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Unread 11-30-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
Coldholler
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Question Lamb and mutton?

I want to smoke a leg of lamb or some kind of big piece of mutton, applying the same principles I would to pork shoulder or a whole hog. 250, strong smoke like oak or hickory, cook until it pulls (still 200-205?).

Mutton fat should soak up smoke, and the meat should be very pullable.

Anybody know where I should look for this meat? I know that sheep raised for wool wouldn't be OK -- antibiotics and different food...
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Unread 11-30-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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It's possible a grocery store can order it for you, but a smaller meat market might have a better supplier. I'm not sure you want mutton, it's a lot stronger and can be tough. A lot of the strong flavors are in the fat. Lamb on the other hand is really to immature for low-n-slo barbecue.

What we do is order "yearling lamb" quarters. The cuts are larger and it is old enough to handle lo-n-slo cooking. Lamb is graded just like beef, so you can specify USDA Choice. I prefer the flavor and texture of domestic lamb over imported lamb. Here are some yearling quarters, you can cut off the shanks to make them easier to manage.




Most any beef rub works fine, I do like a layer of garlic pepper on the meat first. Here is the mop I like to use. Some muscles of the quarters will start to get pulling tender above 180°, but count on doing some slicing on others.

Lamb Mop

1 – Beer
½ cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup apple juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 tablespoon Wooster
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne

Heat until dissolved
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Unread 11-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Thanks -- that's a really helpful reply -- I'll try exactly that! What kind of cooking temp do you target?
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Unread 11-30-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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We pretty much stick with the 250° range. Watch the grease, some sweat more than others.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 07:12 PM   #5
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Thirdeye is right on the money.
If you are not raised eating lamb then don't go near the mutton, it will be far too strong. We call yearling lamb " hogget" and is preferred for this.
Dunno where they get the names from...

If you want, my fave
mop is garlic cloves,OO,pepper,lemon juice,and rosemary blended to a sauce.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 08:56 PM   #6
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Thanks. I'm going to my butcher to try and order yearling lamb quarters. Hogget -- an Aussie thing? It's very rare here in the southern US.

I like strong flavors in cheese, whiskey, and meat. Still might have to try the mutton, but I'll start with lamb.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 09:03 PM   #7
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Mutton tastes like it smells....unwashed underarm

Get American lamb if you can, it is MUCH better than Aussie or Kiwi
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Unread 11-30-2011, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RevZiLLa View Post
Mutton tastes like it smells....unwashed underarm

Get American lamb if you can, it is MUCH better than Aussie or Kiwi
That really is something for me to look forward to.
Just did not know lamb could taste better!

Oh, and some people love mutton, it is all a matter of taste.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 09:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldholler View Post
Thanks. I'm going to my butcher to try and order yearling lamb quarters. Hogget -- an Aussie thing? It's very rare here in the southern US.

I like strong flavors in cheese, whiskey, and meat. Still might have to try the mutton, but I'll start with lamb.
I'm just assuming hogget = yearling lamb...hogget is the name for a lamb that is maturing and getting some size...stronger flavours than lamb,Coldholler.
HTH
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Unread 11-30-2011, 10:50 PM   #10
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Seems a shame to cook lamb to that high of a temp. I like mine med rare, 135-140. Maybe Bill will chime in on this one.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 11:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Jim View Post
Seems a shame to cook lamb to that high of a temp. I like mine med rare, 135-140. Maybe Bill will chime in on this one.
SNIP
in celsius so about double for F
Rare – 55-60ºC

Medium rare – 60-65ºC

Medium – 65-70ºC

Medium well – 70-75ºC

Well done – 75ºC

Your cooking temps will range from 160C all the way to 220C depending on the cut and the bone being in or not.
HTH
Bucc
Edit: another thing, because it is a high fat type meat, the myoglobin takes a while to realign with protein strings and muscle fibres so let it rest at least 20 minutes.
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Unread 12-01-2011, 12:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buccaneer View Post
That really is something for me to look forward to.
Just did not know lamb could taste better!

Oh, and some people love mutton, it is all a matter of taste.
Sorry if I offended. If I grew up eating mutton, I would love the taste of home.
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Unread 12-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #13
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OK, here we go. I've sort of lifted this from another place, but have modified this a bit so no point at citing the reference
  • Lamb refers to meat from a sheep which is less than one year old or has no adult teeth. In certain cuts of meat the younger animal is felt to be more tender and delicate and is therefore more highly valued. Because of the confusion in the usage of the word "lamb" mentioned above, meat from the young animal is often referred to in Australia as "spring lamb" - i.e. meat from an animal born only last spring. Both rams and ewes are culled for sale, but mainly the rams. It is more common to allow the ewes to mature for pregnancy.
  • Hogget refers to meat from an animal between one and two years old and with two or four adult teeth. A common name used in Australia is "two-tooth". It is regarded as being a little tougher than lamb but more flavourful. These lambs are naturally larger, and are mainly ewes and castrated rams that have been allowed to fatten. Lamb neck and shoulder is best from animals at this age when they are nice and meaty.
  • Mutton refers to meat from an animal that has passed its second birthday. It can sometimes be quite tough (but that is no problem with long slow cooking) and generally has more flavour than lamb and hogget. Almost all Mutton are ewes, as the castrated rams have usually all been culled by 2 years.
Great info from Thirdeye and Buccs. Generally though, I would not take a leg of lamb or hogget (Spring Lamb and Yearling Lamb) up to 200F for pulling. I certainly would do that with a whole neck and shoulder (forequarter) as this meat is tougher and has a higher fat content and from personal experience pulls extremely well.


Mutton though, well... if you can tolerate the heavier taste... and I can, I'd recommend you could take a leg of mutton and take that to 200F and pull it, because it is much tougher after 2 years and really does need long slow cooking. I have not taken a leg of hogget up to 200F, bu have taken it to 170F and it was pretty good. Personally, I do like the taste of mutton of well cooked. I'd hazard that people buy Mutton and try to cook it like spring lamb, and then think Mutton is really terrible... It's not. You have to treat the meat right.


SO... if you want to avoid Mutton, smoke a forequarter instead. If you want to do a leg, get Mutton and cook it properly and you should be well rewarded.


Cheers!


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Unread 12-01-2011, 01:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RevZiLLa View Post
Sorry if I offended. If I grew up eating mutton, I would love the taste of home.
No worries, you didn't offend, just pointing it out is all.
If you ever have an Asian invasion, just throw some mutton on the fire and watch everyone run holding their nose!

ps. when did you lick on an underarm?
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Unread 12-01-2011, 01:58 AM   #15
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I like my lamb around 125-130F. If I'm not mistaken, mutton is the signature bbq
meat around Frankfort, Kentucky. In think must take mutton up to a higher temp.
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