Kangaroo hops onto the Hell's Kitchen menu
Alternative meats are starting to come back into vogue these days and downtown Minneapolis hot spot Hell's Kitchen is hitching a ride on the alt-meat bandwagon in a big way. Late last week the restaurant started serving kangaroo steaks as one of the regular dinnertime meal options. According to a statement from the restaurant, the meat is incredibly sustainable, eco-friendly, and delicious.
The menu item has so far been a hit. According to Hell's Kitchen, they entirely sold out of their first lot within 24 hours of putting it on the menu. HK likens the flavor of the kangaroo to that of beef, but with a slightly sweeter, smokier flavor.
The staff at Hell's Kitchen understands the potential controversy that comes with serving meat that falls outside the realm of industrialized standards. In a statement, HK co-owner Cythnia Gerdes explains, "We're very aware of this potentially controversial addition to our menu. In fact, when our Executive Chef Joe Wuestenhagen first suggested it, I thought he was joking. But upon further research, I was stunned to learn that for years, Greenpeace has strongly urged more kangaroo consumption to help lower global warming."
Kangaroo meat has been a point of controversy in Australia for quite some time, but Hell's Kitchen cites a report commissioned by environmental activist organization Greenpeace that claims that increased consumption of kangaroo meat can help to lessen the overall impact of global warming. The report claims that because kangaroo meat is almost entirely harvested from free-range wild animals and because kangaroos produce minimal amounts of methane, increasing consumer demand for the meat could have an overall positive impact on the environment and lessen the overall environmental burden of industrial processed meats.
Since the report's release, Greenpeace has kept mostly mum about its stance on the consumption of kangaroo meat. There are a few cited instances that state that despite the findings of the report, it is not Greenpeace's official policy to promote the harvesting of kangaroo.
Despite the controversy, kangaroo meat is a highly regulated industry in Australia and the harvest is limited to only a few of the larger, densely populated kangaroo species. The meat is hunted in the wild by trained, licensed hunters before it is processed for the consumer market.
Kangaroo meat is also said to be a healthy alternative to other red meats because it's an exceptionally lean meat that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and other healthy fats. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is said to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties in which CLA can improve systemic insulin sensitivity and inflammation. While CLA is present in beef, it's found in substantially higher concentrations in animals that are grass-fed, and kangaroos can have up to five times the amount of CLA than beef.
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