One of our local stores is now carrying Camel kidneys. Anybody have experience with these? I'm curious to try them. I love lamb kidneys, wonder if you can treat these the same way. They're kinda big, probably up to a pound each.
Boy, I'd expect them to be really tough, unless you cook them gently -- see, my mother always used to say anyone who could "hold it in" for a long time was a camel, so I guess they're pretty strong, and . . . oh, never mind.
Camel meat is not universally eaten. In the pastoral communities camel meat is only eaten on special occasions. These include festive gatherings following the return of the herd from grazing (Hartley, 1979), and ritual celebrations (Dahl and Hjört, 1979; Dickson, 1951). In some cases animals belonging to a certain tribe will not normally be slaughtered as they have been named and are considered to be an integral part of the tribe (Gast, et al., 1969). This does not prevent people from such tribes from stealing and eating camels from neighbouring tribes.
The camel is a good source of meat in areas where the climate adversely affects other animals. The male dromedary carcass can weigh 400 kg or more (Knoess, 1977). The carcass of a male Bactrian can weigh up to 650 kg. The carcass of a female camel weighs between 250 and 350 kg.
Data collected from a herd numbering about 4 300 animals showed that the body weight of slaughtered animals averaged between 439–484 kg (Keikin, 1976). This was more than the weight of 400 kg previously given (Knoess, 1977). The total meat production of the herd was 530–650 metric tons. It is obvious that the meat yields depends on the age, sex, feeding condition and general health of the animal (El-Amin, 1979). Not only the yield, but also the taste of the meat is determined by these parameters. Camel meat tastes like coarse beef (Cloudley-Thompson, 1969; Dickson, 1951). In old animals the meat is tough and not tasty (El-Amin, 1979). The cut of meat also determines its tenderness (Abdal-Baki, et al., 1957), the hump being considered a delicacy (Dickson, 1951). It is eaten raw, while still warm, but after it cools down it is boiled before it is eaten (Hartley, 1979). The hump, together with the fat of the prenephric and premesenteric areas are an important supplement to the human diet. As the animals get older, so the moisture and ash content of the hump fat and around the kidneys increases, while the crude fat content decreases (Shalash, 1979). It was found that there was more crude fat in the fat tissue around the kidneys than in the hump. The brisket, ribs and loin are other preferred parts of the carcass (Hartley, 1979).
The dressing percentage of the carcass varies between 52 percent and 77 percent; the fat between 0 and 4.8 percent; and the bones between 15.9 and 38.1 percent (Shalash, 1979; Kutznekov, et al., 1972). There is a difference in the percentages of protein, water, fat and ash of meat from various parts of the body (Shalash, 1979). The age of the animal also affects the components of the meat. Camels younger than 5 years have less protein, fat and ash than older camels. Nevertheless, these relatively small amounts of protein are comparable with the protein content of beef whether it is from bull, cow, or steer. The fat and ash content of camel meat is lower than that of beef.
Meat of the llama, alpaca and guanaco is of high quality and is a highly prized commodity (Bustinza, 1979). Meat production by far surpasses the utilization of milk of these animals. The meat is high in protein and low in fat, as in the case of old-world camels (Parades and Bustinza, 197.
Sadek (1966) showed that the use of camel meat for sausage making eliminated its toughness. The meat is easily cured, and the high protein content provides good caloric value. They are also cheaper than sausages made from other meat. Camel meat can be preserved by cutting it into strips and allowing it to dry. It is then preserved by putting the dried strips in clarified butter fat (Hartley, 1979).
In northern Kenya camel blood is consumed as it supplies necessary iron, salts and other essential nutrients (Dahl and Hjört, 1979). The high vitamin D content of camel blood is invaluable in aiding bone formation (Shany et al., 197.
At present, more camels are being slaughtered in those areas where there is less output from other livestock to guarantee dietary protein intake (Wilson, 197. As pastoral societies disappear with the conversion of the nomad to a sedentary way of life, the camels are being sold and slaughtered (Gohl, 1979). In Libya there is a brisk meat market (Bulliet, 1975). In Sudan, although there are legal restrictions concerning camel meat, there is a large export market to Egypt (Asad, 1970). Camel meat from Sudan is also exported to Libya and Saudia Arabia (El-Amin, 1979). In Egypt camel meat makes up an important part of the dietary proteins especially for the lower income groups (Shalash, 1979).
Richard Trench traveled across the Sahara desert on a journey to Taoudenni and Timbuktu (Mali). In Forbidden Sands: A Search in the Sahara (Chicago: Academy Chicago Limited; 1980) he describes camels as transportation and sustenance.
two or three fresh hot chile peppers (hot red peppers are typical; jalapeno peppers and poblano peppers are also good), chopped
four tablespoons lemon juice or lime juice (or cider vinegar)
four tablespoons oil
one tablespoon cayenne pepper or red pepper, or one tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)
one teaspoon minced garlic (or garlic powder)
one tablespoon paprika
one teaspoon salt
dried or fresh oregano or parsley (or similar) (optional)
Combine all ingredients. Grind and mix the ingredients into a smooth paste. Adjust the ratio of cayenne pepper and paprika to taste. Rub marinade onto meat and allow to marinate in a glass bowl for at least thirty minutes (or overnight if possible) before cooking. This marinade works well on chicken, beef, or any other grilled meat. Some cooks briefly cook the mixture before storing it. "Aging" the marinade by storing it in a refrigerator for a few days allows the flavor to develop.
I noticed your post this morning, and would have thought it was a joke, except you've got a track record of serious posts. I decided to "lurk" for the day to see what kind of recipes the group might come up with. I guess they don't have any more experience with camel than I do.
On a serious note, have you asked the store personnel what to do with them? One would presume they had some estimate of the demand for camel kidneys before they decided to stock them. (If not, I have a few cases of phoenix legs, and maybe a bridge I'd like to talk to them about.)
And is the store selling any of the rest of the camel? How did they come by just the kidneys? Camel is not so common in this country that it's eaten like peanut butter.
Camels are such nasty creatures - I can't imagine their meat being any better than their dispositions.When I was a kid I spent a Christmas in Morocco (my family was living in Spain) and I remember the camels would spit and bite and could kick in any direction.We were given little stuffed camels covered in real hair as souvenirs - my brother still has his and it still stinks some thirty years later!
Oh yeah, and where are they producing/slaughtering this stuff? Is there something about Minnesota you haven't told us Kuan? A secret supply of camels out grazing in the frozen tundra?
People people! I'm just as mystified as you. Here's what I know though. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali population outside of Somalia itself. At last count it was close to 60,000. I have a feeling that it's the Somali population which drives demand for Camel. I'll look into it this week when I'm over in the area. Will keep everyone updated.