Goat meat is becoming increasingly popular as a healthier alternative and less fatty and caloric alternative to lamb, other red meats, and even chicken. Goat meat has been proven to contain less saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories than lamb and contains more protein than lamb meat.
If you are wondering what the differences between goat and lamb meat are, and which one is the winner in the lamb vs. goat competition, read on to find out more about each type of meat, how to cook each, and when one is better to use than the other.
The main difference between lamb vs. goat is in the overall content of fat in each type of meat.
Goat contains 3g per 100g of fat and is much leaner than lamb, which contains about 17 to 21g of fat per 100g of meat. This clearly makes goat meat a better choice if you are looking for a leaner and healthier option when choosing the best meat for your diet.
But being less fatty and leaner makes goat meat tougher meat, which needs to be prepared via low and slow cooking methods such as smoking, roasting, or braising.
Lamb vs. goat – the differences
If you are wondering what the main differences between lamb and goat are, here are the essential ones to keep in mind:
The overall nutritional values
Goat meat has less saturated fat, less cholesterol, and is lower in calories than lamb. As such, it is considered healthier meat than lamb, as well as pork, beef, and even turkey and chicken.
At the same time, goat meat is very high in protein and has more iron than beef does.
So, it is a leaner and healthier meat than lamb and most other more popular meat types.
Nutritional values per 100g – lamb vs. goat
Total fat – 3g for goat and 21g for lamb
Protein – 27g for goat and 25g for lamb
Calories – 143 for goat and 294 for lamb
Cholesterol – 75mg for goat and 97mg for lamb
Iron – 3.7mg for goat and 1.9mg for lamb
The marbling of the meat
Most lamb cuts are fattier and contain more visible marbling than the majority of goat cuts.
Marbling is preferred by most cooks and pitmasters, as the fat of the meat renders and provides more juiciness and taste to the meat during the cooking process.
The flavor and texture
Due to the fact that it contains less fat and is significantly leaner than lamb, goat meat is tougher and harder to chew than lamb.
As for the flavor differences, goat is sweeter and can be gamier than lamb, depending on how the meat is prepared.
The sweetness of the goat can be enhanced when the meat is smoked, while it may be lost, and the meat can become tougher if it is grilled.
Goat meat – an overview
Goat meat is a type of red meat which is usually light pink to bright red in color and has light marbling visible along its surface.
The light marbling makes goat meat an excellent choice for low and slow smoking and cooking because the fat melts away and helps enrich the flavor of the meat, and makes it juicier when it is cooked at lower temperatures for long hours.
Most goat meat cuts come from young goats and are tender and juicy, making them a great choice for barbecue smoking.
When the cut is from an older animal that has not been castrated, it can be tougher and have a more distinct smell.
Lamb meat – an overview
Lamb meat, too, is red meat which can vary in color from light pink to light red. It is usually a cut from a young sheep during its first year. When the cut is from an older animal, the meat can be darker.
The young lamb meat is tender and juicy and is the top preferred kind, making it more expensive than cuts coming from older animals.
You can tell whether the lamb is from a young animal or an older one by inspecting the color of the meat.
Cooking goat meat
Since goat meat is lean, with minimal marbling and low-fat content, it can become tough when cooked at high temperatures. This makes it a better choice for low and slow smoking and barbecue instead.
With low and slow cooking, the goat meat will retain the moisture while the collagen is rendered in the meat.
It is usually used for stews and curries and is prepared via low and slow cooking and smoking.
If you want to prepare goat meat on a grill, it is highly recommended that you marinate the cut prior to the grilling. This will help prevent it from drying out and becoming tough due to the grilling.
As we already mentioned, lamb has a much higher fat content than goat and has more marbling than it as well. This makes it a better option for high and fast grilling than the goat. But the lamb’s fat has a deeper and gamier taste than the goat, which can be a turnoff for some people.
If you don’t like this type of flavor, you may want to trim the lamb from some of the fat before cooking it.
Overall, lamb is delicious and perfect when prepared on a grill, barbecue or when roasted.
The fat content and the cooking methods depend on the different cuts of the lamb.
Cuts with enough marbling are an excellent choice for roasting or slow cooking. The lamb shoulder cut is among the best options for smoking lamb.
Lamb chops are on the higher end when it comes to price, but they are absolutely worth it thanks to their fat content and delicious flavor. Lamb chops can be smoked or prepared on a grill and taste the best when finished with a seared finish on the outside while the inner part remains beautiful and pink.
The leg of the lamb contains less fat, making it more suitable for slow barbecuing or roasting. It is good to marinate the leg before cooking it to ensure that it stays moist and tender during the cooking.