20 February 2014

Kezie Foods - Crocodile Burgers [Review by @CaptainKindling]

Kezie Foods - Crocodile Burgers

A few short years ago, if you told someone you'd had a nice juicy llama steak for last night's dinner you'd be given a strange look at best, and considered an inhuman monster at worst.  More recently, however, there seems to be a growing trend of weird and wonderful meats making their way to our dinner tables and onto our barbeques.  In fact it's not uncommon for Christmas markets to offer up a reindeer burger for those who think Rudolph just looks too tasty to pass up.
I have, in the past, had the pleasure of sampling zebra and kangaroo steaks (which I probably didn't particularly do justice to, by dicing them up into kebabs and throwing them on the barbeque), as well as ostrich burgers, and these early experiences of exotic meats have certainly gone down well.  I am a self-described "enthusiastic carnivore", so when Kezie Foods offered to send Foodstuff Finds a selection of their wares, I was more than happy to step up to the plate (literally) and see how they stacked up.
Whilst Kezie do have a wide range of more traditional meats on offer, it's their substantial exotic section which turns heads, featuring steaks, sausages, burgers and ready meals from sources most of us wouldn't normally consider at mealtimes.  The generous selection provided for the review consisted of the following:
  • Crocodile Burgers
  • Zebra Meatballs
  • Game Hot Pot
  • Rosé Veal Vindaloo
  • Thai Green Seafood Soup
  • Mahi Mahi Portions
  • Marlin Loin Portions
  • Kangarooo Rump Steak
  • Octopus Tentacles
  • Horse Striploin Fillet Steaks
  • Ostrich Fan Fillet
If I want to do justice to these tantalising offerings then there's no way then can be squeezed into a single review, so I'll be splitting them across a few articles as I slowly empty my freezer over the coming weeks!
Crocodile Burgers
After an afternoon of indecisiveness and torment, I finally settled on Crocodile Burgers to be the first on the plate!  Crocodile may be new, but burgers on the whole are comfortable and familiar, so they seemed like one of the safer options to ease myself in.  And crocodile is something I've been wanting to try for a long time, as Hollywood has made it abundantly clear that alligator barbeques very well, so I'm taking a leap of faith that their toothier cousin is just as delicious.

With a couple of exceptions, most of Kezie's products are covered by their cooking guides and videos on their website and Youtube channel.  I have to confess I'm not usually the most patient of cooks in the world - I don't rush cooking times, but I'll run roughshod over the preparation stage to get my dinner in the oven or on the hob asap!  To justice to this selection, however, I'm going to exercise some rare self-restraint, and follow Kezie's instructions to the letter - I have to assume they know what they're talking about!
So with this in mind I took the unheard of step of removing the burgers from the fridge and allowing them to reach room temperature for 20 minutes before putting them under the grill.  In an ideal world I'd have liked to try barbequeing them, but given the weather and my lack of garden this seemed like an impractical option to say the least, so the grill became my fallback option.  Kezie also recommended brushing the burgers with oil to help them sear - again this isn't something I usually do with my burgers, but I wanted to do this properly and so stuck with their guidance.  Normally I'm a big fan of olive oil, but I didn't want to overpower the taste of a new meat with such a distinctive flavour, so I opted for simple sunflower oil.

The first thing which I couldn't help but notice after cooking is just how lean crocodile meat is!  I'm a man who enjoys his burgers, but I can always guarantee that when I remove them from the grill after cooking there'll be a veritable lake of grease in the bottom of the grill pan.  With the crocodile there was barely a drop, setting the burgers off to a very promising start!
Whilst I know it's typical to garnish burgers with relish, salad and so on, I served these up just on plain and simple rolls so that nothing would interfere with the croc's flavour.  With dinner plated up, it was time to see if they were worth the anticipation...

Absolutely!  As you can see above, crocodile is a white meat, and its flavour was far more delicate than the tastebud-assault of your typical dark-meat beefburger.  The consistency was just what a burger should be - it didn't disintegrate at the merest hint of contact with a bread roll, and it wasn't like trying to tear chunks out of a steak.  I had tried sticking to the barbeque guideline of cooking for 4 minutes on each side under a medium grill, but after that period they still didn't quite seem cooked, so I gave them an extra 2 minutes on each side and this seemed to have them cooked to perfection.  Being so lean, there was no issue with grease leaking out from all sides with every bite, but this by no means left them dry - "juicy" is perhaps not a word I'd use to describe them, but certainly not dry.
And as for the flavour?  Well that's a tough one to put into words!  The term 'unique' gets used far too often, as in "It's got quite a unique taste, a bit like venison", but for crocodile it's the only word I can use!  It's unlike anything else I've ever tried by a long shot, and it's definitely something I'd be happy to eat again (insert obligatory "and make it snappy!" joke here).  At around £4.50 for a pack of two they're a shade pricier than good quality butchers' burgers, but are a nice alternative to the typical humdrum of cow or lamb.


PaulGolightly said...

Thanks for the review. I'll give the website a look. I'd heard crocodile was slightly 'fishy' possibly similar to Tuna steaks? Do you think there's any truth to this based on the burgers you had?

@CaptainKindling said...

I wouldn't say so to be honest. I don't eat as much fish as I do red meat, but I do still enjoy my fish and didn't think the croc struck the same sort of note. It's difficult to describe because as I said it's unlike anything else I've tasted, but they're definitely worth a try.