Bill Niman | Food and Beverage Today

Bill Niman Changes from Beef to Goat Meat

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Connoisseurs Corner
Bill Niman on Goat Meat
Bill Niman of BN Ranch sees the future of goat meat

While much of the ethnic foods derived from goat meat are taken from older, more mature animals, the prime meat being used in finer dining establishments today is coming from younger animals. One such boutique producer of these gourmet goats, or Chevron, is none other than Bill Niman, formerly of Niman Ranch.

Goat meat, Chevron, Spanish Goat

"Everybody's expectation is a gamy, goaty taste," says Bill Niman of BN Ranch, who compares the flavor of his own goat to a cross between mild lamb and beef. "It's very mild in flavor."

Chez Panisse, Eccolo, Frantoio, and Oliveto, have featured BN Ranch goat meat on their menus.  Chef Paul Canales of Oliveto told the San Francisco Chronicle that when he put BN Ranch goat on the menu, "Every night, the goat items were the top sellers."  Canales likens the BN Ranch goat to veal in its tenderness and delicacy. "It's just spectacular," echoed Eccolo chef Christopher, our cover chef. "It's very mild in flavor."

Bill's reputation for producing superior quality meats has long been know in the industry, as well as his reputation for natural and kind treatment of his animals. He runs his business on the principle that the better an animal is treated, the better the meat will be.

In August of 2007, Bill Niman left the company that bore his name over disagreements with new management. He felt the beliefs the brand was built on were being compromised, and Bill found that hard to stomach.

Now Bill has started fresh and he hopes goat will be the cornerstone of his comeback. He sees “a wide-open market for pristine, pasture-raised goat meat.”

Bill believes in getting the best genetic mix to produce the highest possible quality goat. As Bill said, “I love a cross between Boar Goat (large framed animals resembling, in many ways, the Nubian goat) and Spanish goats which have a milder flavor.

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