March 4, 2013

"I’m just going to come out and say it: I love horsemeat."

"It’s lean, yet tender, it is flavorful but not gamy; it’s delicious...."
I was first introduced to it in the Uzbek restaurants of Moscow, where they serve kazy, the horse sausage eaten across Central Asia, with translucently sliced onions and warm, naan-like bread. I was skeptical at first, but eating kazy is a conversion, that first moment of doubt melting away into a long “mmmmm” as you chew. But this was no mere staple of exotic Central Asia. By the time I got to Zurich, I was totally ready for the horse steak my hosts ordered for me. For the sake of comparison, we got one steak steak and one horse steak, and both slabs of raw meat came out on hot stones that sizzled and cooked the meat to the degree you wanted. And you know what? It wasn’t even a contest. Compared to the sweet richness of the horse, the cow tasted bland and dry. If I ever come across horse a menu again, I would order it: I still crave that horse steak.

65 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

I don't know whether to vote aye or neigh on this.

Darrell said...

Europeans trying to justify their actions.

I have a Photoshop that would go well with this post. If you email me, I'll send it right out.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Julia Ioffe writes like she's really, really fat.

Beldar said...

De gustibus non est disputandum.

CEO-MMP said...

My horses are not amused.

Bob said...

That's fine. Just market it honestly, as horse, and don't pretend it's beef.

chickelit said...

Ostrich meat was common in Zurich when I lived there. It was favorite in Fondue Chinoise in which raw meat is skewered and dunked in a savory broth to cook.

I suppose that eating horse meat in this country used to be more common when horses were more common. Now there are numerous better uses for older animals. But everything does die and I have no objections if others partake.

Tibore said...

"LarsPorsena said...
I don't know whether to vote aye or neigh on this."


I'd say "rein it in", but I fear you all are gonna ride this joke for all it's worth. ;) :D

Henry said...

Don't have a cow over it.

CEO-MMP said...

Tibore said...

"LarsPorsena said...
I don't know whether to vote aye or neigh on this."

I'd say "rein it in", but I fear you all are gonna ride this joke for all it's worth. ;) :D


You've saddled him with an unreasonable expectation.

Tibore said...

Also: I've been told by a fellow NFL fan who lived some years in Europe that horse meat is honestly underrated. And many, many years back (over 20), I clearly recall reading an article in some foodie mag swearing by using horse fat for pomme frites (french fries). I was left wondering "where the hell would I get horse fat?", but it struck me that some felt there was honestly good flavor in horseflesh.

Never tried it, but it's definitely got my attention. I certainly wouldn't turn it down if I had the opportunity to try it.

Dr Weevil said...

Thirty-five years ago I worked with a 50ish guy who had been an officer in the Spanish Air Force when Franco was still in power - meaning that he was quite well-treated. He said they were served horse meat every night. He said it was delicious, much better than beef: sweeter and tenderer, without any gristle at all.

chickelit said...

When was a kid, we fed our dog Alpo. Horse meat was her favorite flavor. I still remember the color of the label on the cans. Alpo color-coded them for easier consumer recognition. Horse meat was coded baby blue.

Tibore said...

"CEO-MMP said...

You've saddled him with an unreasonable expectation."


Awww, quit yer winny-ing! It's not like he was bridled over this. :D

(*runs away giggling*)

betamax3000 said...

Re: "Horse meat was coded baby blue."

Gerbers uses that same coding on their baby food.

lgv said...

I prefer goat burgers to hamburgers.

The issue shouldn't really be the eating of horses. The issues are the mislabeling of the product and the source of the horses.

Americans tend to more sensitive to the cuteness of animal than most cultures. A trip through the Bitung Market in North Sulawesi is not recommended for the sensitive types.

Original Mike said...

I don't understand the aversion to horse. As far as I'm concerned, a horse is just an athletic cow.

betamax3000 said...

Does the writer like hung-like-a-horse-meat?

jacksonjay said...


Dead flesh is dead flesh!

Love me some frog legs!

betamax3000 said...

"Dead flesh is dead flesh!"

That's what Jeffrey Dahmer was trying to TELL people.

Dante said...

Mexicans apparently love horse meat too, being the second largest producer according to wikipedia.

I think they like Donkeys too, as evidenced by the Burrito.

EMD said...

Man just likes the way Aqua Velva tastes, that's all.

Bob_R said...

It's nice to live in a country rich enough to have a lot of food taboos.

edutcher said...

Never say that to an old cavalryman.

jacksonjay said...


That's what Jeffrey Dahmer was trying to TELL people

You mean Scott Walker don't you?

