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iStock-687244644.jpgWhat do lamb, hogget, and mutton have in common? They are all names for the meat of domestic sheep, depending on the age of the sheep. A young sheep is called a lamb in its first year of life, when it does not yet have any permanent incisor teeth, and the meat of this animal is also called lamb. This meat is sought after because of its delicate flavor and tender flesh. The meat of a sheep between one and two years old is called “hogget” or “hoggart”, (that’s hoggart, not Hogwarts; there is no Harry Potter connection that we know of!) no matter its gender, and is also a term used for the animal outside the USA. This meat has a stronger flavor and is slightly less tender than the meat of a first-year lamb. The meat of an adult female (ewe) or castrated male sheep with more than two permanent incisors is called mutton, and is a term used only for the meat, not the living animals. There are several breeds of sheep, with exotic names like Barbados Black Belly, Awassi, Royal White, and Badger Face Welsh Mountain. Of the three types of meat, lamb is the most expensive.

Lamb meat is usually sorted by forequarter, loin, and hindquarter. Lamb chops are cut from the rib, loin, and shoulder areas. Loin chops are often preferred over shoulder chops, and both kinds of chops are usually cooked on a grill. Breast of lamb (baby chops) can be cooked in an oven.

Leg of lamb is a whole leg; saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted, though the leg is sometimes boiled. Forequarter meat is best cooked slowly using either a moist method, such as braising or stewing, or by slow roasting or American barbecuing, unless it is from a young lamb. Thin strips of fatty mutton can be cut into a substitute for bacon called macon.

Grass-fed lamb, like meat from other grass-fed animals, is the best of the best. This meat is even tastier than lamb raised in other surroundings, due to being raised outdoors as they were meant to be. Feeding on green pasture and free to run and romp across the fields, these animals offer the finest quality, tender, most flavorful meat for your family’s enjoyment and health.

If you’re wondering “Where can I find grass-fed lamb near me?” you’ve come to the right place. At Rafter W Ranch, we raise our sheep right alongside our cattle and chickens; in the abundant Colorado sunshine and great outdoors, where they can munch away to their heart’s content on our healthy green grass. If you would like to learn more about who we are and what we do, or if you have more questions about grass-fed lamb health benefits, please give us a call or better yet, arrange a visit to the ranch in Simla, Colorado.

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