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Philistine Dog Stew

Archeologists have determined that, in addition to pork, dog occasionally showed up on Philistine tables. Since I’ve already tried my hand at producing a possible (maybe even plausible) Philistine pork recipe, why not give dog a shot?

Of course, the first item of business will be to find a suitable substitute for dog meat. There are four reasons for this:

  1. I’m just not going there.
  2. Eating dog meat is considered taboo—if not illegal—in the West.
  3. I don’t know anyone who would eat it.
  4. No, really, I’m just not going there.

So, what does dog taste like? A little online scrounging has turned up several people‚ mostly Westerners who have traveled to East Asia‚ who have weighed in on the subject. There does not, however, seem to be much consensus. Of course, some vote for chicken. (Doesn’t everything taste like chicken?) Denmark’s Prince Henrik describes it as like dried baby goat or veal: “like the veal of a baby suckling calf, only drier.” John Allen says, “The taste was different, not as strong as venison, more like pigeon if I had to compare it to anything.” Another opts for lamb (“The taste is similar, but not as pungent”), and others suggest goat as a suitable substitute in Bosintang, a traditional Korean dog stew.

I’m willing to trust the discerning palates of the Prince Consort of Denmark and Korean cooks everywhere, so let’s assume goat is the best substitute for dog meat. If you can’t get that, beef or veal may be your next best option. Several Westerners voted for beef or veal (already noted by Prince Henrik) as the closest thing to dog in taste. Jonathan at the blog Epiphany concurs by noting, “It tastes like ostrich (which tastes like beef).” I think ostrich tastes more like veal than beef, but either is close.

I don’t know if the Philistines considered dog meat a delicacy or simply a cheap source of protein, but I tend to think the former because pork was far more common in their diet. At any rate, here is another untested recipe for what might have been a popular Philistine dish:

3 1/4 pounds of boneless goat, beef, or veal, cut into 2-inch chunks
all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 cups of beef or chicken broth
8-10 large stalks of celery, including leaves, chopped
1 tsp all-purpose Greek seasoning (I like Cavender’s)
salt and pepper to taste

(1) Lightly coat the meat with flour.

(2) Place celery in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, drain, and set aside.

(3) In a Dutch oven or stew pot, sauté the onion and garlic in hot oil.

(4) When the onion is soft, add the meat and 3 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 60 minutes.

(5) Add celery, seasoning, salt, and pepper. Simmer another 30 minutes or until meat is done and tender. Do not stir; gently shake the pot a few times to prevent the meat from sticking. Add more broth if needed.

(6) Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


  1. Ed Cline says:

    Remind me not to let Val look for recipes on your site, DJP. 😛


  2. PS says:

    I was doubtful about the reference to dog meat, since I have a number of Korean cook books, books, and I’ve been there and had guests from there, but I looked at the references in Wikepedia, and I guess they do (did) eat dog. http://tinyurl.com/2xk3bt

    But, really, how is that different from a farm family having close knowledge and making other animals a pet before killing them?


  3. Since you’re dealing with a carnivore, the meat will taste quite different from that of herbivores and omnivores. One reason why free-range chicken differs in flavor from the mass produced variety is that bugs and the like are part of the Free Birds’ diet. Same thing with wild hog (and with these, you definitely want to butcher a youngun’). If other pickin’s are scarce, they’ll eat bugs and little scaly and furry things, which imparts a taste quite different from if they’re just browsing or stealing crops,

    If dog is going to remain off-menu, remember that bear and cougar have long-standing association with the American dinner table. They were regular parts of the diets of mountain men, trappers, scouts, and early settlers, as well as for the natives already hunting when us white folk showed up.

    My paternal grand-dad did eat dog (among some Kiowa shirttail cousins in Oklahoma). He compared it favorably to horse or mule, both in texture and taste. YMMV.


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