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Apr 15, 2005 01:21 PM

Ostrich meat and liver?

  • c

I had ostrich liver pate and ostrich tenderloin the other night. First time for both.

The ostrich liver pate also contained rabbit liver, which was not indicated on the menu. The pate actually tasted terrible w/ all kinds of competing flavors, resulting in an unpleasant melange of bitter, sour, sharp, and muddy. Texture was also off putting, as it was clumpy and not as silky smooth as a more elegant mousse. I was expecting they'd cut some of the strong organ flavor w/ cream, maybe cognac, but no such thing. Since I'd never had ostrich/rabbit liver before, I couldn't judge if it was "off" or if this was fresh but just poorly executed.

The ostrich tenderloin was grilled and I went w/ the kitchen's suggestion of medium rare. It actually came out a little past medium but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of our meal to send it back. Looked like a cross btwn. beef and duck. Tasted slightly beefy but gamey. Very lean and soft texture but not as juicy or tender as I had hoped.

Since this was a first for me, I have no point of reference beyond thinking that there surely must be better versions of these dishes out there. For those who have experience w/ ostrich meat and/or liver, what are your opinions? Can it be spectacular or is it one of those "exotic" meats that sounds interesting but really isn't all that exciting? Since it's so lean, is it best to order rare? Even though I wasn't impressed w/ their dishes, they have an ostrich burger on the menu that I do wonder about...thanks for any info.

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    1. Carb Lover, I have had Ostrich prepared several different ways. In my opinion, it's not going to become the next big food sensation. What you need to experience in Monkfish liver. I've had this as Fois Gras (in a sushi restaurant) and recently cold smoked as a Tapas. This stuff is fantastic. I'd eat it on a stick if I could find it...

      7 Replies
      1. re: Leper

        Yeah, I'm a big monkfish liver fan myself. Only had it a couple of times in sushi restos, which is simply not enough.

        I'm presuming that ostrich may be like rabbit (which I've never had). Sounds and looks good, but not as exciting as a nice juicy steak. Oh well...

        1. re: Carb Lover

          Ostrich isn't really like rabbit at all. Rabbit is more like a cross between veal and chicken.

          Ostrich is more like free range pork or beef.

          1. re: JudiAU

            Thanks for everyone's responses about rabbit. Didn't mean to imply that ostrich and rabbit taste similar; more that they both may fall in the "interesting" category but may not be as satisfying as a hunk of beef for me.

            Now I'm interested in rabbit though. In fact, that resto that served me ostrich has a "rabbit two ways" on the menu...although I don't recall the two preps. What is the optimal level of doneness for rabbit?

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Rabbit loin is best done on the slightly rare side. If I was asked, probably medium rare. You want a bit of pinkness. I much prefer if they take it off the bone, otherwise it has an unfamiliar bone structure and can be hard to eat.

              Rabbit legs are braised generally and usually cooked until yielding. I don't think you would specify doneness on these.

              1. re: JudiAU

                This brings back fond memories, as a child our Sunday "special" meal of the week was often rabbit that we or our neighbors had raised. My favorite version was dusted with flour and fried in a big cast iron skillet as you would chicken. Other times it would be braised in a stew with dumplings added on top at the end.

          2. re: Carb Lover

            Carb Lover, I cannot believe a carnivore like you has not had rabbit. It's even better than chicken for a chef's palette. Rabbit has absolutely no cholesterol. (Not that a true Chowhound cares.) I suggest you make a bunny for Mother's day. They're tasty.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Haven't tried ostrich, but do try that bunny ... wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

              First time I had it was at French Laundry and was unimpressed. However, I had it this year for a second time elsewhere and it was a revelation. The rabbit was fall off the bone tender and the whole preparation was amazing.

              This may sound unappetizing, but while the texture of the meat is like chicken, I think rabbit has more of a delicate pork flavor.

              Let's say that I'm blanking out on the name of the restaurant at this time, but if you are interested in a great rabbit dish in SF, email me and I'll try to recall the restaurant name.

          3. I've never had the opportunity to try ostrich liver but I have eaten ostrich several times. I really like it, it was tender and juicy and surprisingly, quite beefy tasting. It was always cooked rare, even in the Chinese restaurants I tried it at (Chinese restaurants tend to cook meats until they're no longer pink). I'd give it another chance.

            2 Replies
            1. re: susan

              Thanks for posting this Susan, I had a chance to try ostrich and emu side by side a couple of years ago at an ag show, I seem to remember one being better than the other so that must have been the Ostrich. IIRC the emu was made into a sausage and was quite dry, although they may have both been over cooked. Will have to take another shot at it.

              1. re: PolarBear

                I've also tried emu and as with ostrich, it's good if it's not overcooked.

            2. Ostrich is getting very popular in South Africa because it tastes a lot like beef, but is a lean and low cholestrol meat. Eventually you end up paying for forty years of cholestrol-heavy wors and steak....

              I've taste-tested ostrich filet and beef filet side by side. I think I'd still go with the beef, but I thought the ostrich was surprisingly good, considering it's a giant bird. If you fed me ostrich and told me it was beef, I probably wouldn't notice the difference. Side by side, the one was sweeter and the other more tender. Damned if I remember which was which!

              My advice is, only eat it at reputable steak houses (or the sort of place which knows how to do a killer steak). I've tried grilling it at home, and it's always a disappointment. Not enough fat to keep it from drying out, I think.