What is Mutton?

by admin on January 28, 2012

Cooking Tips, Food For Thought

BBQ Meats: What is Mutton?

In other parts of the country, most people haven’t even tried mutton. They think it’s tougher and gamier than lamb, so they’ve never been introduced to the glory that is barbecued mutton.

Here in Kentucky, of course, we know better.

Mutton is simply mature sheep, much the way veal is young cow and beef is mature cow. The idea that mutton is “old” sheep is one of the reasons it gets a bad rap, so let’s clear that up right now: there are definitely sheep that are far too old to be tasty, just as there are cows that are far too old to be tasty. Mutton is sheep that is just old enough to be really, really tasty. We call it “lamb” if it’s less than 12 months old, and “mutton” from 1 year to 5 years.

Here at Moonlite, we buy about 2-year-old female ‘ewes’ (sheep) that have just the right maturity to have a rich, meaty taste that’s more satisfying than lamb. There’s an old joke that veal is for people who can’t handle the taste of real beef; we’re of the same mind when it comes to lamb vs. mutton. Mutton is one of the best-tasting meats around, and there’s nothing like a good barbeque to bring it out.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Beata February 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Do you know why New Zealand is so fumoas? I know they have millions of them out there. But how or why is their lamb so special?

admin February 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I think to answer that question you need to know a little bit more about mutton in general. There was a good article written back in 2006 by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/29/dining/29mutt.html?pagewanted=3

Wikipedia List New Zealand as one of the highest consumers of Mutton and Lamb per capita. I think this reflects their cultural history of raising and eating Sheep. New Zealand is well suited for raising sheep and cattle; its food has roots in British, Irish, and Polynesian history.

K Faulk May 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm

There is nothing like the taste of good mutton. I’m a kentuckian by birth but, I have lived in many places. Most don’t have an inkling of how wonderful it is and especially in western ky. I live in Pa. now and they think its awful to eat mutton. Wow! If we had a Moonlite here they would change their minds quickly about it.

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