Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alien Ingredient #10: Nilgai Antelope

The only antelope I have cooked before is our native Pronghorn which was objectionably gamy, so hoping for a tasty antelope, I was happy to get my hands on some Nilgai, a large—huge in comparison to Prongers—wary, and speedy antelope which is native to northern India and Pakistan, but which is now escaped in great numbers and thriving in south Texas, where it is considered a nuisance.

You see here a big hunk of leg that I have started breaking down into 5-ounce steaks. We grilled the meat straight away to medium rare just to check the flavor profile. The flavor is beefy (grass-fed beef) with a venison overtone, nothing objectionable at all. You can see in the photo that there is almost no intramuscular fat, similar to venison or ostrich. The texture of this leg meat, while not at all tough, has a decided chew to it. I actually like the texture which is more like New York strip than tenderloin.

Customers were not at all happy with having antelope as a choice on the menu. I just barely covered the cost of the antelope before having to pitch it. Nobody, but nobody was willing to try it, no matter how hard the servers sold it.

Vote: While not objectionable in any way, the flavor just isn't there to support the monstrous price tag. We'd eat it again, but for slightly less money, we'd rather have an awesome elk steak.

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