CEO-MMP said...

Tibore said...

"CEO-MMP said...

You've saddled him with an unreasonable expectation."

Awww, quit yer winny-ing! It's not like he was bridled over this. :D

(*runs away giggling*)

I think you just threw the bit, man. I'm not sure it behooves us to continue.
After all--what do we have to grain?

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

A number of restaurants in Québec feature horsemeat entrées. Because they eat so much hay horses have a delightful meadow-y flavour not found in most beef. Good bison meat is close.

Meade said...

Re: "Horse meat was coded baby blue."

Gerbers uses that same coding on their baby food.


Naked Bob Dylan Robot: You used to dine on chrome horsemeat down in old Uzbek. But that code's all over now, baby blue.

Aridog said...

Horse meat? Does anyone know of locations where horses are raised as domestic livestock for food as cattle, sheep, goats, etc. are husbanded? And kept free of chemicals toxic to humans?

I know of none, but I'm willing to learn if they really exist. Miss Ioffe doesn't mention the source, or did I miss it? She implies it isn't "doped up" and raised in a free and pampered environment, where-as cattle are not. I'd suggest she has no experience what-so-ever with animal husbandry, or any kind.

Meantime...enjoy your phenylbutazone, pyrantel pamoate, ivermectin, praziquantel, gonadotropin, and other good stuff we use on our horses regularly. Those horses come from unregulated auctions, supplied by the assholes, or thieves, in the horse world, where kill buyers gather to supply the Canucki-Frog and Mexi-Beaner markets, both who ship to 'Yurp.

Enjoy.

PS: Mz Ioffe also mentions rat meat as something that should be much more repulsive, and less desirable than horse. Is she aware that hygiene regulations by USDA, and multiple state equivalents, all include acceptable amounts of rat and mice parts in foods, not to mention acceptable volumes of rat & mice shit. In short, you eat mice, rats, and their shit anyway and don't know it.

Levi Starks said...

Why wouldn't horse meat taste good?

Jason said...

If they outlaw horse meat, only outlaws will have horse meat!

betamax3000 said...

Naked Bob Dylan Robot says:

"I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
I aint gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To eat horsemeat like them
They say sing while you chew and I just get hoarse
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."

Lipperman said...

In most countries, horses are bred and raised for recreational purposes, and when they are no longer useful in that area , they can end up on the dinner table.
Perhaps horse meat is better than cow meat in Zurich - Europeans aren't generally known for their beef.
But compared to a nice cut of steak from a Wisconsin steer, raised to its prime in ideal conditions, there is no comparison - beef wins.

betamax3000 said...

Save horse meat for the horse d'oeuvres.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, allowing the eating of horse meat in this country would solve one of our problems - feral horses, esp. those living in western states like Nevada. They tend to overgraze the range, with their natural preditors (including American Indians) greatly reduced in their own ranges. Costs many millions every year to round them up and hold them for awhile until they find that they can't give them away, and must kill them anyway.

Still, eating horse means isn't going to be legal here anytime soon in this country. We just love our horses too much - though we just reelected our only avowed dog eating President. Friend of mine, who designs horewear, and who has made a number of trips to Europe to buy horses, believes that we have a much more idealized view of horses than anyone else does (though she does have TV and stereo for her horses). For a lot of well-to-do women, they are the pet of choice, with the Romney horse that went to the Olympics being worth several million dollars (along with most of the rest of the horses ridden there).

betamax3000 said...

Naked Ed Gein Robot says: I'd like a plate of horse steak with a side order of rodeo clown."

Aridog said...

The current horsemeat fandango tickles me in a way, much like the fairly recent hoo-hah over how good buffalo (bison) meat is...as if it some kind of new product. I ate my first buffalo meat burger in 1950. Buffalo has been food livestock in the modern USA since before I was born, at locations in Michigan and elsewhere. New it is not.

The difference with horsemeat is that it is NOT raised for food and what you get may be 3 years old or 13 or 23+...e.g., tough as hell. Spare me the testimonials about tenderness....from auctions you get what you get, often old and diseased, and almost always doped up to the nth degree.

BTW...If you get some horse meat from alleged wild ranges in Montana or Nevada, and your dick goes softee or your eggs won't form up, thank Trigger and his gonadotropin. Yee Haaaw!!! :-))

Uhm, that last bit was a guess, my imagination....but go ahead find out and let me know, okay?

Inga said...

Some people will buck that trend, it will never ride.

Aridog said...

Bruce Hayden said (or quoted)...

... feral horses, esp. those living in western states like Nevada. They tend to overgraze the range

With all due respect, seriously...how much time have you spent around feral horses?

