Lamb and Mutton

Lamb is the name given to the meat of lambs; mutton, to the meat of sheep. Lamb, coming as it does from the young creature, is immature, and less nutritious than mutton. The flesh of mutton ranks with the flesh of beef in nutritive value and digestibility. The fat of mutton, on account of its larger percentage of stearic acid, is more difficult of digestion than the fat of beef.
Lamb may be eaten soon after the animal is killed and dressed; mutton must hang to ripen. Good mutton comes from a sheep about three years old, and should hang from two to three weeks. The English South Down Mutton is cut from creatures even older than three years. Young lamb, when killed from six weeks to three months old, is called spring lamb, and appears in the market as early as the last of January, but is very scarce until March. Lamb one year old is called a yearling. Many object to the strong flavor of mutton; this is greatly overcome by removing the pink skin and trimming off superfluous fat.

Lamb and mutton are divided into two parts by cutting through entire length of backbone; then subdivided into fore and hind quarter, eight ribs being left on hind-quarter, β€” while in beef but three ribs are left on hind-quarter. These eight ribs are cut into chops and are known as rib chops. The meat which lies between these ribs and the leg, cut into chops, is known as loin or kidney chops.

Lamb and mutton chops cut from loin have a small piece of tenderloin on one side of bone, and correspond to porterhouse steaks in the beef creature. Rib chops which have the bone cut short and scraped clean, nearly to the lean meat, are called French chops.

  1. Hind-quarter of veal.
  2. Hind-quarter of lamb.

The leg is sold whole for boiling or roasting. The fore-quarter may be boned, stuffed, rolled, and roasted, but is more often used for broth, stew, or fricassee.

For a saddle of mutton the loin is removed whole before splitting the creature. Some of bones are removed and the flank ends are rolled, fastened with wooden skewers, and securely tied to keep skewers in place.

Good quality mutton should be fine-grained and of bright pink color; the fat white, hard, and flaky. If the outside skin comes off easily, mutton is sure to be good. Lamb chops may be easily distinguished from mutton chops by the red color of bone. As lamb grows older, blood recedes from bones; therefore in mutton the bone is white. In leg of lamb the bone at joint is serrated, while in leg of mutton the bone at joint is smooth and rounded. Good mutton contains a larger proportion of fat than good beef. Poor mutton is often told by the relatively small proportion of fat and lean as compared to bone.

Lamb is usually preferred well done; mutton is often cooked rare.

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