Kangaroo is an unusual meat for most of the world. From reputation, it's quite hard to cook right as it tends to dry out:

Kangaroo meat is very low in fat, usually less than 2%. This is lower than most other red meats. This makes Kangaroo very healthy but also means it must be cooked carefully. Kangaroo is also very high in protein and iron. Fat contains a lot of moisture, hence meats like beef which is very high in fat can be cooked to very well done. However because kangaroo has virtually no fat it can easily dry out during cooking. Because of this it's important to follow a few simple steps to retain the moisture in the meat.

In light of this, what smoking and BBQ techniques are appropriate for kangaroo?

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    I've only ever eaten kangaroo—I've never cooked it—hence this being a comment as opposed to a full answer. Unless you are cooking a fattier cut with more connective tissue (Does a kangaroo even have any? The tail? Saddle?), I'd treat it like a veal tenderloin: Cook it on high heat for a short amount of time to achieve medium-rare. I'd also highly recommend brining it beforehand (just make sure to thoroughly dry it before grilling).
    – ESultanik
    Apr 29, 2011 at 11:56
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    A new tag? How many kanga questions are you expecting to bounce in?
    – TFD
    Apr 29, 2011 at 13:06
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    @tfd Completely legitimate tag. If someone is looking for kangaroo related questions, a tag would make it much easier, even if there only turn out to be a few. Apr 29, 2011 at 13:45
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    @TFD: We've always had a policy of using specific tags for specific meats. Within a site that is supposed to be global, there's no reason for us to discriminate based on region.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 29, 2011 at 17:21
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    Kangaroo meat has become widely available in Australia in recent years. Major supermarket chains in the cities even carry it now. There may only be 22 million people in Australia but that doesn't seem like a reason to presuppose no other kangaroo questions will be asked. Oct 4, 2011 at 10:27

5 Answers 5


I have neither cooked nor eaten kangaroo, but I think the information that it is very lean should be sufficient to answer this question. Smoking is a low and slow technique that is used to make tough cuts of meat tender. This works by using a low temperature to break down the tough connective tissues which makes the end result both tender and moist. This would not work with a lean cut of meat like a filet. You'd just end up with a tough piece of meat. So unless you really go after the toughest bits of the 'roo, I'd advise against smoking.

As ESultanik says in a comment, to attack the lean parts of the animal, treat it like any other piece of non-fatty meat (filet / tenderloin for example). Use a very hot grill and shoot for an internal temperature of rare to medium-rare depending on preference. The exact technique for cooking is up to you. I tend to do a two level fire for searing and then finishing, but the exact method depends on the type of grill, thickness of the cut, etc. If you would like some smoke flavor, you can throw some wood chips on while cooking like this and see what you get. The short time and frequency with which you tend the meat / open the grill may make this completely ineffective, but it's worth trying to see if you get some smoke flavor, if that's what you really want.

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    If you have a way to cold smoke the meat, that would be a good way of adding the smoke flavour without drying it out/making it tough
    – canardgras
    Oct 13, 2017 at 8:16

Well, there is always cooking it super rare. That's usually my method. And it's healthier that the other options, discounting possible foodborne illness.

However the more traditional responses are barding and larding. In short, just because the meat doesn't come with fat, doesn't mean that fat can't be added. In the case of barding, you just put a little bacon or fatback on the top (think fillet mignon), and you're good to go. As it cooks, it'll lend a little of it's fat to your fatless meat.

Larding, on the other hand...This used to be a lot more popular, and it's largely fallen out of favor (imho) just because it's kinda icky. Take a huge hunk of fat, and ram it into your meat using a giant needle. Mmmmmm. I'd only recommend this if you were trying to braise the meat, and couldn't get it to work without the meat drying out.

  • In this case it is not a healthy dish anymore.
    – antonio
    Jul 2, 2018 at 10:58

I've only cooked roo meat for myself a few times with varying success; roasting, minced in sausages, and hot-seared steak style.

One occasion, I tried a variation of recipes I found online for a leg-roast cooked in a camp oven (cast iron dutch oven used outdoors in a fire pit). A well-known bbq site also had a slow cooked version that involved sous-vide then slow roasting. The main issue seemed to be: don't over cook it. I decided I would use my kamado charcoal cooker and also that I would brine the bone-in roast, to counteract the gaminess of the meat and also because I was cooking the very musculour leg meat, not the more tender cuts.

I had the meat in the fridge in brine for 19 hours. After brining I dried the meat then inserted a few slivers of garlic and sprigs of rosemary into cuts in the meat. I then rubbed it with EVOO infused with chilli, then seasoned it with cracked rock salt and pepper. It was then wrapped in cling wrap and back in the fridge overnight for the cook first thing next morning for 10+hrs low n slow.

The kamado ceramic cooker was loaded with gidgee charcoal and smoke chips with the intention of cooking for about 10 hours at roughly 235*F. However my kamado got a bit too warm, and the internal temp of the meat came up too quickly. I had to remove the meat from the cooker a few hours earlier than intended, so I wrapped it in foil and then a couple of old towels, then sealed it in an esky (cooler box) to retain heat until ready for dinner that evening. Just before serving, I glazed the roast with a slightly sweet gravy, then back in the kamado for a few minutes on a higher temp blast before carving.

Now given that I overshot the internal temperature and that it cooked a few hours too quickly, I feared that I would end up with a tough, dry inedible hunk of boot leather. However to my astonishment, this accidently turned out to be one of the best roast cooks I have done for a long time! The meat was a bit salty due to my brine being too strong, but not to the point of ruining it. The meat had a lovely dark pink smoke ring about 1/4" deep all over under the outer bark, and was ever so moist inside. It was cooked right through but was tender and juicy and full of flavour. I think the two most influential factors in my accidental success were; brining the meat, and cooking it in a ceramic kamado cooker which retains moisture better than most methods. By most accounts I've researched, my roo meat should have been "overcooked" yet it was quite a delight.

I am no expert, just an avid bbq experimenter. I hope my experience is of benefit to someone else.


For a leg? Lean tough chunk of meat. Place in a sealed plastic bowl. Mix 500mm red horse beer with 2 packs Korean powder BBQ sauce. Place in fridge for 12 hours. Shake often. This will tenderize it. Add BBQ flavor to meat. Lay on one piece of raw pork skin with 1/4 inch of fat on it. Place on top rack of grill. Place 1 wrapped in tinfoil packet of ground dry wood you wish for smoke flavor on bottom rack near coconut hull charcoal. Tinfoil pack need 3 holes small in it to let out smoke from wood but not big enough for it to burn.. Bake 1 hour in grill lid closed to smoke at 250f temp. at top of grill. This should smoke it. Do not open lid to grill. Add more charcoal. Coat meat with BBQ sauce turn over & place back on pork skin. Add thermomitor to bone in meat. Bring heat to 350f. in grill. Bake to 180 f at bone. This should glaze the sauce on the meat to seal. Use a thick sauce. This also works on water buffalo a very lean tough meat.


Only time I barbecued roo was simple chunks (a la kebab), no preparation, rub or marinade. Was with similar chunks of beef and lamb. Was the best of the three. Just cooked them until they looked OK, then took them off. Tried roo prosciutto last weekend, nothing special, wouldn't buy it, though the piece I tried was too small for proper assessment. I built a hot/cold smoker last winter, when I get free from work I plan to try smoking roo, probably brining then cold smoking. I'll just use whatever steaks I can get from the supermarket rather than picking up roadkill.

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