Can You Eat Emu Meat? What Does it Taste Like?

Emus are turning into big business in America, with more and more people raising them as profitable livestock or even as pets.

headshot of an emu bird
headshot of an emu bird

Emus produce all kinds of products, including eggs, feathers, and leather but also emu oil, which is used in countless remedies and cosmetics, and other products besides. But, most kinds of poultry are raised for meat, too.

How about emus? Can you eat emu meat, and if you can, how does it taste?

Yes, you can eat emu meat. People who try it usually compare it more with lean beef or venison than chicken because it’s fine-grained, rich-tasting, and slightly gamey. It is also highly nutritious and healthy.

It turns out that emus are good eating, like many other animals, and you shouldn’t be surprised if you start seeing emu meat appear in your usual grocery store.

While it was once the province of specialty meat markets or high-end restaurants, it is now something that is accessible to most people who care to try it. I think emu meat is delicious, and if you’re interested in trying it, keep reading.

Trying EMU For The First Time! Emu MUKBANG from Emu Heaven, Queensland!

Does Emu Taste Like Chicken?

No, surprisingly enough. I know the old joke is that every kind of meat that is new or novel is compared with chicken, be it some kind of birds or even reptiles. I get it, ha ha.

But in seriousness, if you try emu expecting a taste that is more in line with chicken, turkey, duck, or even goose, you’ll probably be surprised, but it is a pleasant surprise.

Emu Tastes More Like Beef Than Bird

Emu meat is often compared to beef, or sometimes venison, rather than other kinds of poultry. This is a bit surprising in itself, but in my experience, I’ll side with those folks.

Emu meat tastes rich and is a little bit gamey but not offensively so, especially if you’re having farm-raised meat. It has a succulence that is unusual even compared to birds that are known to have a rich, intense taste like quail, duck, and geese.

But at the same time, there’s still a quality about it that is definitely and unmistakably avian. This lends it to various kinds of preparation and accompaniment for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

What is the Texture of Emu Meat Like?

Emu meat is particularly fine-grained. These are big, athletic, and muscularly powerful birds, and the texture of their muscles reflects that.

It is invariably reported to be tender, but it still has a dense chewiness that will instantly remind you of red meat like beef, venison, or bison.

However, like most kinds of poultry, it is very lean and has a tendency to dry out, though when prepared properly, it will easily remain juicy and this makes it truly delectable.

Is Emu Healthy and Nutritious?

Yes, it sure is! Emu is remarkably healthy, so healthy that it gets high marks from the American Heart Association as one of the best animal proteins for overall health.

Emu is packed with protein, a little bit of fat, and good cholesterol while being low in harmful cholesterol. It is also a terrific source of iron which is critical for circulatory health, blood oxygenation, and the formation of red blood cells, and loaded with B-complex vitamins, zinc, potassium, and more.

It is a great source of long-lasting energy and a wonderful option if you are on a healthy eating diet or one that is medically necessary. The only downside is that it is considerably more expensive compared to other kinds of protein, at least here in the US.

Can Emu Be Eaten Rare?

No, or at least it shouldn’t be. There is some confusion on this matter because emu meat is often said to sort of bridge the gap between white meat and red meat in terms of taste, texture, and preparation.

That being said, like all poultry, it should always be cooked well done for safety. Emus, like other birds, harbor all sorts of germs that can cause foodborne illness, notably salmonella, which is a perennial cause for concern.

If you’re cooking emu yourself, make sure you cook it thoroughly. Yes, it can dry out when overcooked, but as with all such cuts, proper preparation will prevent this. I’ll tell you more about that in the following sections.

What Color is Emu Meat?

A bright, ruby red or burgundy color. Another point of comparison between emu and other red meats is the color of the meat.

It is, well, red, though it varies from a bright ruby red or carmine to a deeper burgundy color. If you are familiar with duck meat, emu looks similar but even darker and deeper.

But, emu is not really red meat in culinary terms. It is white meat like chicken, turkey, and other fowl.

How is Emu Best Prepared?

One of the very best things about emu is how versatile it is to a wide variety of cooking methods. If you want a simple, delicious cut of meat, you can grill it, pan-fry it, or roast it as a fillet or steak, and use all sorts of different ingredients to enhance it.

Emu also makes a wonderful burger, believe it or not, and that richness and slight gaminess make it a lot closer to a typical beef hamburger. Ground up, you can also use it to make meatloaf, meatballs, and other dishes.

However, for most preparations, marinating it is a good idea. This will keep it tender and also enhance the flavor while retaining moisture. Despite appearances, emu is white meat and has a propensity to dry out, especially when cooked quickly over high heat.

A little lower and a little slower to maintain its natural juiciness, and don’t forget you can always baste it or put a little bit of broth or fat in the pan to help out.

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