Lamb and mutton | butchery and cookery

Butchery and cookery

The meat of a lamb is taken from the animal between one month and one year old, with a carcase (carcass in American English) weight of between 5.5 and 30 kg (12 and 66 lb). This meat generally is more tender than that from older sheep and appears more often on tables in some Western countries. Hogget and mutton have a stronger flavour than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids and are preferred by some.[16] Mutton and hogget also tend to be tougher than lamb (because of connective tissue maturation) and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking, as in Lancashire hotpot, for example.

Lamb is often sorted into three kinds of meat: forequarter, loin, and hindquarter. The forequarter includes the neck, shoulder, front legs, and the ribs up to the shoulder blade. The hindquarter includes the rear legs and hip. The loin includes the ribs between the two.

Lamb chops are cut from the rib, loin, and shoulder areas. The rib chops include a rib bone; the loin chops include only a chine bone. Shoulder chops are usually considered inferior to loin chops; both kinds of chops are usually grilled. Breast of lamb (baby chops) can be cooked in an oven.

Leg of lamb is a whole leg; saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted, though the leg is sometimes boiled.

Forequarter meat of sheep, as of other mammals, includes more connective tissue than some other cuts, and, if not from a young lamb, is best cooked slowly using either a moist method, such as braising or stewing, or by slow roasting or American barbecuing. It is, in some countries, sold already chopped or diced.

Lamb shank definitions vary, but generally include:

  • a cut from the arm of shoulder, containing leg bone and part of round shoulder bone, and covered by a thin layer of fat and fell (a thin, paper-like covering).
  • a cut from the upper part of the leg.

Mutton barbeque is a tradition in Western Kentucky. The area was strong in the wool trade, which gave them plenty of older sheep that needed to be put to use.[17]

Thin strips of fatty mutton can be cut into a substitute for bacon called macon.

Lamb tongue is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine both as a cold cut and in preparations like stews.[18]