Emu Steak

If you are a food enthusiast who loves experimenting with diverse culinary choices, you might have already tasted or at least heard about emu steak. Originating from Australia, this unique meat from the second-largest bird in the world, the emu, has conquered palates worldwide with its rich, flavorful, and versatile character. This article will take you through a comprehensive journey of understanding emu steak – its taste, preparation, health benefits, and much more.

The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is a flightless bird endemic to Australia. It is the largest bird in Australia and the second-tallest bird in the world after the common ostrich. The emu can reach up to 1.9 metres in height and use its long, strong legs to sprint at speeds up to 48 km/h. It is also capable of travelling great distances, albeit at lower speeds. The emu is an important cultural icon both for many Australian Aboriginal peoples and for the nation as a whole. It is featured in indigenous Australian mythologies as well as on modern coats of arms, coinages, and emblems.


The Taste of Emu Steak

When it comes to describing the taste of emu steak, most connoisseurs would agree that it tastes like premium beef, yet carries a distinct character. Emu steak is noted for its rich and slightly sweet flavor, bearing no gamey aftertaste, which makes it incredibly appealing to the majority of meat lovers. Its texture is similar to that of beef steak, but it is more tender.

Like other meats, the quality of the emu steak you prepare depends heavily on the source of your meat. Emus are typically farm-raised, and their diet consists of grains, plant materials, and insects. This diet impacts the taste and nutritional value of the meat. This is an omnivorous and opportunistic species, and it will forage on a wide variety of plants and insects if given the opportunity, so the individual emu farms and their conditions and choices can have a big impact on the quality of the steak.

Preparing Emu Steak

When it comes to preparation, emu steak is versatile and can be cooked in several ways. It can be pan-seared, grilled, or oven-roasted. The key to a delicious emu steak lies in not overcooking it. Emu meat is lean, and it is recommended that it be cooked medium-rare to maintain its tenderness and juiciness.

Health Benefits of Emu Steak

Emu steak is not only delicious but also packed with numerous health benefits. It is a lean source of protein, meaning it’s low in fat yet rich in essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and repair. It is also a rich source of iron, which helps prevent anaemia, and vitamin B12, which supports nerve function and the production of DNA.

Moreover, emu steak is high in monounsaturated fats, the heart-healthy fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. It also provides a decent amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, important for heart and brain health.

Emu is a traditional food.

Within the native range of the emu, the bird and its eggs have traditionally been an important source of food for many Aboriginal Australian peoples. There is also a long tradition of using other parts of the bird, including the fat, for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Later, European settlers also began eating wild emu, and some used the fat as fuel.

Commercial emu farming in Australia did not start until the 1970s.

Environment and animal welfare

Emus can be environmentally friendly livestock. They require less feed, water, and space compared to many other livestock animals, and are well adapted to prevailing conditions in large parts of Australia. They also release fewer greenhouse gases than cows.

In Australia, farmed emus typically live in large open pens where they can move around and exhibit normal foraging behavious. Keeping them confined to small spaces increases the risk of leg and digestive problems, and is also negative for the general wellfare and quality of life for the birds. They are allowed to forage, but also receive grains to ensure they have access to enough food in the pen.

The commercial emu farms in Australia rely on captive bred stock, and all states except Tasmania (where there are no wild emus) require licensing and have strict rules in place to protect the wild populations. Emus are not difficult to breed in captivity.

There used to be wild emus living on Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and King Island in the past, and they were subspecies of the mainland emu. They became extinct after the European settlement of Australia. As late as the 1960s, the authorities of Western Australia still paid bounties for the killing of wild emus. Today, the wild emus in all of Australia are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Emus are good at surviving in Australia.

Wild emus are today found in a variety of habitats across Australia, both in coastal regions and more inland. Their typical habitat is savannah woodland and sclerophyll forest. They are not common in areas where the human population is dense, or where the annual rainfall is less than 600 mm. In the past, emus were mostly common in the eastern coastal areas of Australia, but the development of agriculture and farms arranging water supplies for livestock in the interior has increased the range of wild emus and made it possible for them to spread.

Emus are capable of walking long distances to reach feeding areas. In Western Australia, there is a seasonal pattern where emus migrate north in summer and south in winter. Emus do not need to drink frequently as long as there are water sources available where they can fill up a lot in one go. Typically, they will drink once a day, and if they feel safe, they can drink continuously for 10 minutes. After a good fill, they can survive for several days without drinking and are sometimes forced to do so in the wild, when they live in or move through areas where water sources are few and far between.

Emus are good at maintaining their body temperature and can handle environments from −5 to 45 °C (23 to 113 °F). When they feel hot, they pant and use their lungs as evaporative coolers. Panting results in decreased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, but emus do not seem to develop alkalosis from this.

All these adaptations are not only beneficial for wild emus; they also make it easier to farm emus in the harsh conditions present in parts of Australia where many other livestock animals would not thrive or would require much more intervention to do well.


In conclusion, emu steak is an exciting alternative to traditional meats. It provides a unique gastronomical experience with its rich, flavorful taste and tender texture. Its health benefits and the sustainability aspect of emu farming make it a great addition to the conscious consumer’s diet. As with all foods, enjoy emu steak as part of a balanced diet and continue to explore the wide world of culinary delights that our planet offers.