THAT "horses overgraze more" is bull-crap plain and simple. Animal to animal, horses tear up land far less than equivalent cattle or elk. However it IS the hyperbole put out by some cattlemen and hunting advocates.

Next, most of the feral horses in Nevada are descended from U S Army re-mount stocks let run loose, and left loose when the Army stop buying re-mounts. Few if any have even a slight ancestry of Conquistador horses...aka Mustangs. However, they still graze less destructively than cattle or elk.

A good place to see real Mustangs, with genetic markers for old Spanish horse ancestry, such as feathery striping on withers and legs, dun stripe on back, and grulla and roan coloration frequently....is Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Refuge operated by BLM and local supporters in Wyoming and Montana. There is another location in Washington or Oregon that slips my mind at the moment...where the environment was isolated enough to let a genetically related herd survive intact. Photos here are from 2010.

We just love our horses too much ... we have a much more idealized view of horses than anyone else does


And well we should have, considering how important they were to our expansion and settlement. Far more impact than any in Europe, except by the raiding hoards who terrorized them.

As far as horse ownership goes...far, far, more people of ordinary means own horses than wealthy. However, the wealthy do own some superb horses, and you correctly cite them in the Olympics. Regular folks can and do win, too, in the same events and other venues as well. Very few of us reach the Grand Prix level...but you don't have to...you can find joy in working with a fine animal to achieve performance perfection together, on the flat or over fences,...the key being "together."

Now try that with a cow or a goat. Horses really ARE different...sentimentality aside, just as dogs are different as well.

And, to me, it seems only right that there be some living things we just don't kill for sport or food.

Balfegor said...

Re: Aridog:

Horse meat? Does anyone know of locations where horses are raised as domestic livestock for food as cattle, sheep, goats, etc. are husbanded? And kept free of chemicals toxic to humans?

Kumamoto province in Japan is famous for its horseflesh. Horses are raised for food there, more or less as cattle are. Here's a site talking about their history and their strict compliance with all food-safety regulations.

Aridog said...

Levi Starks said...

Why wouldn't horse meat taste good?

If young and prime, reasonably free of toxic chemicals, no reason at all. However, most are not in that category.

Compare to say 13, or more, year old Oxen. Very lend...tasty as boot leather, and about as tender. I've eaten it often enough in Asia where not everyone raises or can afford Kobe / Wagyu beef. :-))

There is a reason the Koreans marinate beef meats in highly seasoned bulgoggi sauces. Yum yum.

Aridog said...

Balfegor ... Thanks. I was pretty sure there were places, and I figured it was likely Japan.

I suspect Europe and Russia, not so much.

LarsPorsena said...

Is foal the equine version of veal?

LarsPorsena said...

What wine goes with pony?

Balfegor said...

Re: Aridog:

I suspect Europe and Russia, not so much.

Russia, I'd guess no, but I wouldn't be too surprised if, say, France had specialty farms for horsemeat.

Aridog said...

LarsPorsena said...

Is foal the equine version of veal?

Naw. The horse eaters will have to invent a fantasy word/name for baby horse just like beef eaters did for baby cow.

dc said...

Mr Ed says people who eat horse meat belong in hell.

Ditto that.

Baron Zemo said...

Sarah Jessica Parker better watch her ass. Just sayn'

gadfly said...

Sorry, Ann - but there are five grades of beef,at least in the U.S. - Prime, Choice, Select, Cutter and Canner.

You know and I know, that a world of difference exists between the eating quality of the highest to the lowest. Add to that the special processes that go into cuts labeled aged or Kobe and there is not a horse in this world that compares.

I suppose that you like bison meat as well. Which all goes to show that the little old lady was right when she said "to each his own" as she kissed her cow.

jr565 said...

Now I'm getting a hankering to try horse. But, I was suckered into trying a buffalo burger once and it wasnt that special. I'd order it again, of course, but not if there was steak made of
Beef on the menu instead.

Jack Bunce said...

Does no one remember the beef shortages in the 1970s? Horse meat made up the difference and was available in the local food and meat markets in Connecticut.

I don't remember much hullabaloo being raised over eating horse meat back then.

Aridog said...

Jack Bunce said...

I don't remember much hullabaloo being raised over eating horse meat back then.

Unless you were a horse owner whose horse was stolen and sold for pennies on the dollar by fucking thieves. Spit!

Horses have not be husbanded as food stock in the USA, even in the 70's...they came from auctions from who knows where with who knows what in them. However, I do know where many came from....

