Riverboat Alpaca Ranch

Home of Serene Suris

Charles Thomas and Ann Amash
325 Muskingum Drive
Marietta, OH 45750
740 525 5108
740 525 5897

April 29, 2011

By: Ann Amash

Alpaca Meat

too many young males and no sales

This is a taboo subject, I'm sure, but I made the decision to harvest the meat and pelt of two young males. We finally were able to do this in late January after overcoming a number of hurdles. Even though alpacas are now livestock, their meat, along with rabbits, is considered exotic and as such requires a special triangle stamp that costs $200 in order to sell the meat as officially inspected. I was told by one processing plant that there was also a requirement that we pay the meat inspector $35.00 an hour for his services. Some new regulation out of Columbus. I can not verify this because we decided to forgo all that and just have the meat vacuum packed in clear plastic and labeled "not for re-sale". The nearest meat processor was changing hands and could not do it. The next one in WVA found out it is illegal to harvest alpaca meat in that state. The next place we tried didn't want to bother getting the license for exotic meat since we only had two to do. Olde Village Meats in Frazyburg said they would help us out. A local taxidermist is working on the pelt.
We ended up with 110 lbs. of meat for @200.00
I was very timid about trying out the meat and started with the ground meat. Made a cabbage -rice - meat dish that turned out very well. I used olive oil for the needed fat as alpaca is truly very lean. A friend tried it also and then some other friends were interested in trying it. We got back comments such as "it tasted like beef", "very good and tender" "like bison" Well I marinated a whole 7lb leg in yogurt, olive oil and herbs for two hours and then cooked on high heat (425) for about 40 minutes, turned down the heat and watched the meat thermometer till it reached 145 and turned off the oven. It was like eating steak! The meat was a good pink on the inside, tender and delicious. If overdone it can be tough. The irony of all this is I am not much of a red meat person and rarely buy beef in the first place, but it was good and my friends are enjoying it. I do not plan on doing this again as it was difficult to overcome my feelings for the alpacas that I am close to, but these two males were not handled very much and were in with 13 other males at one time. Today there are 3 studs on the sire side of the fence and four juveniles on the other. Hopefully we will be selling them as two are herd sire quality and two would be good for 4-H training. So as we close out our alpaca adventure we can say we tried it all. Yes, I like working with the fiber best of all.