Kangaroo Burgers for the win! No, seriously, I mean it. The next time you want to try something a little more adventurous when it comes to the average burger, which also packs a great big flavour punch to your tastebuds, try swapping regular beef mince for Kangaroo and you will not be disappointed! Then again, this recipe tastes just delicious even without Kangaroo meat (because I’m guessing not many of you reading this will have a easy access to Kangaroo meat, am I right?) because that sweet and tangy beetroot relish, oozing with the flavours of orange and tarragon, will transform any boring burger into a BBQ superstar!
And suddenly there was a moment of silence. I was sitting in my study/ “studio” staring at my computer screen waiting expectantly for a reply. On the screen was my mum’s face, staring out at me from the video panel of Skype, from her kitchen some fifteen thousand kilometres away on the Island of Crete, Greece. She stared into her laptop’s built-in camera with a look of confusion, of bewilderment, of surprise, and of distrust, all bundled together in a single comical expression.
But still she did not say a word.
I wondered if there was a problem, a glitch of some kind. Talking via Skype over such a distance, despite our esteemed technological advances, does have its occasional hiccups and I’m more than used to the frequent “frozen screen” moments during our lengthy Skype conversations. It didn’t help that, until recently, my own internet connection was fickle at the best of times and Mum’s – connected to her house in a rural Cretan Village – was also sporadic in its quality in speed so that the image I saw of her was, more often than not, very similar to that of a character from minecraft.
But this was not a frozen screen. I could still hear the Cicadas singing in the background, strumming out their incessant and familiar Mediterranean symphony. No, no frozen screen, Mum was simply looking into the camera, lost for words.
Perhaps there wass a delay – again, a technological hiccup one gets used to. Perhaps she hadn’t heard what I had said, perhaps the digital form of my voice was still whizzing about the globe, yet to arrive in Crete and present itself through the speakers of Mum’s aging computing device.
But the look on her face told me this was not the case. She heard me just fine, and was now trying to process the words I have spoken and, after what seems like an age, she finally replied:
“You’re eating Skippy?”
I should back up here for a second. It is common for mum and I’s conversations on Skype to somehow make it to the subject of food. I’m a food blogger and she’s a natural health specialist so it only seems natural that food be among one of the things we talk about.
More often than not, it’s a simple case of “what are you having for dinner tonight” and this is what had just happened. I told mum I needed to go because I had to cook dinner. She asked me what I was cooking – full of interest, I may add – and I told her I was cooking Kangaroo. More specifically: Kangaroo Burgers (I was, indeed, testing out this very recipe).
And that’s where the interest, on her part, ended. That’s when the silence came, and the comical expression of confusion, bewilderment, and surprise spread across her face, quickly followed by disdain.
Because mum’s a vegetarian. Not in the “save the animals sense” but more out of preference; she simply does not like the taste of meat (although this preference sometimes flies – nay, catapults! – out the window such as during Greek Easter celebrations when she’ll devour pieces of lamb like there is no tomorrow). Most of the time my descriptions of meat-based dishes are met with indifference; she likes the sound of what I’m cooking, but has no interest in trying it for herself.
But today, because I’m cooking Kangaroo – aka “Skippy” the Kangaroo, from the kid’s TV show – there is no indifference, its horror. It was like I’d decided to eat Lassie, or Flipper, or Simba.
Of course we laugh at this now, and it’s become a bit of a joke. And, I get it, perhaps to those of you outside of Australia, the thought of eating Kangaroo seems a little weird, downright strange, even. Sure, Australians are probably one of the only countries to eat their own national emblem but it really is quite normal.
I say normal, but I don’t want to give you the impression that everyone here in Australia devours Kangaroo by the bucket load – it’s not the “down under” version of chicken. To be honest the eating of Kangaroo is quite low. You can buy Kangaroo steaks and ground kangaroo meat in the supermarket, and you’ll find it occasionally on the local pub menu, but it’s not widely eaten by the everyday Australian.
It’s best to think of Kangaroo like other game meats such as Venison, Wild Boar, rabbit, etc. It’s an occasional meat that’s eaten from time to time by those who like to dabble around in the game-meat areas of eating life, but the usual suspects of Beef, chicken and Pork are still the usual suspects.
The Benefits of Kangaroo Meat
Or should I say the argued benefits of Kangaroo meat because, just like beef, pork, chicken – or any other type of meat – the health, environmental and socio-political benefits of Kangaroo meat are debated to no end.
First of all, Kangaroo meat has been touted as a “healthy meat” for it is incredibly lean, packing a nifty protein punch whilst only containing 1g of fat per 100g of meat (as opposed to 6.3g in beef, 5.8g in lamb, and 1.6g in chicken – and, again, these figures will greatly change depending on you resource!)
