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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking Mutton?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cooking mutton is as simple as cooking many other meats, though it does require a bit more time to properly prepare. Mutton is a tough, strong-flavored meat and must be marinated and seasoned well in order to be enjoyable. Pairing mutton with flavors that complement the meat and refraining from over-cooking it or cooking it at a high temperature are important. It is also a good idea to select high quality mutton from a knowledgeable butcher.

One of the most important tips for cooking mutton is to choose mutton that is high quality. Like any type of meat, the quality of the animal, the feed it was given prior to slaughter, and the care used when processing it have a great influence on the meat. Fresh mutton will have a significant amount of white-colored fat in the meat and will be quite dark. Sheep that have not been exposed to cramped living conditions or fed highly processed meal will also often produce higher quality meat.

After a cook has procured a piece of high quality meat, the next tip for cooking mutton is to marinate the meat. Thick pieces of mutton will need to marinate for longer than thin pieces because this type of meat does not absorb a marinade quickly. When the marinade is allowed to permeate the entire cut of meat, the flavor of the marinade is spread throughout and can mask the strong flavor that for which mutton is known.

Another important thing to do when cooking mutton is to season it well. Many people do not like the flavor of mutton because it has a strong and somewhat unusual taste. Adding the proper types of seasonings can complement the flavors in the mutton, making it more palatable. As a strong flavored meat, it requires strong flavored seasonings, such as mint, garlic, olives, or capers.

When cooking mutton, care needs to be taken that the meat is prepared to the proper internal temperature. Mutton can be cooked to any temperature but may become tough if it is cooked for a long period of time at a high temperature. People who wish to eat mutton well-done may want to cook it in a stew, giving the meat a chance to soften while those who prefer their meat medium or rare can sear it on the stove or grill or cook it in the oven with no problem.

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Discussion Comments
By anon963348 — On Jul 28, 2014

Marinade well and cook on lowest heat in a covered utensil with a wet cloth on top.

By Sporkasia — On Feb 28, 2014

Animandel - I don't think there are a large number of people who enjoy the taste of unseasoned mutton, so you want to make sure you do not come up short in that area. The article mentioned the importance of marinating the meat and that is key. You might also want to try some type of sauce to eat with the meat.

Mutton can be used in place of lamb in many recipes, and there are a wealth of lamb recipes, which you can find online. Stews and soups where the mutton is combined with a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices offer a good means of getting you acquainted to the taste of mutton without overpowering you. The other ingredients hide the strong taste of the meat.

That being said, some people simply never acquire a taste for mutton because the meat is so different from anything many of us are accustomed to eating.

By Animandel — On Feb 28, 2014
I have cooked mutton twice and both times my family and I could not eat the meat. Reading the article makes me think I cooked it too long and at too high of a temperature. I prepared the meat in the oven both times.

Also, maybe I should have marinated it. There are not many meals my family will not eat, but the experiments with mutton were disasters. I know people who like the meat, so I think I just need to do better with the preparation.

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