheers!

  5. Not shocked or disgusted at all. Never knew kangaroo was a game meat. Looks really deliscious in the pics. Now I must try it. However, the video would not play but the frozen pizza ad did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *