Friday, March 2, 2012

Kangaroo Tenderloin

Yes, you read that right. I made kangaroo tenderloin medallions tonight. No, they aren't difficult to make at all, although you need to keep on your toes.

Kangaroo is not domesticated, but instead is still hunted in the wild. The reason is simple; they die when attempted to be herded. Still, when you look at the meat, it is fairly astonishing. As you can see above, the color is a very livid purple. About the only way I can describe it is it is like dark meat on fowl. And this is the tenderloin no less.

I'm going to say this again, but it can not be stressed enough. Kangaroo is exceedingly lean. Look at the pictures I post here- show me one tiny piece of fat. There isn't any. Well, technically there is, but it is easily under 3%. This is about as lean as it gets.

Now, you see that purple, you hear about kangaroo, you worry about gameyness and flavor, right? Well, you don't need to so much. The gameyness flavor comes from two factors- the age of the Roo and the length of time since it was killed. Most butchers will have the meat frozen, which means that the length of time is no longer an issue. And hunters pretty much go for the young Roos, so that isn't a big deal either.

I'm not one of those people who like gamey meat. I had no problems with kangaroo. The flavor is almost exactly that of a very nice steak. Almost. There is a subtle background hint of a flavor which is different, but many people simply will not be able to tell the difference. Which is fine, as kangaroo meat is actually extremely healthy.

So, you have your kangaroo tenderloin medallions, you are reassured about the gameyness factor, you just want to eat the fucking things. Now what?

I set the medallions on a plate and poured all the extra juice I had over them. Then I sprinked salt on top of the meat. You see I had a fair amount of meat. For this, I sprinkled three generous pinches of simple Morton's salt. Why no sea salt? I don't have any at the moment.

I set the meat aside on the counter and left it alone at room temperature for five hours. You can eave it overnight in your fridge if you cover it. This allowed the salt to draw moisture out from the meat, form a brine, then become re-absorbed by the meat, flavoring the meat all the way through. Plus, the extra juice I poured on top was also almost completely absorbed. After five hours, the top of the meat was dry to the touch, but that is okay.

I heated my griddle with a generous amount of olive oil spread onto the grill. Again, I emphasize the leanness of the meat. Because of this, the meat will dry out if you are at all careless with it. This is a meat which can NOT be cooked past medium at the most, but really should be cooked to rare/medium rare.

But how to achieve this best? The secret is frequent flipping. Yes, they always tell you to flip only once. You know what? That's bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit, as you will see in a moment. Flip as much as you like. These tenderloin medallions were flipped around once per minute. This allowed them to cook from both sides at the same time.

Note: the top of the steak where the salt was sprinkled will be a darker bluish-purple, while the bottom will be redder, as seen in the above picture. While cooking, that bluish-purple color does not necessarily go away 100%. Do not be fooled into thinking that this means that the meat is still raw. Just keep flipping.

I cooked these for a total of roughly ten to fifteen minutes. Yes, I know that is a large range, but I don't remember exactly the time. Plus, my grill isn't exactly even of heat, so if you have a better setup, ten minutes should be fine.

Your beautifully cooked steaks will need to rest a full ten minutes. As always, don't fuck around with that time- it allows the juices to flow from the interstitial spaces back into the cells, keeping the meat juicy and moist.

The final product? See for yourself:

Only needs to be flipped once? Fuck you. That is one of the most beautifully rare steaks I have ever eaten in my life.