Are sheep good to eat?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by arhillbilly, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. arhillbilly

    arhillbilly Member

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    I don't want to offend anyone by that question. We have goats as pets and we could not eat them. But I have a milk cow that is giving lots of milk and I was wondering about getting a couple of lambs and growing them off. But we have never ate any of the meat. Can someone tell me if it would be worth it? What is the meat like? We always grow our own pork and beef but we thought we might try this.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Lamb is good to eat sheep or mutton is definately an aquired taste. BBQ'd it tasts a bit like pork only more delicate. I had a chance to try Katahadin this spring and to be honest it didn't really taste any different than my pasture raised lamb (Polypay /+Rideau Arcott both wool types.) Now if the older animals taste as good!!!!
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Lamb is really good. Though it depends on what they are fed and how they are butchered to what the quality of meat is like.

    Ross I found Black Welsh Mountain to be good as Mutton. Can't say that about many other breeds.
     
  4. jimahall

    jimahall jimahall

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    I would suggest you check your local Wal-Mart Supercenter. They carry lamb. Try it and see if you like it. We usually cook it as we would pork or beef. There are many recipes for lamb. I prefer lamb over both beef and pork. Have never tried goat. My brother thinks it is evil to eat "HIS" registered nubians. :nana:


    We can try to convince you as to how delicious lamb is but the only judge is you and your taste buds.
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Lamb (and kid goat) are wonderful. I marinate mine in lemon juice and garlic and then slow barbeque it or roast it. Mutton takes more marinating and slower cooking, but it's still darned tasty. Come to think of it, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce makes a good marinade, too.

    Lamb does have a definite flavor to it. If you prefer meats without much flavor, lamb probably isn't for you. The only way to know is to try it.
     
  6. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    I have found that different breeds taste different, also the lamb's age, diet, and weather or not they were in rut (for rams), the cut of the lamb, and how the meal is prepared all affects the taste. I've had lamb and loved it, and I've had lamb and hated it.
    I don't like supermarket lamb, nor most restaurant lamb. I've had Lincoln and shetland, both very mild and tasty. I had Jacob sausage once and didn't care for it.
    Shetland pie is great! Lamb stew meat, baked in a pie crust with potatos, carrots, peas, and gravy. The lamb's name that we ate was Bertie. So we called it Bertie pie.
     
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  7. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Leg of lamband lamb chops should be cooked and served PINK - all those kiwis and Icelandics should know. The flavor gets stronger if you overcook it. Lamb is our favorite meat.
     
  8. backachersfarm

    backachersfarm Well-Known Member

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    We raise ronmeys and cheviots. most have a little of some other breed from years ago, but we sre using a cheviot ram now. We put a couple of lambs and at least one ewe in the freezer evey yr. The crap you get in the store is shipped here fron New Zealand. I've never bought it, but I'm sure it doesn't compare to something you can get fresh here. Like every meat...it has it own flavor. we use it in everything just like it was beef or pork. The mutton is really good barbequed slowly or bakes slowly in the oven. The ground goes in anything we would have used hamburger. If you don't band the ram lambs you need to kill before breeding season or it changes the flavor.

    Sharon
     
  9. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

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    I like lamb better than beef because it does taste different than beef. After many years of beef, chicken or pork it was good to try with its own unique flavor. I had goat tenderloin a couple months ago. It was very good and had a real mild taste. I was actually hoping that it would have a stronger flavor. I picked up a couple pounds of goat stew meat at the grocery store yesterday. I'll try making goat stew next week.
     
  10. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I used to order a spring lamb locally from a farmer that raised it to butcher in the fall. It's just right sized, and the variety of cuts were ideal for small family. Either crown roast or lamb chops are really hard to beat for flavor and nutrition. Stew meat from lamb makes the best stews I've ever had in my opinon. It's not a strong taste at all. It's not the taste of beef, nor venison. I think lamb has it's unique flavor goes well with condiments like mint jelly or cranberry. I can't think of a better meal in the fall or winter than lamb with squash and something like spinach salad. Lamb stew...yum!
     
