Sheep meat is a highly versatile and popular protein prepared and cooked the world over for its exceptional taste and texture. There is quite a science to the meat and a lot to know before you purchase to try.
There are three different variations of sheep meat and they all come from the same animal. Sheep meat comes from the animal over the age of one to two years of age is known as hogget meat.
These variances are important to know when purchasing sheep meat as each will help to decide what you want to buy different recipes.
Here is what we recommend:
Meat from a younger is the most tender. This is the most preferred sheep meat. Some of the best pieces are the following:
This piece is full of flavour. The shoulder does a lot of work, so it is a little tougher than other portions. This portion is best cooked in stews and slow-roasting methods.
It is also best when cooked with the bone in as the bone adds extra flavour to the cut. The meat will be done when it is tender enough to fall off the bone.
Chops or Cutlets
These are the most desired cuts and can be more expensive than other pieces. Chops are extremely tender. These are rib cuts and are cooked individually as chops.
They are perfect when grilled or fried. They can also be left single or tied together and cooked.This is called a rack.
Racks come in different sizes meaning the number of ribs and meat included in each rack. Small racks will feed two to three people. Larger racks will, of course, feed more. These are very impressive when cooked in a crown roast.
Loin chops are also popular choices. They are cut as mini steaks and resemble the T-bone cut from beef. These miniature T-bones are perfect to impress upon the plate. They are served in high ranking restaurants for their beauty and appeal.
This portion is the first choice for many families for their holiday feasts. Leg portions give a good quantity of meat that can feed a large group of people.
Legs are wonderfully grilled, roasted, baked or broiled. It takes a while for them to cook but the delicious aroma creates tantalizing anticipation in everyone gathered for the feast.
Hogget and Mutton
Hogget and mutton are sold in the same cuts as a younger sheep the only difference is that the meat from these sheep tends to be a little tougher.
It is wonderful slow-roasted or prepared in a casserole or stew. It is also beautiful when braised.
Hogget and mutton are both more economically but that is because they are tougher versions in the same cuts.
These are the older animals who have more developed muscular frames and aged sinews. The meat has a stronger taste with gamey or wild undertones making them the perfect compliment to saucy stews or curries or herby marinades.
Another wonderful way to purchase these meats is ground and ready to prepare meatballs, sandwiches, soup and other fabulous dishes.
Ground sheep meat is more nutritious than its beef counterpart and is complete with healthy fats included giving your body needed Omega-3s and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that keep us healthy and happy all year long.
Some Tips For Cooking
Whether you are in the mood for tender steaks or spicy mutton curry, sheep meat is delicious and easily cooked in a million different ways, each both tasty and nutritious.
Sheep meat is that versatile. It can be served each day of the year without making the same recipe twice. This is the perfect way to get your family to try something new that is tasty and healthy too!