Why not mutton?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Senior Cook
Apr 4, 2004
Kent, Ohio
Well? Very few of us here in America (I'm speaking of the general population) even know what it is! Sure, there's lamb this and lamb that... But it's veal that goes "Baah!", and like veal, the flavor and ethics are sacrified for tenderness.

Has anyone here had mutton? Or goat? Have you even seen it for sale?

Curious, I am. :)
Goat goooood. *salivating with memories of fork-tender goat curries and tandoori goat as I type* Indian and Moroccan cuisines especially do amazing things with goat. Might be the perfect animal - great meat, great cheeses such as chevre, even wonderful things like goat's milk panna cotta all come from this one animal . . .
To get mutton, I think you pretty much have to be in a sheep-producing area. You're right it can be more flavorful. Only had it a couple times - takes well to braising, other slow-cooking methods. But the industry is now organized in such a way as to provide "spring lamb" year-round, so what was once a treat is now the norm. I think lamb is more versatile and it's certainly still very flavorful.
*still thinking of goat curry. . . .* :LOL:
When I was in Mexico (the interior not the border) I would see groups of folks standing around an animal turning on a spit. I was told it was goat and I wanted to try it. Our guide took us to a party where they were cooking 2 goats and, after a little introductory cerveza, we got to try some goat. Pretty darn tasty! Later I had curried goat and jerked goat at a Jamaican restaraunt and it was even tastier.

The only way that I have ever eaten mutton and enjoyed it was in a dish called Burghoo in Kentucky. Other tyhan that...mutton is just TOO strong!
Long time ago my grandfather was invited by some business partner to come to Mongolia and to eat roast mutton. For some reason he refused it, so nobody in my family has ever had that dish. :(
I lived in Scotland for a couple of years back in the late 60s and had Mutton. As a then, mid western boy, raised on hillbilly cooking; I was put off by the strong taste.

I didn't like it.

Then about 15 years ago I was in Idaho. There is a super Basque [please don't trust my spelling] community in ID and WY who have introduced a bunch of sheep/lamb [or Mutton] cooking. WOW.

Years ago my mother in-law told me of serving her daughters friends mutton, she served BBQ [as she called it] and said you would "not know the difference from real meat."

I still don't know because I don't Know except by size If the "LAMB" we buy is lamb or skinny mutton.
general rule:
"lamb" = under 12 months old
"mutton" = anything much older than that

USDA has official guides something like this; I'm sure they're listed on their website somewhere.
So, yeah, mutton is just older and meaner. :mrgreen:
I've been searching high and low for lamb cuz I want to make gyro meat but so far have had no luck. This may be a dumb question but is there any acceptable substitue? I've had some spectacular gyros in the past and I sure don't want to set myself up for disappointment!
Butchers at the North Market in Columbus, I'm certain, can hook you up with whatever lamb you need. I mean, it completely pales in comparison to the West Side Market in Cleveland, but... Hey, not everyone's lucky enough to have more than half a dozen butchers under one roof. ;)


There's a "Perfect's Meat Market" in Johnstown. Have you tried there? It'd be the first place I'd look!

Of course, mutton and goat might work as substitutes. Veal is the only other domestic meat I can think of that might work (possibly venison might).

Brillohead uses chicken in his gyros. But he sucks.

I'd try and get the lamb. If you can't get it pre-sliced for gyros, all the BETTER! Butchering is a rewarding and very zen-like experience. 8)
Good call on the North Market. Not exactly within my ideal 30 minute radius but I'm willing to go the extra mile for the right ingredients. I'm a semi-regular patron of Perfect's Meat but you have an equal chance of finding crocodile as you do lamb. To their credit they have their own farm and can get you pork and beef that's less than 24 hours fresh!
In Australia we eat mutton a lot, and a lot of lamb is really well um mutton dressed as lamb :LOL:

I prefer mutton especiallly in a strongly flavoured dish as the delicate flavour of lamb can get over powered by spices and herbs.

In England where I now live, the Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) communities love and adore mutton, and it is quite difficult to find. Of course all their cooking of lamb and mutton is in curries, and they much prefer the stronger flavoured meat.

On a side note, in Tasmania, the little island that I come from there is the mutton bird. It is hunted by Tasmania Aboriginal communities on Cape Barren Island in Bass Strait something they have been doing for generations. Mutton bird is d.i.s.g.u.s.t.i.n.g!!!

My grandmother would relent and cook it for my grandfather. My grandmother was a very traditional Australian farmers wife, and never used to open windows in the house (to keep flies out) Once a year, every window in the house would be open, and the front and back door, and you could smell the stench of the boiling bird right around the street corner.
We had goat a number of ways while we were on our honeymoon in Jamaica. My favorite was the curry goat. My wife probably would not have tried it if she knew what it was ahead of time. She was brave though. I asked her to taste a piece of my dinner and she did without questioning it. She really did like the meat, but was not crazy about the curry flavor. The meat was so tender and delicious. I would love to eat it again.
I am lucky that we have a local butcher slaughter house. I can get almost anything there that is raised in a farm somewhere. I regularly get whole goats and roast them, mutton as well. They even can get lhamas, Hmmmm :P
Top Bottom