Aoudad meat is edible. When prepared properly, it can be tasty even. I’m here to spread the word.
I spent five days last month in west Texas hunting aoudad with the good folks from Browning and Leupold. Aoudad (aka barbary sheep) are native to Africa and were transplanted to Texas and New Mexico right after WWII. Now, they thrive free-range along the Texas/Mexico border and wildlife biologists estimate there are more that 25,000 wild aoudad in the Lone Star state. Even though aoudad are technically a goat/antelope subspecies, everyone in Texas just calls them sheep.
Most of the knowledgeable people I’ve talked to about aoudad hunting said that I couldn’t eat the meat. More accurately, I could try to eat aoudad meat, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. Your dog won’t even eat it … scavengers don’t touch the carcasses … and on and on.
But, not being able to eat the meat of an animal I’ve killed detracts from the general experience of my hunt. I liked aoudad hunting. It’s a physically challenging hunt that requires glassing, stalking, and accurate shooting at fairly long distances. The terrain is rugged and beautiful, the animals are tough, exotic, and cagey. But, I wouldn’t be able to love aoudad hunting without being able to bring the meat home.
So I did. I’ll admit, aoudad do smell pretty awful (but so does a rutting bull elk). However, the aoudad meat itself didn’t smell bad and it was a rich, deep-red color. Knowing that aoudad are basically wild goats, I didn’t want to try to grilling it like you might grill a venison steak. Instead, I went with an adapted version of a Jamaican goat curry recipe I found on Food.com. It turned out to be the perfect meal on a cold February Sunday. The meat was tender and flavorful. The spices countered any gamey flavor of the aoudad. The broth was spicy but not overpowering. Here’s my version.
1 aoudad backstrap (cubed into large chunks)
6-8 tablespoons of curry powder
1 tablespoon of allspice
2 onions (chopped)
1 ginger root
6-7 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 can of coconut milk
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of red cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
A bunch of potatoes (mashed and buttery)
Trim the aoudad backstrap or roast and cube into hearty chunks. Season the meat in garlic, cayenne pepper, and curry. Bring a pan of oil, diced onions, and ginger to a sizzle and lightly brown the meat. Remove the meat and let it rest in a bowl.
Dice up an onion, a root of ginger, and 4-6 cloves of garlic. Place all of this into a blender and blend until the mixture runs smooth. Place the following your slow cooker: aoudad meat, the blended mixture, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 diced up jalapeño and two cups of water. Add thyme, allspice, and a whole lot of curry. Set your slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours. It’s ready when the meat gets nice and tender. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Now don’t get me wrong, aoudad meat isn’t the best wild game I’ve ever eaten. But, this meal was way better than just edible. My girlfriend liked it too, as a verified witness. So, if you’ve always dreamed of a challenging mountain sheep/goat hunt, but can’t afford a bighorn or mountain goat trip, then I’d highly recommend an aoudad hunt. And, make sure you pack along couple game bags.