Arabian peninsula, and Africa until the mid-20th century, according to Keenan Donegan of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web. This flightless bird is considered as the largest living bird in the world.
“The name comes from the shape of the keel or breastbone, which resembles a raft and is actually a large, mostly cartilaginous plate,” says Dr. Joan S. Jefferey, Extension Veterinarian at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service of the Texas A&M University System.
Although it’s native to Africa, it is farm raised in most countries for its meat and eggs, according to the American Ostrich Association. About 90 pounds of meat can be produced by a 240-pound bird of 12-14 months, according to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
In developing your ostrich recipes, remember that ostrich meat has a beef-like texture (the meat itself is red in color), low-cholesterol and low fat, and high in protein. However, although it might be comparable to beef in appearance, the American Ostrich Association (AOA) advices that it cooks differently since it contains little fat. The tender cuts of the ostrich meat are recommended for grilling, broiling or frying. It must also be cooked up to medium doneness to get the most flavor (that’s about 145-160 degrees) because beyond that the meat gets dry and tough.
Ostrich recipes can center on moist heat cooking methods, if one wants well done ostrich meat. The drumsticks, for example, can be roasted or cooked with vegetables since it’s less tender. The AOA recommends lower range of temperatures in roasting (200-325 degrees) so that the doneness is uniform and there would be less shrinkage.
Slice ostrich meat into fajita strips or use drumstick cuts for frying. When smoking ostrich meat, a pan of water must be used so that the meat doesn’t easily dry up and toughen. With the constant concern about the ostrich meat drying up, perhaps marinating it can help add moisture. Once you’ve mastered the art of keeping the meat moist, you can do a lot more in your ostrich recipes.
Make an ostrich steak and serve with a mushroom sauce and garlic mashed potato. Roast the ostrich and serve with pasta, steamed potatoes and red cabbage. Ostrich meat can also be ground up, made into meatballs for soup and pasta, as burger patties and as sausages. The ostrich produces large eggs (one egg is equivalent in volume to 2 dozen chicken eggs). That’s plenty of frittatas, scrambled eggs, custards, and crepes to make.