Kangaroo meat also contains high levels of Zinc, Iron, Omega-3s and Conjugated linoleic acid, which helped it gain its significant “healthy meat” label.
Environmentally speaking – and I am, in no way whatsoever, going into detail about this because this blog and post is not the time or place for such matters – Kangaroo meat has been labelled as environmentally friendly because the harvesting of wild Kangaroos keeps control of their pest-level numbers in certain areas of the country which, according to some sources, are a threat to Australia’s already fragile ecosystem. It is also argued that, harvesting wild Kangaroo is much friendlier to the environment than say the commercial rearing of livestock such as cattle which have been heavily implicated in the climate change debate.
Then again there are also enough arguments, also from reliable/ noteworthy sources, out there to suggest Kangaroo meat is not healthy for you, and it is not environmentally friendly and you should stay away from it – just like any other meat. Blah, Blah, Blah….
But, as I said, I’m not going to get into this debate on this post or blog because the benefits, or lack of, when it comes to eating meat of any kind are always in a constant state of debate.
But I will say that just like eating fats, drinking alcohol, eating cheese, eating other red meats, or stuffing yourself full of kale, I think eating Kangaroo meat is fine and good for you, if eaten in moderation ←←←key word! ☺️
But enough of this boring talk, let’s get to the burgers…
Yes, burgers made of Kangaroo meat – we are going to be this weird and crazy.
Of course – ***Disclaimer*** – you certainly DO NOT have to use Kangaroo meat to make these burgers because, I’m guessing, if you’re reading this post somewhere outside of Australia, the sourcing of Kangaroo meat is certainly going to be a difficulty. No, you can make this with your favourite type of meat because, once it has been mixed together with onions and herbs and grilled to Burger perfection on your griddle pan or BBQ, it’s still going to taste just as awesome.
And then you’re going to put it in a burger bun – or serve it on a plate sans bread – and top it with a sweet and tangy Beetroot relish (because, here in Australia, a burger is not a burger without beetroot – also another debated topic!) that is bursting with the flavours of orange and tarragon. And then, if you want, you can pile it high with other toppings such as bacon, fried onions, lettuce, tomatoes, a fried egg (there has to be a fried egg!) – whatever you want!
And then you’re going to stuff into face like you would with any other burger.
So, until next time foodies.
Kangaroo Burgers with a Beetroot, Orange and Tarragon Relish
Your next BBQ is about to get a little weird, but whole lot tasty, with these Kangaroo burgers topped with sweet and tangy relish of beetroot, orange and tarragon.
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes, plus resting time
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 17 minute
- Yield: 4 Burgers | 1 Cup of relish
For the Burgers
- 700g ground kangaroo meat (mince), or other meat of choice such as beef or lamb
- 1 large brown onion, grated
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ¼ to ½ cup panko (breadcrumbs)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 50g grated parmesan/ other strong flavoured cheese, optional but highly recommended
- 1/2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- generous pinch of salt
For the Beetroot Relish
- 300g fresh beetroot, finely diced (see note 1)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small brown onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp, finely chopped tarragon leaves
- Zest and juice of one large orange
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup of red wine (I used a shiraz – see note 2)
- 50g Muscovado sugar (see note 3)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- generous pinch salt
- Burger buns, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes (of whatever you like to put on your burgers)
To make the burgers:
- Place all the burger ingredients into a large bowl and massage together with your hands until combined. The mixture should be wet but should hold together if shaped into a patty, add a little more bread crumbs if it is still too wet.
- Divide the burger mixture into four, and shape into burger patties and place in the fridge for at least twenty minutes, but an hour is preferred.
- Cook the burgers via your preferred method, such as in a pan on your stove at medium high heat, for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side – or on your BBQ. Serve immediately.
For the Beetroot Relish
- In a pan, over medium heat, cook the onion in the olive oil for five or so minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another thirty seconds or until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until combined. Bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a steady simmer and cook for a further fifteen to twenty minutes (it may take up to thirty depending on how steady your simmer is) until most of the liquid in the pan has reduced. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a steralised jar and store in the fridge until needed.
- I highly recommend working with fresh beetroot as if it was a bio-hazardous material otherwise you will quickly find your hands, work benches, plates and knives and anything else the beetroot comes into contact with stained a deep shade of purple. So make sure you at least wear gloves on your hands (I learnt this the hard way). I also covered my chopping board in plastic wrap.
- The choice of wine is completely up to you but is also optional, I just like the flavour it brings out in the relish. As an alternative you can swap the wine for vegetable stock, or even just water.
- Again, I used muscovado sugar for it’s flavour and, when it comes to sugar, I prefer to use the most unprocessed forms as I can. You can use any sugar/ sugar alternative you like although, if you are using white sugar, I would cut the amount down by half, otherwise the relish will become too sweet.
- The relish can be stored in a sterilised, air tight container, in your refrigerator for up to three months