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Ostrich meat is a red meat, low in cholesterol, fat and calories, yet relatively high in proteins. It is regarded as the Healthy Choice by red meat eaters. Ostriches are raised in a natural environment thereby ensuring that the ostriches have a quality of life to produce a meat, which can be considered as one of the greenest animal farming methods today.

Ostrich Meat is tender, lower in cholesterol than even chicken, low in calories, low in saturated fats, and it boasts on average only a 0,5% fat and 21% protein content.

These proven qualities makes ostrich meat the ideal meat for today’s global trend towards lighter cooking and healthier eating.

Key Characteristics

From a nutritional point of view ostrich meat has a much lower fat count than chicken, beef, lamb or pork. Its distinct, subtle taste and versatility makes it sought after by hoteliers, restaurateurs, home cooks and caterers around the globe.

A nutritional comparison of cooked lean meat from various animals.
Type Meat Cut Protein (%) Fat (g) Calories (kcal) Iron (mg) Cholesterol
Ostrich Cut comp. 26,9 3 142 3,2 81
Beef Broiled tenderloin 28,1 10,5 209 3 83
Veal Braised loin chop 33,9 9,4 225 1,2 124
Pork Loin centre rib chop 29,3 15,2 256 1,1 94
Chicken Whole, no skin 26,9 7,4 190 1,2 89
Turkey Whole, no skin 29,3 5 170 1,8 70


Ostrich Parts
Ostrich Oyster Fillet 

The prime cuts, most of which find their way onto international markets, are fillet and steak.

An ostrich fillet braaied outdoors is a South African speciality. Unlike most game, ostrich steaks and fillets are known for their buttery tenderness, without requiring any tenderising prior to cooking.

A wide variety of additional ostrich products are also available.
  • cold meats

  • russian’s

  • vienna’s

  • ham

  • bacon

  • goulash

  • mince

  • sausage

  • meatballs

  • liver

  • gizzard

  • heart

  • knuckle

  • neck

  • burgers

  • liver pâté

  • biltong

  • smoked fillet.

Culinary Uses

Ostrich Goulash 

The prime cuts, fillet and steak, are versatile favourites for tasty roast dishes, delicious grills and superb schnitzels. Neck (for hearty stews and soups) and goulash (for stews, stirfry dishes or tacos) are increasing in popularity, as is ostrich liver from which a delectable pâté can be made.

Preparation Tips
  • Ostrich meat can be prepared in many ways and with a variety of cooking methods. It can be grilled, smoked, stewed, braised, fried, roasted or skewered, served by itself or with a sauce and as hors d’oeuvres, canapés, appetisers, entrées or main courses.

  • Ostrich is best served rare to medium rare!

  • The ostrich is a flightless bird and has a flat breast bone which makes it unable to fly. Therefore, it does not have a large breast or wing muscles like most conventional poultry. The meat from the ostrich comes from the thigh, leg and back.

  • Ostrich fillet (fan, inside strip, outside strip, top loin and tenderloin) and sirloin (top and round) come from the thigh area. The most tender cut is the fillet. Roast and ground meat come from the leg muscles.

Cooking Ostrich
  • Ostrich meat contains little fat, therefore it does cook differently than beef.

  • Tender cuts should be grilled, broiled or fired.

  • For best taste, the meat should not be cooked more than a medium doneness, 60–70°C (140°F–158°F) on a meat thermometer.

  • A moist heat cooking method is suggested for those that prefer meat that is well done, because of the lack of fat the meat will be dry and tough.

  • Less tender cuts (such as the drum) should be prepared using a moist cooking method such as roasting.

  • Ostrich works very well with recipes that call for cooking meats with vegetables.

  • Most cuts of ostrich will cook in a little less time than a similar size cut of beef, and lesser quantities of spices are needed for the same flavour.

Method Portion Temperature C F Time
Bake 115 g   190° 375° 15 min
Braai 115 g Medium     10 min
Boil 450–900 g High     20 min
Braise 55 g Low     20 min
Broil/Grill 340 g High     10–13 min
Fry 55 g   220° 425° 2–4 min
Parboil 450–900 g High     5 min
Roast 1,8–2,7 kg   160° 325° 13–15 min
Sautée 55 g   220° 425° 15 min per side
Sear 115 g High     30–45 sec
Skewer 25 mm cubes High     6–8 min
Soup Chunks Simmer     30 min
Microwaving NOT recommended for either cooking or re-heating. It dries the meat out and makes it rather unappealing.
Marinade Marinade is a liquid in which the meat is placed to allow absorption of both moisture and flavour. Ostrich is very lean and marinades help to avoid excessive drying. Ostrich meat is very quick to absorb the flavour of a marinade, so don’t overpower the taste of the meat.

Category: South African Cuisine

Subcategory: Poultry

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