I don’t profess to know a lot about camels other than what you learn in grade school about them. That and beings able to tauntaun one if you have a sharp knife, little sense of a smell and in are in need of a makeshift shelter in a sand storm.
While trying to keep that horrible image out of my mind, I picked up a camel strip loin steak while I was at St. Lawrence Market yesterday. There’s a particular butcher there that has a speciality counter for game and wild birds, and although I wouldn’t exactly call a camel a wild animal, it definitely is out of the ordinary for a Toronto menu.
I opted to cook it with the barest of seasonings, just some simple salt and pepper, before grilling it. I really wanted the natural flavours to come out of the meat. And they did.
At first bite it really does taste like a beef strip loin, but I think it’s the fatty bits that have a much more distinctive taste to them. When eaten in small bits with the meat, the fat brings a real earthiness to the taste. But, unlike beef steaks, I had a hard time just chomping down on a piece of it on its own. It was just too overpowering, and pungent, in large quantities.
It’s also pretty chewy, much chewier than I expected really. but it wasn’t like it was filled with gristle, there wasn’t a piece of gristle on it as a matter of fact. It’s just more fibrous texture than I’m used to when eating meat. Not that it was a bad thing, a few extra chews it went down fine.
There’s also the price to consider when buying this, it’s much more expensive than your average grilled piece of cow. It was nearly $15 for a pretty small portion, but it turned out to be just the right size for lunch.
But then again, I’m pretty sure you won’t find one of these at The Keg any time soon.