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Greek Marinated Slow Roast Wallaby

If you are a vegetarian, probably better if you click away now.  But if you eat meat, I’d be interested to hear what you think.

We hit a wallaby on the way home a little while ago.  It was just on dusk, right when the wallabies become most active, and it just jumped out right under the van.

We stopped.  We always stop. I can’t bear the thought of an animal dying slowly and painfully injured on the road.   But this was a clean hit on the head at speed on the main road.  A fully grown but fairly young male red neck – the most common species in my area – in good condition.

I think if you eat meat, you have to accept that an animal dies.  This wallaby had a good free range life, and everything  becomes food for something, one way or another. Throwing it off the road didn’t seem like valuing the life. So we took it home and my partner skinned and butchered it into roasting pieces while I made a marinade.

Wallaby is very very lean meat with muscles that have done some work.  In some ways the meat is like wild goat meat, and so the kind of methods used in the Mediterranean countries to cook goat work well – curries, tagines, khoresh, and long slow roasts. It was the Greek slow cooked goat shoulder last week that prompted this post in fact.

For the wallaby, I decided on a Greek-style marinated slow roast, and invited 15 people for dinner the next night.

The Recipe:

Cut the wallaby into large roasting pieces and put them in a plastic container with a lid.  For a large wallaby, or a kangaroo, an esky makes a good container.

For this wallaby I made three cups of marinade.  Adjust to size.

Blend together:

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup of fresh oregano, thyme, lemon thyme and rosemary (go easy on the rosemary and heavy on the oregano).
  • lots of garlic

Pour the marinade over, toss to coat every piece, and leave in the fridge or on ice for 24 hours.

Roasting:

To get to falling off the bone tender, it should roast for about 4 hours in a low oven, being basted every hour in the beginning and half hour at the end.

Spread the meat out in baking trays in a single layer.  I fitted it in two large baking trays.  Divide the marinade up and pour over.  Add a cup of water to each baking tray. Cover with a lid.

Cook in a medium-low oven for about 4 hours.  After an hour, using tongs turn the meat.  Repeat after another hour, then every half hour. Don’t let it dry out.

Depending on how tightly lidded your baking trays are, you may have to add more water, or, at the end, remove the meat and turn the oven up high to reduce the last of the liquid.  You should end up with falling off the bone meat in a very small amount of concentrated jus.

This wallaby served 15 people for dinner.  It was tender and lemony and not at all gamey.  The opposite end of the spectrum to the polystyrene trays that meat comes in at the supermarket, but it felt very honourable.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Lorelle December 15, 2016, 6:04 pm

    I really don’t know how I feel about this. I think it does honour the animal that it is utilised to feed a family, and if left on the roadside would do the same for other native animals, but I still have an old problem in my head of could I do this? I don’t think I could, as I’d be a mess of tears at having killed the critter in the first place. I think you have made a pragmatic decision and I applaud you for it.

  • LINDA TZANOS December 15, 2016, 7:03 pm

    Wallaby in a Greek marinade. Strange combo but comes together when you mention the goat. A gift from the gods…greek gods?

  • Jane December 16, 2016, 1:22 pm

    I don’t have a problem with anyone eating kangaroo or wallaby in the circumstances you described, as long as it was healthy. I might worry a bit about parasites. When I was a child in rural England we used to pick up fresh rabbits and hares that way. Your wallaby was better off than most lamb or beef etc. in that it’s death was quick, no terrible trip to the abattoir. The only other concern would be this news article.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/kangaroo-meat-not-as-healthy-as-you-think-20130408-2hgyx.html

  • Linda December 16, 2016, 2:50 pm

    I think the slow cooking resolves the parasites issue. The one to worry about is rare meat (which some gourmets argue is how you should cook kanga) and toxoplasmosis, carried by cats. The L-carnitine issue I think is resolved by not eating wallaby or kanga at every meal. Luckily, we don’t hit that many of them 🙂

  • Jane December 16, 2016, 8:58 pm

    In the past I have eaten and enjoyed ox and lambs heart and also kidneys. Did you eat the wallaby offal? I don’t know if I would. Silly really as wallabies are herbivores like cattle and sheep.

  • Ruth December 18, 2016, 12:22 am

    I agree with your reasoning for eating the wallaby, and I admire anyone who knows how to do butchery. I wouldn’t know where to start, so I am dependant on those trays in the supermarket. I also have a sad memory of hitting a little roo with my car at dusk, it was injured but scrabbled off in to the bush and we couldn’t do anything for it. Maybe my New Years Resolution will be to try some of your kangaroo recipes.

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