Mutton is meat obtained from an adult sheep. Although it is not too common, it is loved by many Americans. However, a common challenge in the US is where to buy mutton.
The best places to buy mutton are butcher shops, meat markets, African food stores, international food stores, kosher markets, halal markets, small or local farms, and grocery stores.
In this article, I will talk about mutton meat, why it is less eaten than lamb in the United States, how it differs from lamb meat, and why you should eat mutton.
Let’s get started.
Where to buy mutton?
There are a few places where you can buy mutton. They include;
1. Butcher shops
You can get mutton from butcher shops near you, but before you do so, ensure you do your research about the place. This is because some butcher shops pass out lamb meat as mutton.
For further clarity, you can initiate a friendly conversation to ask the attendant when (at what age) the sheep was killed in order to determine if it is lamb or mutton.
Remember, lamb meat is meat gotten from sheep under a year, while mutton is gotten from sheep for up to 2 years.
2. Meat markets
You can also get quality mutton at any meat market near you. This way, you’re getting it fresh and direct from the source.
3. Grocery stores (ex. Kroger)
Some Grocery stores (ex. Kroger) sell mutton meat, either fresh or packaged.
4. African food stores
There are over 400 African food stores in the United States, and mutton is sold in a number of them.
5. Kosher markets
You can also buy quality mutton at a fair price at any kosher stores near you. They operate under supervision which ensures Jewish rules are adhered to.
6. Halal markets
You can buy quality mutton at Halal food markets near you, including other halal food products. These products are supervised in accordance with Islamic laws.
7. International food stores
There are many international food stores that offer quality mutton imported from various countries, for example: Africa, China, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, etc. These countries are big exporters of mutton.
What is mutton?
When someone refers to mutton, they are simply referring to meat gotten from a mature domestic sheep. When meat is gotten from a young sheep, it differs as it is termed lamb meat.
In certain parts of the world, mutton is a staple, not only because it is healthy but because it can be cut and consumed like cows are. It can be used for mutton chop, steaks, bacon, and other parts are used for a number of dishes.
The taste of mutton is described as the same as lamb, although gamier. Mutton taste works well with spicy sauce, velvety, long braises, and rich stews.
In 2020, the request for mutton fell short in the United States. This is because consumers went for meat with a milder taste and simpler method of cooking.
However, in 2022, mutton has seen an increase in demand and is gaining its way into many restaurants’ menus again in the US and beyond.
How does mutton differ from lamb?
Although they are commonly mistaken for each other, there are many ways to differentiate them.
Firstly, mutton is gotten from sheep that’s older than 2 years. Lamb, on the other hand, is gotten from sheep that’s less than a year old, particularly, sheep that’s around 2 months old.
Also, another way to differentiate between mutton and lamb is their taste and texture. Mutton meat tends to be tougher and tastes bolder than lamb meat, which makes it require more time to cook than lamb.
Additionally, lamb meat can be eaten medium rare, unlike mutton. Mutton meat is best cooked at low heat for a long time, and this impacts greatly on its flavor.
Why is lamb meat eaten more than mutton in the United States?
There are a number of reasons why lamb meat is more common than mutton in the United States. They include;
1. Cooking Time
Mutton takes longer and is harder to cook than lamb. This is because it would take you longer to remove the cartilage and tendons for mutton. The cooking also takes longer as it is tougher.
Lamb is commonly found, unlike mutton.
People find the taste of lamb to be the normal standard. Lamb has a slightly mild taste while mutton has a strong taste which people are not used to.
Cost plays a huge role as well. Mutton is raised longer and is fed more than lamb is, and this affects the final price as well.
Is mutton healthy?
Yes, it is. One of the major reasons mutton is still in high demand is because it offers a ton of health benefits. Some of the benefits of eating mutton include;
1. Contains essential minerals
Mutton contains various essential minerals, mainly iron and zinc. Iron is known to promote the formation of blood cells, and this is one of the main reasons people with iron deficiency are advised to eat mutton.
Zinc, on the other hand, helps promotes the body’s immune system and promotes the growth of hair and nails. Also, zinc is known to purify and maintain skin health.
2. Loaded with protein
Every cell in the body requires protein, and this is because it is needed for growth and repair. Protein also helps in muscle maintenance, growth, and development.
3. Contains moderate saturated fat
Mutton has moderate amounts of saturated fat, which is essential for good heart health.
Study shows that a moderate amount of saturated fat reduces the risk of cardiovascular health.
4. Contains healthy vitamins
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 100g serving of mutton hold a fair amount of Vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for your red blood cell health, especially for those with red blood deficiency.
Are there downsides to eating mutton?
Yes, there are a few. Like other red meat, excess intake of mutton is linked with some health conditions. They include;
1. Higher risk of cancer
Study shows that excess intake of mutton may result in an increased risk of colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancer. However, the method of preparation plays a huge role.
2. Obesity and weight gain
Excess intake of mutton or other red meat has been linked to an increase in the obesity rate.
What dish can you use mutton to make?
If you get your hands on mutton, you can use it for a number of dishes. Examples are mutton stew, mutton curry, roasted mutton, and mutton chops.
Which tastes better, lamb or mutton?
Although it is up to personal preference, lamb is mostly chosen as a better tasting choice.
Why do most grocery stores sell lamb in place of mutton?
Most grocery stores sell lamb meat in place of mutton because they find it hard to get sellers of mutton. However, there are grocery stores and online vendors that sell mutton.
Which country sells mutton more?
China and Australia are some of the highest mutton-producing countries in the world. Spain, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherland, and Chile are also highly producing countries.
Is mutton gluten-free?
Yes, it is. Mutton does not contain any gluten, and this makes it a good choice for those that are gluten sensitive.
Conclusion: Where to buy mutton?
There are a number of places where you can buy mutton. They include:
- Butcher shops
- Meat markets
- Grocery stores (ex. Kroger)
- African food stores
- Kosher markets
- Halal markets
- International food stores
However, do well to enquire further about them and the quality of their mutton before you buy.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
Thanks for reading.