Difference between Mutton and Lamb

Key difference: Both mutton and lamb is the meat of the domesticated sheep. The difference between the two is the age of the sheep that the meat is sourced from. Lamb is young sheep, while mutton is the meat from the older sheep.

Both mutton and lamb is the meat of the domesticated sheep. The difference between the two is the age of the sheep that the meat is sourced from. Lamb is young sheep, while mutton is the meat from the older sheep. The older sheep tends to have a richer and stronger flavor but can be tough if not cooked properly. It also tends to take longer to cook than the soft and tender lamb, which has a milder flavor. Hence, many people tend to prefer lamb over mutton, especially the Western countries. Mutton, which is tougher, is more of an acquired taste.

Lamb is essentially from a sheep that is less than 2 to 3 years of age. If the sheep is above the age of 3 years, the meat is called mutton. However, in some countries, such as the United States, meat from a sheep in general is called lamb, irrespective of age. Furthermore, in some countries the meat of a goat is also called mutton.

There are a number of differences between mutton and lamb, with each leading someone to prefer one over the other. Some of these differences are:

 

Mutton

Lamb

Animal

Sheep; or in some countries from goat

Sheep

From

Older, mature sheep

Young sheep

Age

From a sheep over two years old

Baby lamb – less than 12 weeks

Spring lamb – up to six month old

Yearling – 1 year old

Flavor

Richer, stronger flavor

Mild

Size

Larger cuts and pieces than lamb

Smaller cuts and pieces than mutton

Meat

Tougher than lamb; smaller percentage of water and a larger percentage of fat, protein, extractives, and flavoring substances

Tender, softer, lean flesh

Color of meat

Darker; pinkish-red.

Lighter; pale pink; light to dark pink

Fat

More fat, concentrated fatty acids in the muscles, firm white fat

Less fat, slightly pink fat

Bone

Stronger and much whiter

Tender textured, porous in structure; slightly pink in color

Cooking Process

long and slow; requires ripening for 2 or 3 weeks to be in the best condition

Quicker and easier than other meats

Best for

Stew and curry

Roasted or grilled

Preferred in

Middle-East and far Eastern countries

Western countries: North America and Europe

Image Courtesy: farm-dreams.com, fhpmodels.reading.ac.uk

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Comments

I think it should be mandatory to label whether the meat is Lamb or mutton, I have bought Lamb sold by Morrison's supermarket, but I believe it is Mutton, I am elderly and used to buy Mutton because it was very much cheaper, took much longer to cook ,but that was what I could afford, so I do know the difference in colour and texture. not the same at all.

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