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A new holiday tradition: Christmas goat

PINE BLUFF, Ark. -- Looking for a different centerpiece for the Christmas holiday meal? Why not consider goat, asks David Fernandez, Cooperative Extension Program livestock specialist at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“Goat is rapidly growing in popularity in the United States, but some Americans may be afraid to try goat because they think it will taste gamey,” Fernandez said. “This isn’t so. Goat is a mildly flavored, nutritious red meat.”

Goat can be difficult to find because grocery stores rarely carry it. If you ask at the meat counter, butchers will be happy to order it for you. You may also find it under the name chevon or cabrito.


            Roast Leg of Goat

            1 boneless, rolled and tied leg of goat (approximately 3 pounds)

            2 tablespoons butter

            2 tablespoons olive oil

            4 cloves minced garlic

            1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)

            1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper (to taste)

            1 tablespoon lemon juice

            1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings (to taste)

Heat butter and olive oil in cast iron pan. Add minced garlic and saute over medium heat. Rub kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper on roast. Sear roast on all sides and drizzle with lemon juice. Top with Italian seasonings, add one-half cup water to pan and cover roast loosely with aluminum foil. Place in preheated 275-degree oven until roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove roast from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Tip: If boneless leg is unavailable in the meat case, ask the supermarket meat cutter to bone a leg.

Goat producers interested in selling kids to the Christmas market need to plan their breeding calendar carefully.

“Most kids have been sold by July, and few are available in December so the Christmas market presents a real opportunity,” says Dr. Fernandez. Milk-fed, Christmas kids should weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. Assuming a 7-pound birth weight for your kids and an average growth rate of a half-pound per day, your does need to kid in mid-September. Does will need to be bred early to mid-April, which can be a difficult time of the year to breed goats.

Some goat breeds, such as Savannas and Myotonic goats, are easier to breed out of season than others. Be sure does are in good body condition to improve pregnancy rates. Two Extension fact sheets may help -- FSA 9607 Introduction to Goat Reproduction ( and FSA 9610 Body Condition Scoring Sheep and Goats ( For more information, contact Dr. Fernandez at (870) 575-7214 or

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


 By Carol Sanders 

UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Media Contact: Carol Sanders 
U of A-Pine Bluff
School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
(501) 671-2126

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