Taste variations among the breeds

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by minnikin1, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Feb 3, 2003
    Central NY
    We've been buying lamb lately that has been more and more un-lamb-y tasting.
    If I didn't know it was lamb I could have mistaken it for beef.

    If I want lamb that TASTES like Lamb, I should buy from folks who raise ???-
    Which breed?
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Hmmm I guess it depends on what you think lamb tastes like! Do you know what breed you're getting now? Flavour also depends on what a lamb is fed. Fish meal as a protein suppliment will impart a fishy flavour to the meat. Wheat can add a tang to the meat was well.

  3. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Northern California

    Two options I can think of. If you like the stronger flavored lamb, try to track down meat from wool breeds. I have heard some describe it as a more "lanolin" taste...meaning stronger. And in a similar vein look for older animals. If you are just going to the local meat market you may not get much choice.

    Milder, more flavorful meat from hair sheep can be a bit stronger if you wait until later to slaughter. When I had Barbadoes I usually slaughtered in the fall when they were getting close to yearlings. Most folks who like "spring lamb" like to slaughter younger animals at a specified weight, usually not very different than my yearlings. Barbadoes do grow slowly.

    Dorpers are the Schwartezenegger of the hair sheep world. For a small animal they can be huge. Fine carcass qualities, tasty meat. Also a pleasure to have around when alive too. Rams try to crawl into your lap for a quick few pats. But even percentage Dorpers are expensive to buy since they are not too common.

    Other hair breeds also very high quality.

  4. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    We tried meat from a young barbados lamb and it had no "lamb" flavor. We used to raise Suffolk and they had the nice lamb flavor we liked. They weren't necessarily older and we did grain them a month before slaughter. Most folks raise Dorper in our area and Suffolks are hard to find because people don't want to sheer. Good luck.
  5. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 15, 2003
    I guess it really is a matter of taste. I've come to despise Suffolks myself. My personal favorite is the Jacob with my Shetlands running a close second. My Arab customer prefers my Shetlands. I got some Jacobs for him and he didn't like them at all. If you like Suffolks, try a Columbia. Personally, I think they taste nasty but you should like them.
  6. I agree - if it is that tangy strong flavour you are after you will need wool lambs. And what they are eating does affect that flavour as well. We personally don't like that stuff - can't even stand the smell of it cooking! But that is a personal preference thing and to each his own. The hair sheep don't have that same flavour. But, I guess if all you can find is hair sheep - try eating a yearling ram - I think they would probably be a stronger flavour. Have friends that make sausage out of yearling rams -if they don't develop into good enough rams - and they smell really stronge when cooking. But, I must admit I won't even try it with the smell... We only eat withers and I would actually put them in a close taste to beef - but more tender.