Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Aug 20, 2011 10:26 AM

We're out of Mutton!

You know the infamous commercial where the wife calls into the kitchen, "What are you eating in there, deer?". Husband responds with mouth full, "It's mutton, Honey!". She says, "Don't give me no lip, I know you're eating SOMETHING!"

Anyway, it seems we now have a mutton shortage. There was one place in town that served it until just recently, but they got shut down for procuring their meats using questionable sources methods (Sam's BBQ). So I'm figuring that was just some sort of coverup for a much larger, international mutton conspiracy that reached all the way up to top VIA the Beef Lobby (who are the ones REALLY running this country).

Looks like this question was last asked here about 2 years ago without a valid answer (lamb breast is not mutton). I'm interested in obtaining largish chunks of primal mutton at *decent* prices, which would leave out ordering from "boutique" operations. Sam's sold it pretty cheap, so it must be available somewhere.

I hate to buy meat at Walmart (or much of anything else), but their Lamb Country Style Ribs are fantastic. Or maybe that was a fluke. I'm going to try them again today as a stewish type thing. Here is the last package of them I purchased (they're not really ribs, no).


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I just opened this package of "lamb country style spare ribs" from Walmart and the stench almost made me pass out. They not supposed to expire until the 29th, but I suspect they weren't refrigerated for a few days (or weeks). THIS is why I hate shopping at Walmart. Time for Dinner Plan B, whatever that is.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sqwertz

      Lamb ribs are mutton if the lamb is of drinking age.....but are Lamb Country Style Ribs mutton?

      Anyhow, most people use mutton because it is bigger and cheaper than a young lamb's meat. After you used up the sheep for other things, then it gets slaughtered. Are you feeding a crowd? Or do you just want that mutton flavor? Mutton has become "cool" to talk about, so there's a premium for it at the boutique places.

      (BTW, I have a fondness for lamb ribs. When I was in college, I'd go to the Whole Foods (Cheapo Disks) with my dalmatian, where they had a hotbox of roasted meats. We'd get a whole rack of lamb ribs for $2 and eat them out on the "patio." I'd gnaw off the meat, and she'd eat the bones entirely. Until just recently, you could get separated lamb ribs at HEB - pretty fatty, but you can roast them on the side of the grill long enought to defatten and get that "lamby" flavor. A little 5 spice and sambal olek was my trick. But that's not mutton!)

      I'll keep my eyes peeled. I think Sam's is open again, though. Heard that on the news.

      1. re: rudeboy

        My mother was a huge fan of the lamb breast from the HEB back in the day. She'd salt and pepper them then throw them in a 325 oven and cook 'em til most of the fat rendered off. Gee, they were tasty.

        1. re: agoodbite

          Lamb is NEVER mutton. Mutton is sheep. Lamb is young sheep.

          As for the lamb breast, when they're on sale for $1/lb I make lamb bacon. Cured for 2-3 days, then smoked, sliced and then a BLT would certainly be in order, for starters.

          4 pictures of lamb bacon at various stages of edibility:


          1. re: sqwertz

            Sqwerz - I know. I was trying to make a joke, but it didn't come off that well. When lamb becomes of "drinking age" (some people say 9 months, some say a year), then that lamb is in fact a sheep. Ha!

            Anyhow, I looked over those lamb bacon pictures. Looks tantalizing.

            1. re: rudeboy

              BTW: I want mutton for the taste. I haven't heard of it's becoming yuppie fad food. Unlike pork belly. If it was, I'd think i could find it. I want it mostly for stews and BBQ.


            2. re: sqwertz

              What's the difficulty level w/ this bc that looks really good?!

              1. re: uarent

                It's not hard at all. 30 minutes tending to the lamb for curing and smoking. 48 hours to cure and 2-3 hours to smoke. The hardest part is keeping temperature low for the smoke. Lamb shouldn't need much smoke - the first batch I did I didn't even smoke. Here's a better description of my process:



      2. Have you tried Longhorn Meat Market on MLK? I know I've seen it listed on their chalkboard a few times, and I'm sure if they don't have it in the freezer, they can order it for you. Prices are usually some of the best in town, too.

        While your there, pick up a package of their hot beef or sage pork sausage. I'm a big fan of both.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alan Sudo

          Yeah, I need to get over there some day. Problem is that I don't drive and if I go there I'm looking at 2,5 hours before anything I buy gets refrigerated again. And considering how meat-centric I am, I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been there (so I won't).

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Followup: Longhorn meat only ever sells lamb, and there seems to be some confusion regarding Lamb vs Mutton. When Longhorn advertises mutton, it is really lamb breast. Mutton is lamb that is over 2 years old (AKA "Sheep").

            Restaurant Depot sells 40lb boxes of 6-way cut "mutton" from Argentina for $2.39/lb. I couldn't tell if it was mutton or lamb and nobody could say for sure. $100 was little more than I wanted to spend to find out.


            3 Replies
            1. re: sqwertz

              Thanks for the info, sqwertz - I've seen mutton defined as over either 9 months old and over a year old. My dad was from Kentucky, and he was very adamant about lamb vs mutton. We had mutton all the time, biut, for easter, we always had a leg of lamb.

              We need to have a party for that 40 lb box.

              1. re: rudeboy

                I see that 40lb box in very near future. My crystal ball said so.

                Heck, I just spent $46 on a 10lb box of Vienna Natural Casing Beef Franks (80 of them) so $95 for a 40lb box of mutton is less than half the price! (Why is that women can get away with that kind of logic but men can't? Hrmpf)


              2. re: sqwertz

                After a little research, and considering this was from Argentina, it most likely is actual mutton, not lamb. just FYI for the next person looking for mutton. I will probably buy a box next month.

              3. I'd email Dai Due and ask for advice. If anyone would know where to find something a little more old-school and less "average HEB-y" like this (even though HEB does have some pretty off the path cuts of meat), Jesse would know.