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Sep 11, 2008 11:11 AM

Mutton (SEA)?

Yes lamb is wonderful, but I'm looking for cheap, mature, tough, braise-able mutton. I scoured the I-district (Viet Wah, Hau Hau, blahbidy blah blah). Asians aren't big sheep eaters....? Tried a halal butcher: Continental Spice on Aurora, who politely steered me to 'lamb leg'.

Is this turning into another food odyssey? I found a wonderful side of goat for $2.99/lb in Chinatown, but no mutton?

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  1. I concurr that that american lamb is just too darn bland for many recipes. I did a 7 hour leg of lamb that turned out like pot roast. Now pot roast is darn tasty but its painful if you paid the price of a leg of lamb to only end up with pot roast.

    So if you find mutton, please share the source. My understanding is that americans generally don't like lamb flavor [my mother told of her father HATING the smell and not allowing it to be cooked in the house--unfathomable!]. I suspect your best bet is to check the local famer's markets for someone selling lamb and arrange to buy the whole beastie so the farmer allows it to grow a bit bigger. . . .hmmm, let me know if you try......

    In the interium, goat works admirably as a substitute. I did the same 7 hour recipe with goat leg and it was yummy. There is a goat meat seller who hits the U-District market and the one in Columbia City.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jenn

      Jenn, that is a _seriously_ good idea...I'll hit the U-district farmers' market this Saturday & ask about a whole beastie. Anyone interested in a communal purchase please chime in; it's sheep slaughtering time! Apologies to anyone with pet sheep....

      1. re: Lets_eat

        I am down for a section. I got a quarter of beef with a friend last fall and only just finished it. $3/pound. I was party to a half a sheep in a Auckland, NZ youth hostel getting barbecued and a sheep on a spit with it's belly wired shut full of wine, honey and garlic in was fantastic until the Bunderberg and Coke took over, the fire went out and the dogs got ALL the leftovers. But now...mutton stew with ginger/cumin come November...that's a plan.

    2. Ummm...Not too helpful, but I did notice canned "corned mutton" at the little indian shop by my house yesterday....


        So following Jenn's great suggestion, I hit the U-District farmers' market this past Saturday. It was entertaining:

        * Sea Breeze Farms said: "We'll get back to you. Come next Saturday."
        * Olsen Farms said: "Eh, maybe. Call us in October."
        * The <name not noted> goat specialist said: "Ewww! You eat SHEEP!?"

        I spoke with another <name not noted> vendor who gave me a hot tip: Thundering Hooves in Walla Walla. Gave 'em a call...they have mutton! Here are the details:

        They have a small bunch of older sheep for - get this - "...our pet food business." Typical beastie weighs +/- 40 lbs and costs about $200. We can specify how we want it cut up. And they have buying clubs in Seattle where we can pick it up; he mentioned one in Phinney Ridge based on my location, but they freeze the meat before moving it.

        So...5 bucks a lb, is it worth it? I get 'lamb leg' from my local halal butcher for $3.49/lb frozen. Shouldn't mutton be cheaper?

        10 Replies
        1. re: Lets_eat

          but the halal meat isn't organically raised or pastured........ Halal just refers to the way in which the animal is butchered. As I understand it, Thundering Hooves is all pasture raised as opposed to pens and the like.

          Here is a website for Thundering Hooves.

          According to the website, a whole lamb is $7 a pound [half is $7.50]. So the mutton is definitely a better deal. 20 lbs of lamb is about 1 cubic foot of freezer space....hmmm, I think I better go home and juggle the frozen fruit to see what space is left.

          I like Sea Breeze---they have AWESOME bacon. I would be interested in finding out what they might charge for a mutton. And I know the goat person----the goat is very good.....

          You can still count me in but I need to go see how much space I have in the freezer....or can arrange in someone else's freezer, [like maybe the one in the office!!!].

          thanks so much for all your hard work!

          1. re: jenn

            If you think Sea Breeze bacon is awesome, try Skagit River Ranch!!

            1. re: not the bad Steve

              I've been disappointed with both Skagit River Ranch and Sea Breeze's bacon. In fact, almost all of the prepared products from Skagit River Ranch I've found subpar (their meat is great though). I've found that my homemade bacon far outshines both of theirs, and I'm using pork belly from Uwajimaya. I'd love to have access to a whole berkshire belly to see what I can do with it.

              1. re: vanillagorilla

                What specifically did you not like about SRR's bacon? After having it, I find myself literally unable to eat bacon from other sources.

                (If yours is markedly better, though, you'd find me a pretty loyal customer.)

                1. re: not the bad Steve

                  The porkiness of it is great, but there just wasn't enough smoke for my tastes. I also prefer a touch more sweetness to go with the salt, but don't like a lot of other spices mucking it up. Their bacon is good, but more like a panchetta to me.

                  My bacon only contains salt, maple sugar, sodium nitrite, and maple syrup. I then hot smoke it for about 4 hours over cherry wood. I wish I had a cold smoker so I could get even a little more flavor into it.

                  I don't think it would be legal for me to sell you any bacon, but when I break out the smoker again you are sure welcome to come by and taste it :). I'm not sure I'll have it out any more until spring though. A few weeks ago I made 5 pounds of bacon, 14 pounds of brisket, and 4 pounds of Tasso Ham. So I'm good for a while.

                  1. re: vanillagorilla

                    sounds good to me! but how will we know where to find you?!?!?!

                2. re: vanillagorilla

                  Myself, I'm curious about what you didn't like about Sea Breeze's bacon. Its plenty smoky and I can't say I've detected too many other flavors.

                  1. re: jenn

                    It's been a while since I've had it, so I don't really remember. Do you happen to know if it's nitrite free? I tend to not like cured meats without the nitrites.

                    1. re: vanillagorilla

                      This kind of thread hijack I can sink my teeth into!

                      If you're having a bacon party please count me in :^P I just wanted to mention that my go-to bacon is also plenty smoky, and I swear by it. It's a traditional hungarian bacon, made by hungarians, and available online vacuum-packed:


                      1. re: Lets_eat

                        well its hijack or collapse into weepiness over the loss of the mutton.....sniff, sniff, sniff......and i was all set to re-organize the freezer this weekend! WAHHHHHHHHHH........................................

          2. I buy lamb from Fero's in the Pike Place Market (it's down next to the CanCan). I'd bet that they can get you what you're looking for.

            1. Although they haven't had lamb in a while, you may want to ask Skagit River Ranch. Maybe they're raising some sheep. There's also a farmer who brings pastured meat once a month (either first or last Friday, can't remember) to the farmers market in the Grocery Outlet parking lot on MLK & Union on Fridays from 3-7. I believe they had lamb.

              Now if any of you sheep seekers could find someone who would sell me some raw sheep milk...