Can you eat llama meat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat llama meat?”. We will further elaborate on the method of cooking llama meat, along with the nutritional content, different recipes that include llama meat, and the advantages of llama meat.

Can you eat llama meat?

Yes, you can eat llama meat. The meat of the llama is lean, tender, and sweet. 

Talking about nutritional content, llama meat is superior to many other red meat counterparts. South American camelids produce lean carcasses, with an uneven fat distribution across the carcass. Llama and alpaca meat quality traits are mostly influenced by animal nutrition, animal age and processing methods (1).

Other than being eaten by humans, llamas are also utilized for transportation. The excrement of llamas can be burned for fuel purposes after drying it.

The taste of llama meat

Just like all other game meats, llama meat is also lean. The flavor of llama meat is a mixture of the flavor of beef and lamb. The meat of llama is easy to chew as it is juicy and translucent. The texture of llama meat is soft. 

As llama is very much similar to camels, the llama meat also has a somewhat similar taste as a camel.

A study shows that meat of South America camelids’ sensory parameters, color and tenderness, were affected mostly by processing technologies. The largest improvements in tenderness and consistency were obtained through combining treatments of electrical stimulation, tender stretching and aging the meat for 10 days (1).

How to cook llama meat?

After preheating the oven to 375 degrees centigrade, yams are cut into pieces. These pieces are almost the same size. After cutting these pieces yams are tossed with pepper, salt, and oil. In a baking dish, it is arranged in a single layer. 

After dispersing a few sprigs of fresh rosemary over the yarns, roast them until they get tendered. 

Is llama meat legal?

Although many of the exotic animals are illegal. But llama meat is legal; it is labeled as such only if it has been obtained from a llama that has been killed by an approved slaughterhouse. And all required healthy inspections have been passed for it. In fact, recently, the nutritional relevance of llama meat has increased, because this kind of meat is an important source of protein for the Andean population (2).

The habitat of llama

Llamas live in a high plateau covered with shrubs, trees, and grasses. Llamas have been acclimated to different environments. The native environment of llamas is the Andes mountain of South America and Bolivia.

The llama and alpaca are found throughout the Andean Altiplano and the southern part of the continent. The evidence suggests that llamas and alpacas were  domesticated around 6000–7000 BP. Both species provide significant economic, social and cultural importance to the South American people (1).

Camelids, including llama, are not true ruminants even though they have a rumen; they have three instead of four stomach compartments, the omasum being continuous with the abomasum (2).

The nutritional content of llama meat

Following are some of the nutrients that can be obtained by eating llama meat

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur
  • Selenium

A study shows that 100 g of llama meat contains 71 g moisture, 3.5 g fat (including 58 mg cholesterol), 22.4 g protein and 3.0 g ash (2). It also contains 447.1 mg K, 379.4 mg P, 105.6 mg Na, 28.4 mg Mg, 11.6 mg Ca, 4.44 mg Zn and 3.26 mg Fe (1).

In a recent study on llama meat reported a similar content of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids in the llama meat muscle were 241 mg and 151 mg per 100 g and the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids were 100 mg per 100 g, of which 59.4 mg omega-6 and 40.8 mg omega-3 (1).

Different recipes in which llama meat is used

Following are different recipes in which llama meat is used as an ingredient:

Anticuchos de Carne: 

After cutting the beef into cubes, all the remaining ingredients are combined. These ingredients are combined in a non-reactive bowl and beef chunks are added. 

Then for a few hours, it is covered and refrigerated. Beef cubes are threaded onto the skewers and are grilled. The grill is preheated over medium heat. Kebabs are cooked until the beef is thoroughly cooked. When its color turns to slightly pink it is turned.

Argentinian grilled steak with rosemary: 

Wine is boiled in a small pot along with one sprig of rosemary and peppercorns. Heat is lowered and is simmered for an hour. The grill is heated and steaks are dropped on the center of the grill. 

The remaining rosemary is placed on top. It is cooked for three minutes after closing the lid. Steak is picked up using long tongs and is rotated at ninety degrees to make hash marks. Rosemary is removed, flipped, and repeated on the other side.

Laham bi ajeen: 

Water, yeast, and sugar are combined and this mixture is stirred. Water is added to this mixture gradually so that the mixture becomes a dough ball. But the water must be added to a limit. The moisture content of the mixture must be in control. 

After placing the dough in a bowl, it must be covered and kept at room temperature for about twenty minutes. Flour is cleaned and the dough is divided into eight pieces. After preheating the oven, a pizza stone is placed on the oven floor. 

A pizza peel is sprinkled and pieces of meat are placed on the top of the dough. It is cooked until the meat changes its color to brown.

The advantages of llama meat

Following are some benefits that can be availed from llama meat.

Low amount of fat: 

The amount of fat present in llama meat is less as compared to the fat content of other meats.

The fatty acid composition of this meat is very favorable, due to the high proportion in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It could be suggested that the increase in omega-3 fatty acids in llama and alpaca meat is due to the extensive rearing of the animals. Over the past decade significant attention has been focussed on conjugated linoleic acid due to its health benefits, including actions to reduce carcinogenesis and atherosclerosis. Conjugated linoleic acid has also been reported to modulate body composition by reducing the accumulation of adipose tissue in a variety of species including mice, rats, pigs, and now humans (1).

An appropriate amount of protein: 

A sufficient quantity of protein is present in llama meat. This protein is very beneficial for us as it promotes bone health and nail formation. It is a good source of essential amino acids and minerals for a healthy human diet. The digested protein can be absorbed in the intestine in the form of single amino acids, di- or tripeptides, and oligopeptides. Bioactive peptides are protein fragments, which have attracted recent attention due to their interesting physiological functions. These include their antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antioxidative, cardioprotective, immune-modulatory, analgesic, antidiabetic, antiaging, appetite-suppressing, and neuroprotective activities (3).

Fibers: 

A lot of fibers are present in llama meat. These fibers are a good source to keep us full for a long period. So it aids in weight loss.

Other FAQs about Meat that you may be interested in.

What is slimy lunch meat?

Is beyond meat really vegan?

How is vegetarian meat made?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can you eat llama meat?”. We have further elaborated on the method of cooking llama meat, along with the nutritional content, different recipes, and advantages of llama meat.

References

  1. Popova, Teodora, et al. Meat of south American Camelids-Sensory quality and nutritional composition. Meat Sci, 2021, 171, 108285.
  2. Polidori, Paolo, et al. Llama meat nutritional properties. It J Anim Sci, 2007, 6, 857-858.
  3. Venugopal, Vazhiyil, and Kumarapanicker Gopakumar. Shellfish: Nutritive value, health benefits, and consumer safety. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2017, 16, 1219-1242.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.