Lamb, mutton, sheep… You will find pretty much the same type of meat in various stores under different names. What is the catch? Some names are popular in the Middle East and Europe, while others are more common in North America. However, there are, indeed, a few differences when comparing lamb vs. mutton. So what should you know?
Lamb vs. Mutton
Both lambs and muttons are sheep. However, the lamp is younger than a year, while mutton is older than a year. Lambs younger than three months are known as spring lambs. A mutton is not necessarily slaughtered after one year of life, but usually after three.
Since the lamb is younger, meat is a bit more tender. Most people can tell only if they have both varieties in one meal.
When uncooked, lamb meat is usually dark red, but it can also be pink. Color depends on multiple factors, such as the diet. Also, lamb bones are pink and easily distinguishable. Lamb meat is covered in whitish skin, while the joints are soft and smooth.
Mutton meat might look similar at first, as it is red. However, it is a deep nuance of red. Bones are completely white, while the skin covering the meat is pink. Joints are jagged and harder.
As a general rule of thumb, dark meat underlines sheep.
Cooking Time Differences
The older the meat is, the more times it takes to cook. Obviously, mutton takes longer. It must be cooked slowly or the meat is hard to digest. Lamb is easier to cook due to the softer meat. It can be roasted, braised or grilled. It is rich in protein, so most chefs recommend marinating it in salt for protein breakdown.
Flavor is the main factor in comparing lamb vs. mutton. Lamb meat is not as rich and strong as mutton meat. It has less fat though, so it is softer. The water content is higher.
Mutton meat has a deep taste – you can easily tell the difference in richness. The diet is quite important, as grass-fed lambs are more flavorful.
Deciding between lamb vs. mutton in terms of health is hard because they are both rich in protein. However, mutton has more fat, so it is not as healthy as lamb.
Bottom line, comparing lamb vs. mutton will bring in a few differences. Both types of meat are popular and taste great when cooked accordingly.
See also: Filet Mignon vs. Ribeye