We never lost one of ours, but as I said earlier, I enjoyed shooting the the thieving bastards in the dark with a .30-06 as 6 angry dogs tore at their heels. The all got away or I'd be in Oscar Pistorious shoes perhaps.

Aridog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Ari and I are on the same page.

I am not a wealthy woman. Matter of fact I would say over 95% of the horse people I know are not wealthy.

Horses are not cows. They do things that cows don't do. It is an amazing experience to partner with a horse.

As for this:
Unless you were a horse owner whose horse was stolen and sold for pennies on the dollar by fucking thieves. Spit!


There is a black market in stolen horses being sold for food. The most heart wrenching case I remember (there are many, though closing the US slaugterhouses a couple years back slowed it) was the teenaged girl's really lovely horse which was stolen (CT or NY IIRC) and within hours was shipped across the border to the slaughterhouse in Canada. The story was taken down from the stolen horse site (there is one online) fairly quickly as it was a very ugle story and probably very traumatizing for the rider.

There is a special place in hell for these people.

And yes, all our routine meds and wormers are labeled not be used on animals raised for human consumption. Yum yum.

ken in sc said...

Checkelit is right. When I was a kid, most canned dog food was made up of horse meat. It said so on the label. However, It smelled terrible.

Teri said...

When I first moved to Portland in the 70s, there was a horsemeat market in town. Horse hamburger tastes pretty much like regular hamburger. I wasn't impressed by the steaks. Horsemeat has a sweeter taste to it than beef (which may be the "richness" the writer talks about.) It's not something I'd go out of my way to buy again.

SH said...

totally uncool. I wouldn't even talk with that person.

Jeffrey Levin said...

Horse meat is commonly served in Kazakhstahn. I had some while doing an existence observation of oilfield assets for our audit a few years back of an oil & gas E&P client. It was out in no-mans land near the Tengeze field outside Atyrau.

It wasn't bad. Don't drink the horse milk if they offer it too you however. It generally includes a liberal amount of horse urine.

mrkwong said...

Let's look at it this way. Man and horse have coexisted for centuries.

Would it be all that unusual that we'd evolved to accept the taste of the animals we surround ourselves with?

Brooks may think the Chinese have no word for 'nerd', but they definitely have a word for 'meat dog' and if you get off the beaten tourist path you'll find it on the menu (he says, glancing nervously out the office door at the border-collie-mix snoozing on the floor...)

Aridog said...

mrkwong said ...

Would it be all that unusual that we'd evolved to accept the taste of the animals we surround ourselves with?

How would it be if some of the animals we surround ourselves with developed a taste for us? :-))

Psssst: According the legend, myth, and Hollywood...some do, if you believe what they say about wolves. Considering you can count the know verified deaths of humans by wolf in north & south America on your fingers, perhaps of one hand, it is nonsense of course. Only highly evolved man makes a habit of killing man. Go figure.

Aridog said...

Here we go ... Meat Eatin' Horses ...you never really know what ole Dobbin is thinking do ya? Heh heh.

Craig said...

I attended a banquet in Jinan at the foot of the Thousand Buddha Mountain which I had climbed earlier that day. There must have been thirty dishes on the lazy susan. I thought the donkey was especially tasty.

AlanKH said...

"Wil-burrr, what are you doing with that grill?"

Unknown said...

Aridog

"And, to me, it seems only right that there be some living things we just don't kill for sport or food."

Well, for me that would be human beings but obviously there are other opinions on the matter. To quote the abortion rights advocates, "Don't try to impose your morality on me."

If God didn't want us to eat horses, why did He make them out of delicious meat?

Aridog said...

Unknown said...

Aridog ...[reference killing things] ... Well, for me that would be human beings but obviously there are other opinions on the matter.

Seriously? Nah ... humans kill each other daily, with weapons, every day, somewhere, almost everywhere, in warfare, religious fanaticism, crime, or just psychotic rage.

Now as to the taste of horse meat....I doubt the claims, unless it is from the cited specialty farming in Japan. Otherwise, you're getting old, tough, chemically contaminated, crap meat. If THAT killer-auction meat is tender I guarantee you that it has been even further treated chemically. Chow down...one day you might even glow in the dark.

On the subject of "sweet" tasting meat...why not some human meat? There damn sure are plenty of people around who need killin'. Al Qaeda BBQ might be better than MRE's eh? Save a wad on sustenance logistics to boot....but we could still award KBR a contract for the butchery and cookin'.... which they would immediately sub-contract down 3 levels to some Bedouin guy with a cleaver and wood block in a tent where ever y'all need him.

Hooah! :-))