It’s a rare and glorious thing when everything aligns just so and a culinary wish turns to gustatory bliss. I’d just read a story in the New York times by Paula Disbrowe on the pleasures of barbecued goat meat (cabrito, or kid goat, specifically, which apparently is incredibly tender and sweet when slow roasted). Disbrowe, who developed a taste for the stuff while working on a ranch in Texas, points out that goat is the most popular meat in the world, which makes it all the more frustrating that it’s nearly impossible to find in markets in the U.S.
Ever since I first heard about restaurant chefs slow roasting this global peasant staple in exacting and transcendent ways, I’d been jonesing to try it myself but hadn’t yet tracked any goat meat down. Given the immigrant makeup of Los Angeles, I’m certain it’s out there at various butchers and carnicerias, but in the time-poor fog of parenthood, I’ve had to placate myself with the goat tacos at a taco place called Sermenos in Hollywood.
After reading the Times story and its delicious sounding recipes for goat tacos with thinly sliced radishes and Cabrito pate, I considered hopping in my car and driving east in search of a leg of kid goat for the kids. My usually supportive wife reminded me of the late hour of the day and the need for a reasonable bed time for the kids. She reminded me that we had the makings of a pizza in the fridge. I told her I’d have to eat two dinners, and headed to Sermeno’s with Desmond riding shotgun. And there it was: on the marker board standing in the parking lot: “Daily Special: Birria Platter, $5.25.” That would be a goat platter. I would be a happy man. I was even happier when Desi, seeing my platter of rice, lardy beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and lovely meltingly tender braised pieces of goat, ditched his kiddie chicken taco and ate his fill of the birria. While I’m guessing this wasn’t the prized cabrito, it was sweet, nowhere near gamy in flavor, and just perfect. Then Desi and went home and had some pizza with the ladies.