By Grant McGee: Columnist
On a recent trip to Roswell, I got to thinking about eating goat. There were frozen cuts of goat in the freezer of a grocery store there.
Before I came to the Great American Southwest I only thought of goats as critters for milk, feta cheese and tree trimming, who butted you if you got in their space.
I was working in Roswell when I first learned the delights of eating goat. A customer invited me to his house for barbecue and cervezas.
Upon arriving at Mountain Man’s mobile home on the south side of Roswell (where he raised goats) he shoved a fur covered cold one in my hand.
The fur covering was to keep the can cool; most folks would call it a coozie. Most of the time coozies are foam. This one was not. I turned it around in my hand.
“Know what that is?”
“I have no idea,” I said.
Then he told me.
It was a moment I’ll always remember.
I could use the florid language Mountain Man used, but this isn’t the time or place. Let’s just say this natural fur-covered coozie was a severed, cleaned body part found on one gender of goats.
The next day I told my buddy Kent about the meal of smoked goat I shared with Mountain Man, his wife Nighthawk and their son Snake Boy. I also told him about the goat heads on the fence posts and the unique coozie.
Kent looked at me for a moment.
“Where DO you meet these people?”
I can’t say much about my first taste of goat. It was OK: smoked and kind of gamey.
Mountain Man obviously thought I enjoyed the goat because he dropped by the next week with a pot full of goat soup. It was seriously gamey, greasy stuff.
The boss came in a bit later and wanted to know what was stinking up the building. I told him about the soup. He snatched up the pot, trotted out the back door and dumped the contents a good distance away in a nearby field.
The next time I had goat was at a party in Loco Hills, east of Artesia. Among the tasty dishes was cabrito that had been roasting in a pit all day.
I told the host about my goat soup experience.
“Oh no,” he said, “that must’ve been an older goat. Cabrito is a young one, a kid.”
I hadn’t tasted roasted meat that good in years.
The first time I ran into goat being sold in a restaurant was during my truck driving travels at a restaurant in Pomona, Calif. I always tried to eat at places that might offer some local flavor. This eatery had birras on the menu. I asked what that was.
“Goat,” said the man behind the counter. “Very good. You want salsa with that?”
It was my first goat burrito. Whenever my travels took me back there I had some more.
I try to remain open to new gustatory experiences. It’s how I ended up eating some kind of braided, chewy meat at a Sinaloan party. That’s another story.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: