What (roughly) does horse meat taste like?

What kind of dishes can I make with it?

6 Answers 6


Back in the late '90s, biologist Joe Staton did a comparative study of the tastes of different animals for the Annals of Improbable Research. His hypothesis was that the relatedness of tastes of animals is correlated to their evolutionary ancestry. You can read an abridged version of his article here. Looking at the phylogenic tree at the bottom of the article, horse meat has the general flavor of beef and is most closely related to deer (venison) and American buffalo (bison). In my experience, horse meat is like a cross between venison and beef.

Edit: In case anyone was wondering, human apparently tastes like pork.

  • 1
    Memory from somewhere - cannibals in Australasia used to refer to cooked human flesh as "long pig"! Commented Apr 29, 2011 at 1:23
  • 2
    One nitpick... Annals of Improbable Research isn't a journal that you can write an article for. It's the winners of each years' Ig Nobel prizes. It would have been published in some other peer reviewed journal first. (I can't remember, but there's a name for journals where they just collect or point to other journal's articles. Like a college putting out a volume collecting all articles published by their faculty in a given month)
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 15:05
  • Loose term in the S Pacific. Was Bay Boy. Had double meaning. { Bay} white. {boy} pig. Was in reference to the white pigs the Spanish brought in. Could also be used in reference to light skinned persons. While the fire was being started. But I am told that people taste more like monkey than pig. My source for this was a older lady. A Grandmother. Who said I remember white man taste good. & smacked her lips. In a remote area. So maybe a miss interpitation here on the person thinking people taste like pigs. Monkey is a sweet tasting meat. Not like pork.
    – J Bergen
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 10:59
  • @Joe That's not true; AIR also accepts submissions of previously unpublished articles: improbable.com/about/SubmissionGuidelines.html
    – ESultanik
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 14:29

Horse meat is dark red and usually quite lean. The risk is to overcook it and end up with tough meat. This probably has to do with the fact that most horse meat is "recycled" animals, that's to say horses that were not bread for meat and that spent a part of their life working.

In my part of Italy (Parma), we also eat it in its raw ground form (like a steak tartare). The traditional presentation is ground fine, spread on a white bread, salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drop of olive oil. Garlic also goes well with it. Horse meat is less likely to host parasites that are harmful to humans, so I wouldn't be too disturbed by the thought of eating it raw - and it does taste great. A filet americaine with horse meat would probably taste very good too.

Here is a recipe for picula 'd caval, a sort of horse chili from nearby Piacenza http://italianfood.about.com/od/furredgameetc/r/blr0881.htm although I would not cook it for quite that long, to avoid having tough rubbery bits at the end. For the same reason, reheating horse meat is usually a bad idea.

Here is also a discussion about the true recipe, but it is in Italian http://www.coquinaria.it/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000843;p=0 of course every family has their own version and of course it is a point of religious faith that that one is the only true one - after all it is Italy.


Like a filly cheese steak. I'd hate to saddle you with a bunch of recipes. Good with stallio-- scallions. Careful, frying it, since it tends to be a bit tempermental. Leaving now.

  • 6
    Quit horsing around. This is no time for mare-ement. Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 1:45
  • 1
    "If wishes were horses, we'd all be eatin' steak" - Jayne Cobb Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 3:11

I've had it in Italy as a child - I was actually told it was beef so that I wouldn't ask questions. The big differences are that it is leaner than beef, and has a coarser texture.

  • Horse is a much cleaner animal than a cow. A lean meat. Ground great in chili. Or soups. I think mule is better eating than horse, Many years ago on some job sights. When still used. Horse or mule if injured went in the stew pot on some job sights. Never had a horse steak.
    – J Bergen
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 11:10

It tastes like whale meat :)

It's a red meat, with a characteristic texture. Personally, I like it a lot, but it's difficult to find if you are outside of Italy and France (as far as I know).

You can use it as a regular steak, instead of pork, for example. Pork is more delicate as a taste, horse is more intense.

  • 1
    Horse is also eaten in Japan (and Tonga, apparently).
    – MGOwen
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 2:21
  • It's also available in Belgium and the Netherlands.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 2:56
  • 2
    Horse meat is fairly common in Denmark as long as you go to a regular butcher instead of a supermarket.
    – cyberzed
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 7:44
  • 1
    I am not sure if you were joking, but in my experience horse meat does not taste like whale meat.
    – ESultanik
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 19:58
  • 1
    @esultanik: I'm not joking. I had whale meat in Norway, and the closest thing it recalled me is definitely horse meat. Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 20:47

Horse meat is often consumed in Mongolia, especially during the long cold winter periods; it contains a lot of nutrients suitable for winter. It is very lean so its good to consume when cold, meat is quite smelly while you cook it but once it's done it is a good substitute for beef, and of course it contains a lot of collagen.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.