  11. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me Sharon, you've never bought New Zealand lamb and yet your calling it "crap". How would you know? It is, in fact, prime lamb and little of it actually goes to your country, most of it ends up in Europe and the UK.
    Beef and sheep production is New Zealands prime industry and I suspect they would have gone broke many years back if they hadn't been producing a good product.

    We get through a mutton a month in our family, most of it being in chops and roasts although in the summer I will have a complete carcase put through the bandsaw for barbequeing. The flap is beautiful if boned out, rolled and roasted but should be eaten hot as it is also the fattiest part of the sheep and gets of bit gross when cold.

    We prefer hogget to lamb - it has a bit more flavour but that is personal taste. I believe that people who have never eaten mutton can find the flavour a bit unusual but it certainly doesn't taste like beef or pork. I think you will enjoy it and it gives you another choice when rooting around in the freezer trying to find inspiration as to what to have for dinner.

    And yes, as mentioned, it should be cooked pink - unless your like me and wander off and forget the time. ;)

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  12. Shahbazin

    Shahbazin Well-Known Member

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    I like the flavor of lamb, but admit that the stuff from the grocery has a pretty "strong" flavor to it; Shetland is much milder, & has less fat on it (1 1/2 yr old wether is what I've tried).
     
  13. backachersfarm

    backachersfarm Well-Known Member

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    It may be a small % over all of what you export...but it is ALL you see in the stores here. Something you buy fresh locally or raise yourself has to be far superior to something that was killed, frozen, and shipped from the other side of the world. There must be a lot more coming here then you think or there wouldn't have been such a stink stirred up by your sheep growers when our gov tried to lower imported lamb to help American growers during the wool crisis.

    Sharon
     
  14. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I've bought frozen N.Z. lamb before and it was excellent!
    I'de prefer to buy local Ontario lamb, but I'm not going to drive for hours trying to find it if it's not offered in our local grocery stores.
     
  15. quiet mountain farmer

    quiet mountain farmer Well-Known Member

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    We raise Barbados Blackbelly sheep for the table. We feed them alfalfa, with pea pellets, and grain on the side! :D They lamb three times in eighteen months, often having twins. They're small, but hardy, and you don't have to shear them.

    I have discovered a lot of spices that go well with lamb. Turmeric to taco, there are many. We have eaten rams up to nearly two years old, and they were just as tender and tasty as the younger lambs. Ground lamb is very versatile. Sometimes I slow cook the meat all day, cool it, take it off the bones, then divide it into baggies, for one meal per baggie. I freeze some that way, in the juice, and keep some in the frig for using soon. Then I use it any way I want, from fancy Moroccan, through any kind of stew, clear down to taco hamburger helper! :baby04: :D

    I started out with a cookbook which was really good, and then branched out into inventions. I would recommend the book to anyone. Check out http://www.blackbellysheep.org for a book called "Lamb Lover's Cookbook" if you would like over 100 lamb recipes in a great variety.
     
  16. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sharon,
    Whose wool crisis? The wool crisis for NZ sheep farmers happened back in the late 1980's-early 1990's and is hardly relevent 15-odd years down the track. In far more recent times, like a couple of years ago, the American Govt. attempted to lower the quota of imported lamb at the instigation of the American sheep producer and to the best of my knowledge it had little to do with wool but a lot to do with protecting the American sheep producer. Your sheep producers are highly protected and the irony of it is that they cannot produce enough meat to meet the domestic market - and this is borne out with your statement that ALL you can buy in stores is NZ lamb! - so where is American produced lamb going to?

