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What Does Hippopotamus Taste Like?

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Hippopotamuses might look like adorable creatures, but they are easily one of the most deadly animals in Africa.

Hippo isn’t common on menus in the Western world, but in some places, like Africa – where this animal is native – its meat is enjoyed.

If you’ve never had it before you might have questions about how edible hippo is and what exactly it tastes like.

What Does Hippopotamus Taste Like?

In short, hippo tastes a little like beef.

I’ll dive into more detail in this article, so keep reading.

Is Hippo Meat Edible For Humans?

Yes, hippo meat is edible for humans and has been consumed in certain cultures, particularly in parts of Africa where hippos are native, and hippo meat is considered to be a delicacy.

There are a lot of ways to enjoy hippo meat, some of the most popular being grilled, roasted, or dried.

Many African people swear by hippo meat biltong.

However, the consumption of hippo meat isn’t super popular as hunting hippos is illegal in many areas due to their protected status as a vulnerable species, aiming to prevent their populations from declining further.

Additionally, consuming hippo meat comes with health risks, such as the potential transmission of diseases from the animal to humans.

Finally, because hippos are often found in protected areas or are subject to conservation efforts, sourcing their meat through legal and ethical channels can be challenging.

Therefore, while hippo meat is technically edible, its consumption is not widely endorsed due to legal, ethical, and health considerations.

Does Hippo Meat Taste Good?

People have been eating hippo meat for centuries. Most people who try this meat claim that it is similar to beef, but it has a mildly sweet flavor.

The texture, on the other hand, is a little tough, as you might expect.

As such, you should marinate your hippo meat before you cook or smoke it.

But, what makes hippo meat truly unique when you compare it to other meat is the high-fat content and marbling.

Hippo meat easily has three times more unsaturated fat than beef. This adds a delightful oiliness or butteriness to your overall meat flavor.

But that is not all; hippo meat is also extremely succulent and juicy even if you cook it over an open fire as the traditional method.

Interestingly, hippo meat is actually far healthier than you know. It does not have as much cholesterol as other meats.

This is because it does not contain as much LDL cholesterol, especially when you compare it to cattle. Hippo meat is not a common meat outside Africa, but it can be acquired.

How your hippo meat tastes is entirely dependent on how you season it. But, it should still have a somewhat gamey yet beefy flavor. 

What Is The Best Way To Enjoy Hippo Meat?

What Does Hippopotamus Taste Like?

One of the most popular methods is to grill it over a fire. You can enjoy it in a steak format or as a ground patty.

Either way, you should end up with delicious barbecued meat that is juicy, tender, and extremely flavorful.

You could also stew your hippo meat, much like you would with stewing beef.

A hippo stew can be cooked with an array of veggies like potatoes, onions, celery, Garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and more.

However, as I mentioned, hippo meat can be quite tough. As such, you may need to tenderize it before you can enjoy this super flavorsome meat.

One way to tenderize your hippo meat is to boil it for several hours before you add your veggies to the pot.

This should keep your meat delightfully soft while reducing the risk of overcooked veggies.

Another popular method of tenderizing hippo meat is to marinate it overnight before you cook it.

I recommend using vinegar-based sauces, such as soy sauce. You need an acidic sauce to help break down the proteins.

But the best way to enjoy hippo meat is to dry it. Biltong, an African delicacy known as Biltong, is delicious cured meat that has been tried with traditional seasoning.

Hippo biltong is highly flavorful and has a sweet, gamey, beefy flavor.

Final Thoughts

Hippo meat is quite beefy but does have a tough texture.

It’s not common outside of Africa, and even in Africa, it’s not something that is regularly consumed for a number of reasons.

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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