How Was Your Ostrich Meat Dinner?

It’s too bad that I chose Monday this week to go to my local farmers market, because my favorite Angus Beef farmer wasn’t there.  In the next booth, I gained a quick education about Ostrich meat and left with my first Ostrich steak from Hilltop Ostrich farm in Winston/Salem, N.C.

Ostrich filet with 4-Rice and Cranberry blend, Sauteed julienne peppers and squash

Ostrich filet with 4-Rice and Cranberry blend, Sauteed julienne peppers and squash

Ostrich meat is very lean, yet still similar in protein value to chicken, turkey, beef, pork, veal or venison.  Per 100 grams of cooked, lean meat, Ostrich has only 3.1 grams of fat when compared to 9.3 grams for beef, or 7.4 grams for skinless chicken, so I’m intrigued.   But, where do I find an Ostrich recipe?

Luckily, I can call upon my basic cooking methods and ask myself, “self, what else do you cook that’s similar to this Ostrich meat?”  The protein product I’m pondering looks just like a filet of beef tenderloin, except it’s much more red and has little marbling.  “I certainly know how to cook a beef steak, let’s use the same method on an ingredient I’ve never cooked before,” I reasoned.

The Ostrich meat is much too thick for a direct source heat like a sauté pan.  While the item will certainly brown on the outside, I’m afraid it will take too long on the stove top to cook completely.  I’ve decided on my cast-iron pan because it can be placed in the oven to cook under indirect, convective heat, while still searing the outside for great plate appeal.  With the oven and pan heated to 450f, and my wireless digital thermometer in place, I roast the filet to an internal temperature of 130f, my personal steak number.

After letting it rest, it slices and looks like beautiful rare roast beef, but with a much cleaner, yet blander, flavor.  It has a wonderful texture and mouth feel reminiscent of beef, without all the fattiness of steak, and I didn’t find a bit of grizzle in Ostrich.

I’m not sure if it’s my mind’s expectation that this protein product that looks like filet mignon should have more defining flavor, or just that the Ostrich was bland.  I wanted to cook the item without marinades or heavy seasonings to get the naked flavor of the meat, but next time I would use an acidic marinade, cover with an earthy mushroom sauce, or smoke the Ostrich meat, giving it the flavor profile that the unadulterated steak doesn’t have.

Now, I’m on the path to writing my own Ostrich meat recipe.  With basic cooking methods in mind, I can alter outcomes that didn’t meet my expectations, and adjust for successful results next time.  It’s certainly more exciting to teach myself the best way to cook Ostrich meat, than waste the time and money searching for an Ostrich recipe.

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About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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