    Another interesting point is that comparatively, Americans are not in actual fact big sheep meat eaters and this is probably proved by this thread in that arhillbilly, who is obviously an adult, has never eaten sheep meat while NZ'ers and Australians are brought up on it. Most Americans that I have met personally had never eaten sheep meat before coming to this country, those I talk to over the computer have never eaten it at all and those that have eaten it belong to sites such as this one and are in a position to rear and live off their own food. Consequently the small amount that is imported from NZ and Australia is sufficient to meet the needs and possibly looks like a huge amount in the store. We export something like 350,000 tonnes of sheep meat annually and, as I mentioned previously, the bulk of it goes to Europe and the UK who are much larger mutton eaters than America. As a matter of interest, America imports more bull meat from NZ than it does mutton, much of which is destined for MacDonalds etc. Bull meat swells to nearly twice the volume with addition of water - now that is crap.

    As for buying fresh or raising yourself, that is a debatable point. Ironically, probably the only people that eat "fresh" meat are those that live in towns or cities and go to the supermarket every day. Farmers who kill a sheep, pig or beef for themselves haven't a hope in hell of eating it all before it goes rotten so it gets put in the freezer. By the time the last bit of it has been consumed there is a large chance that it will be older than something imported from the other side of the world and certainly no fresher.

    Moonwolf, I'm pleased you enjoyed your bit of NZ lamb ;) I can guarantee you that it never saw a feed lot or grain and would have been milk and grass fed for all of it's short life.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  17. backachersfarm

    backachersfarm Well-Known Member

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    It was not that long ago that the crisis with the wool industry occured. We have raise sheep for about 10 yrs and it has been within that time this happened, At least that was when it hit here. Why shouldn't the American gov make moves to help the industry here. Although it isn't obvious very often, That is what they should be doing. They were under a lot more pressue due to the great losses sheep farmers here were having because it was costing them more to shear their sheep then they were getting for the wool.

    I still feel buying locally is much fresher..no matter if it is in your own freezer for a yr. You don't know how long what you bought in the store was frozen and how many times it was handled and prethawed before it made it to your shopping cart. If it is too much trouble to locate a lamb producer...I don't know what to tell a person....eat the unknown I guess.

    You are right about folks here not eating much lamb...and if they continue to eat what they find in the meat dept a Wally World they never will be big consumers. The only stores I have ever seen American lamb in are the Health food type grocers..so there you go. The bulk of fresh lamb in this country goes to feed the many many foreigners who reside here. Being the ones who primarily eat lamb, they seem to know which is best. I knew there was a reason I couldn't stand McDonalds food, or any other fast food for that matter.

    Sharon
     
  18. Lora

    Lora Member

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    Ronnie, how do you cook your mutton? What do you consider a mutton (Different cultures consider a sheep to be mutton at different ages)? What is a hogget? small pig?

    I like lamb but don't like it as much from the wool breeds as from the hair breeds; most of the lamb in our grocery stores seems to be Enzedd
    or Aussie imported lamb, so it has been frozen and transported and may be a bit 'off' on flavor.

    I love the lamb I raise and butcher myself - a crossbred flock of Dorper, Katahdin, Black Hawaiian, Barbado, Texas Dall, and Mouflon. Just got a Jacob's ewe the other day, too. We breed for meat as well as for the game ranches, here in Texas you can make good money if a ram has good horns.

    Lora
     
  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We butchered our Black Welsh Mountain ram at 11 months. Very mild tasting. When a label of fine tasting is attached to a breed, it usually means that it is low on flavor, but many people prefer the mild taste. If you like your sheep meat to taste like sheep, either get an older sheep, over one year, or buy a breed that is not considered good tasting. Personally, I prefer a stronger taste and plan on raising a different breed next summer to butcher.
     
  20. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Lora - Lamb (in NZ terminology) is less than 1 year old, Hogget 1 to 2 year, Mutton anything after that (but sometimes used for older animals). The usual classification here is Lamb, Hogget, then 'teeth', as in 4-tooth, 6-tooth etc, referring to the ages that sheeps teeth erupt.
    I would say that the nicest is hogget, followed by mutton, with lamb a poor third. Tender but hasn't had enough time to build up flavour.
    Ronney - good on yer mate, tell it like it is. Kiwi farmers are the least protected of any in the world, its produce or die, and if you have an inferior product you go to the wall without any government assistance to save you