Alpaca, it’s what’s for dinner: Atlanta restaurants serve up alternatives to the usual beef and chicken

Find antelope, goat, and other meats at some of the city’s biggest eateries
Illustration by Joel Kimmel
Illustration by Joel Kimmel

Historically speaking, the Southern meat-and-two has called for beef, pork, or chicken. Today kitchens are showing interest in other animals. I spoke with four chefs who know their way around the hottest cuts.

If you’re new to goat, find Billy Allin at Cakes & Ale. He’s responsible for the best goat I’ve ever tasted, which was slowly braised into a Caribbean curry flecked with chile pepper, ginger, and allspice. 

I’d also trust Jarrett Stieber of the Eat Me Speak Me pop-up at Gato in Candler Park. Stieber grinds the meat into sausages and the occasional tartare. Scrap meat gets molded into rillettes Stieber describes as “rich in texture, with a delicate depth from the goat fat, which cooks down to look like marshmallow fluff.”

At Abattoir, which translates to “slaughterhouse” in French, Hector Santiago features lamb hearts, lamb sweetbreads, and lamb tails on his special “butcher’s menu.” Santiago says lamb, which he sources from Jamison Farm in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, isn’t naturally tender, so the meat must be cooked slowly. The leg loin, for example, is one of the restaurant’s most popular lamb dishes; it’s slow-cooked until tender, rubbed with garlic and chiles, seared on the grill, and served with pickled anchovies or fish sauce to balance the gaminess. 

Antelope and Alpaca
The poster chef for unusual meats is David Larkworthy of Five Seasons, who regularly offers antelope patty melts that, in his words, “taste between beef and elk” with a sweet, mineral quality. Rabbit, venison, and wild boar also thread the menu, but one of his favorite meats is the alpaca he gets from David Carrell at Carrell Farms in Monroe, Georgia. Blackberry barbecue alpaca ribs and grilled alpaca chops show off the meat’s clean profile, which “has the roundness of pork and the richness of lamb,” he says.

This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue.