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sheep meat ??

I see lamb meat in recipes but never sheep meat.
Can you tell me why?
The visual of that cute little thing being killed prevents me from eating lamb meat.
Yes. Yes, I'm sure lamb meat is wonderful and people love it and it's indepensible in
many recipes.
Something must be done with old sheep after they're done shearing them for wool.
I'm sure they must used sheep meat for something since nothing should go to waste.

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  1. Sheep meat is usually labeled "mutton". The main reason you don't see it called for is because it has a... let's call it "distinctive" flavor. Rather gamey, very much an acquired taste. You may wish to poke around local Middle Eastern restaurants for it, I think they'd be your best bet to try it.

    1. If you are thinking of trying it I'd only buy a very small amount of the most expensive cut first. If you can't stomach that you'll never be able to deal with the cheaper cuts.

      1. LOL lamb are sheep. Mutton is also sheep.

        7 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          I doubt you've ever eaten a sheep that's about two years old or more. I doubt you'd care to. HUGE difference between 'spring lamb' and an old ewe. HUGE! Yeah and a two month old Cornish X is a chicken and so is a White leghorn. LOL Try them each in the roasting pan.

          1. re: Puffin3

            By the by, last week I ate a casserole of hen, not chicken. Absolutely delicious with the dark meat being really, really dark. A revelation - we need to prize eating these older animals much more than we do.

            1. re: Harters

              indeed -- I bought a coq to make coq au vin a couple of weeks ago -- took longer to cook than with a "regular" bird, but oh, it was sooo tasty.

              I still don't like mutton, though.

              1. re: Harters

                Harters, where did you find it for cooking?
                lSomehow restaurants find ingredients commoners like me find difficult to find.

                1. re: sylvan

                  Ah, sorry, sylvan, for not explaining fully. The hen dish was in a restaurant in Madrid. I can't recall coming across one in recent years for sale in the UK.

              2. re: Puffin3

                I like buffalo, venison and grass fed beef so how much difference could mutton be. The last 2 times I have had lamb I was very disappointed because it might as well have been pork because it was utterly tasteless.

                I grew up eating chickens that has lived a life of bugs, worms and other insects and whose diet had only been supplemented by grain when there wasn't enough food outside so modern cage raised birds are completely tasteless to me. I seldom eat anything but thighs because its the only part of the bird with any flavor at all.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  How different? VERY. I eat buffalo, venison, grass-fed beef, duck, goose, and goat -- and won't eat mutton. It is *very* strongly flavored.

            2. you might want to read this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_and...

              In New Zealand they also distinguish between Hogget which is an older Lamb.

              Mutton has really fallen out of favour in most westernised countries but does seem to be making a comeback with the resurgence of interest in more "challenging" meats like offal. I've noticed there are a few butchers in London these days that stock Mutton regularly.

              2 Replies
              1. re: echoclerk

                We also distinguish hogget in the UK, although you rarely see it. It's defined as meat from an animal 1 - 2 years old (younger it's lamb; older it's mutton). Mutton is regaining its popularlity and I can usually find it in farmers markets or from online farms (such as Mansergh Hall which sells three year old products - http://www.manserghhall.co.uk/index.p....

                I usually have little time for our royal family but the Prince of Wales has done a lot to promote mutton, founding the Mutton Renaissance Campaign - http://www.muttonrenaissance.org.uk/i...

                1. re: Harters

                  One of my retirement projects is going to be raising a few sheep and/or goats.

                  I have read that hair sheep have a milder flavor than regular wooly sheep and I'm hoping that they will be nice and flavorful between the ages of 1 and 2. They will have the added advantage for me of not needing to be sheared.

              2. You do know that the sheep are not butchered for their wool, right? It's shaved off in the spring (somewhat like getting a haircut) and it grows back in time to keep them warm over the next winter....

                1. As sheep mature, they develop a gamier flavor and a tougher texture. Over the years, Americans have lost their taste for the pungency of lamb and mutton accordingly has gone out of style, though it is making a resurgence and can be found in some farmer's markets. Halal butchers which cater to Eastern Mediterranean and South Asian communities will also carry mutton, though the name is also applied to goat meat in South Asia so it is best to ask the butcher which animal you are purchasing.

                  1. thanks all for your responses
                    sounds like I never see mutton/sheep meat in recipes or in the grocery store is because
                    it tastes awful
                    I'll never try it
                    thanks again

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sylvan

                      Well, obviously the people who don't like mutton (poor souls!) have been the most vocal here. Do you know there are also people who think lobster, poached eggs, pea soup, and chocolate chip cookies taste awful? Why are you so willing to accept the verdict of someone else's taste buds instead of using your own? I love mutton. There is nothing more wonderful on a cold winter's night than a big steaming cast iron pot full of rich mutton stew with carrots and potatoes and pearl onions nestling up to the chunks of savory mutton. I'll have your share. Thanks!!

                    2. If you're ever in Owensboro, Kentucky, the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn is the reigning Mother Church of that western Kentucky treat, barbecued mutton. Google it for the website - you won't believe how many sheep enter those portals daily, to leave as meals under the belts of happy diners or as sandwiches to go. It's true that the days are past when it was just one of many such establishments in those parts, but it may also be true that this rich, succulent meat will become next big thing, hip and happenin'.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I think well raised, butchered, aged and cooked mutton is fabulous, but a dodgy old ewe does not make good mutton. Ever.

                          1. re: pippimac

                            Moonlite claims to have strict standards about the animals they get, and I see no reason to doubt that. I would think that the more mutton is consumed in an area, the less likely you'd be to get bad mutton, although my brother tells me that when he'd get a sandwich from one of the then-common BBQ-mutton drive-throughs - this was in the late '60s - he'd occasionally get one that tasted 'way too much of sheep.

                            When we were in Hong Kong in '95, on a foodie trip led by Martin Yan, his sidekick was the delightful (and now departed) Shirley Fong-Torres. We got to be good buddies, and one day when we were going to have an unguided afternoon she took us aside and said she was going to lunch at a chophouse that was famous for its mutton chops, and would we like to join her? Mrs. O and I were delighted at the prospect, but the rest of the family, led by Dad (on whose dime we were travelling), overruled us in favor of going back to the Stanley Market bargain-village for MORE DAMN SHOPPING. And Dad's iron rule was that we travelled and dined as a family group. That he considered "English Cuisine" to be irredeemably an oxymoron probably had something to do with it.