It's hard to believe that it's been twelve years since the first Goat Roast was held here at the farm. I think about two dozen brave souls turned out to try goat meat. I also remember having lots of leftovers which led to the addition of smoking a turkey or two as the tradition repeated itself each Labor Day. Over the years, I've also served roasted pig, sausages and yes, yak burgers from that nasty Tibetan Yak of which I had great dreams of milking that went up in the flames that cooked those tasty burgers. And throughout the years, Mother Nature has blessed us with mostly good weather whether it be holding off to pour until after the ice cream has been served or cooling off the stifling heat with a brief passing shower, as was the case this year. But whatever the circumstances, there two things that have remained constant--great food and wonderful friends.
The first goat roasted here was the first born male of the farm, offspring of my beloved Peaches. Throughout the years, some of the goats have been 4-H projects from friends' children as well as ones from the farm. Often I had them processed at a local butcher shop or by friends, but this year marked the first year that I was fortunate to partake in the entire process of feeding my family and friends from conception to serving platter--100% of the process, including the slaughtering, burning off the hair, putting on the spit and roasting. flame-thrower!
Thanks to the skin being left on, stuffing the belly with aromatic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices is much easier. This year I used ripe figs, peaches, nectarines, limes, jalapeno peppers, basil and thyme with a white truffle balsamic glaze. In roasting a goat, there are two things I cannot do without--a Kane BBQ with Kane Klamps and turkey lacing pins. The Kane Klamps are these lovely little gadgets that keep the carcass secure on the spit so it doesn't slip while roasting. And if you are going to stuff the belly (this includes for lamb and pigs, too), I recommend using those simple metal pins you get for lacing up a turkey. Place them across the slit and then lace like a football--none of that awkward sewing with a wire. Plus, when the time comes to open the belly, you simply just pull the pins!
In roasting whole animals, this is another trick I learned as the years have rolled by. Secure the animal to the spit before lighting it. For years I braved the heat trying to set the bar in the pin and motor while the coals were roaring. This royally sucks. Instead I now secure the goat on the spit and then remember that flame-thrower? It's awesome for lighting either the charcoal or wood, whichever you decide to use. I don't even take the charcoal out of the bags. It's that easy...honest! Heck, I don't even take off the feet and head anymore either. One of the goat roast guests is from Nigeria and that is his treat to take home from which he makes the most delicious traditional African Pepper Soup.
As I strive to practice what I preach, several years ago I gave up buying sodas and commercial drinks, especially those with high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. At first I wondered what the reaction of my guests would be and it turned out to be quite positive. Instead of a cooler full of cans & bottles, I now get out jugs & pitchers and enjoy setting out an assortment of fresh water, lemonade, iced tea and everyone's favorite, homemade Sangria!
The tables are set up and ready for the guests to arrive and begin setting out the goodies for the feast! Friends who have arrived early to help set up visit while getting ready.
And then there are those who arrive at the Goat Roast in style!
It's a time for the neighbors to visit.
It's a time for family and friends to spend together.
And of course, doggies are always welcome. This year's doggy treats were fresh chicken heads!
Wait! That's not a dog...it's a Goon with a Goat!
Plenty of new faces this year.
And lots of familiar ones who have come out year after year.
Believe it or not, this year's home made ice cream started with a dozen fatty stewing hens harvested for their golden globs of fat perfect for making schmaltz and matzo ball soup as the Jewish New Year began the day after Labor Day this year. Several of my customers at market had asked about them and so I planned to have them available as requested. As the processor began dispatching and cleaning the hens, out came the immature eggs from within, all sizes from ready to be laid to just beginning to grow. Did I want to keep them? Oh, absolutely! And I knew just where they were to be used...making an insanely rich custard that would then be churned into ice cream at the 12 Annual Painted Hand Farm Labor Day Goat Roast and Picnic--only the very best for my guests!And as it turned out, this was by far the BEST fresh peach ice cream I ever made.