Fire-Roasted Barbecued Goat
Many years ago I was asked to test and edit a recipe for cabrito — young goat — roasted over wood. I had a fire pit that was moderately deep and of a generous width, lined and topped with iron grates and edged with stone. I had a good supply of hardwood that we kept for feeding the two wood stoves that heat our house through the long New Hampshire winters. All I needed was the meat, a whole — though small — hindquarter.
My search took me to a local sheep and goat farm that had escaped my notice because it was tucked out of sight except for a small sign by the road. I was looking for meat from a kid of no more than 12 pounds. The type of goat didn’t matter as much as that it had been milk-fed so the flavor of the meat would be delicate and clean.
The long slow cooking over the fire was a memorable experience, the hours of tantalizing aroma a promise of the meal to come. Once fire-roasted cabrito is smoky, brown, and crisp on the outside, wrapping it in foil and finishing it in the oven keeps the meat moist and tenderizes it so that it falls apart at a touch. It needs little embellishment when served. A garnish of cilantro and crisp radish add color and a counterpoint of texture. The meat can be wrapped with a tortilla or served on a plate. Salsa adds a touch of piquancy. Sides of salad, beans, cornbread and beer will add to the feast, but what will be remembered long afterward is the succulent, tender slow-roasted meat.
First published August 2015