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Kangaroo Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

June 30, 2011

I’ll eventually include wallaby in my Tasmanian produce series, but for today I’ll be talking kangaroo. Tasmania, does of course have one species of true kangaroo, the Forrester’s kangaroo, but they’re a wholly protected species. Anyway, I digress.

Kangaroo meat is becoming much more widely available these days; even the larger supermarkets commonly stock a range of steaks, roasts, sausages (“kanga bangas”), burgers and mince.

I know some of you will react in horror at eating “Skippy”, but, well, if you have no compunction at eating baby baa-lambs and moo-cows, then what’s the problem? In fact, from both ethical and environmental views, there is a lot to recommend ‘roo meat.

With regards to animal welfare, kangaroos are game meat: they simply grow in the wild, and being well adapted to do so, will do fairly well even in the harshest of times in Australia’s notoriously fickle climate. Unlike domesticated livestock, kangaroos simply live out their lives in the wild, until – bang! – goodnight, nurse. Kangaroos don’t spend any time in feedlots, being transported long distances, or experience the distress of the abattoir.

Environmentally, there is a lot to recommend ‘roo meat. Soft-footed kangaroos cause much less damage to soils than cattle. Uncontrolled kangaroo populations can also lead to overgrazing and environmental degradation in National Parks. The kangaroo industry is heavily regulated. An annual quota, based on population surveys, is issued to licensed hunters. The RSPCA has described Kangaroo harvesting as “one of the most humane methods of animal slaughter possible”.

Kangaroo also has a lot to recommend it on health grounds: despite common concerns about disease, kangaroos are generally very healthy animals, and relatively little meat is rejected by hygiene inspectors. Kangaroo meat is very lean, generally only about 2% fat, protein rich, and a good source of iron and other nutrients.

The leanness of ‘roo meat does have a drawback, though: it’s very important not to overcook kangaroo, or it becomes very tough. So if you like your steaks well-done, then ‘roo is probably not for you. Kangaroo should be cooked to medium-rare.

Luckily this recipe is quite easy, and a delicious introduction to eating ‘roo.

What do I need?

  • 1 Cup of dry, red wine
  • 2-3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Small red onion
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 750g of kangaroo steaks or fillets
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup of cream

 What do I do?

Combine the red wine, crushed garlic, finely chopped onion and chopped chilli. Pour the mixture on to the meat and marinade it for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Take the meat out of the marinade. Make sure you drain the meat well; if there is too much liquid in the pan, the meat will stew. Put the marinade aside for later.

Heat a frying pan on high until it’s good and hot. Drizzle some oil in the pan, and fry the steaks for about 3-4 minutes a side.

The best way to tell how well done a steak is, is to poke it with a pair of tongs – never cut the steak! When you sear the outside, it locks in a lot of the juices. Cutting the steak will let the juices out and make the meat drier.

Prod the meat with the tongs to see how firm it is. A chef once explained it to me this way: Pinch the webbing between the forefinger and thumb of one of your hands. If you feel right up at the joint of your thumb and finger, that’s well-done meat should feel. A bit further down is medium, and so on. Use the picture below as reference.

hand guide to cooking steak

How to use the firmness of your hand as a guide to cooking a steak

When the steaks are cooked, put them on a plate, cover them with foil, and place them to rest in a warm (about 75°C/170°F) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the steaks are resting, pour the reserved marinade into the pan, add the cream, and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes or so, until it’s reduced and thickened.

To get a really smooth sauce, you can strain it through a sieve into a bowl, and discard the remains of the onions, garlic and chilli.

Serve with mashed potato and/or sweet potato (the sauce goes brilliantly with mashed sweet potato) and some steamed vegetables.

What’s that, Skip? You taste delicious with red wine?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2011 3:27 pm

    This looks fantastic, although obviously I can’t get kangaroo here without paying through the nose. My wife was so disappointed we didn’t see any in the wild when we went to Australia.

    • June 30, 2011 4:19 pm

      Bugger, on both counts.

      750g of ‘Roo steaks cost me $10 – which is almost exactly the same in USD these days.

      You should definitely come to Tasmania. Your wife would love pademelons: they’re a large-ish wallaby that basically look like a furry beach ball. They’re endemic to Tasmania, and quite common. I’ve occasionally seen them hopping around the streets of our town at night.

      We usually take visitors for a barbecue at a place called Baker’s Beach, in Nawrantapu National Park – wallabies and ‘roos come and hang around for a handout, and will sometimes take food from your hand. At dusk you’ll also see wombats trundling around.

      We frequently see echidnas around here, too. A couple of times, I’ve had to stop the car, and shoo one off the road.

      Actually, that’s something that often shocks visitors to Tassie – the amount of roadkill. But in its way, that’s a good sign – it means there’s lots of wildlife around.

      Devils are getting rarer, due to the facial tumour disease, but you’ll sometimes see quolls, of a night.

  2. July 1, 2011 5:26 pm

    Kanga Bangas – love it! Great post, will be back for more soon….

  3. July 4, 2011 7:47 am

    Oh my goodness, this looks like a restaurant dish! It looks beautiful and I’m so curious how it tastes like!

    • July 5, 2011 2:47 am

      It does? Wow, thanks 🙂

      My kids always roll their eyes and laugh when I take photos of something I’ve just dished up.

      Kangaroo is like a cross between lean beef and venison,


  1. How to cook kangaroo « A Bloke Who Can Cook

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