We’ve Had Lamb And Mutton, What About Hogget?

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When dining out at a restaurant, it’s very common to spot a lamb dish in the menu. For instance, dishes like lamb chops, lamb racks and lamb shanks are the usual suspects. At times, you may even come across some mutton dishes but have you ever heard of hogget?

What Are The Differences Between Lamb, Hogget and Mutton?

In our lifetime, most of us would have already tasted dishes of lamb or mutton. However, little do people know there’s something called hogget as well. Today you will find out what’s a hogget and also its differences compared to lamb and mutton.

To make it clear, do keep in mind that the terms “lamb”, “hogget” and “mutton” are all used to label sheep of different ages.

1. Lamb

In general, lamb is the word used to refer to sheep that are less than a year old. The age range of the lamb may differ depending on the farm but it’s usually 4 to 6 months and the meat is pinkish-red. If you are wondering why lamb is the most common meat amongst 3 types to be found on the menu, the reason is actually quite simple. At this age, the lamb meat is at its most tender and doesn’t require a lot of cooking time. In that sense, many diners will opt for the tender and sweet meat of the lamb.

2. Hogget

For the longest time, there were few definitions of sheep that have grown over a year old. Everyone has heard of mutton but how about hogget? In layman’s term, hogget is a juvenile sheep over a year old to 2 years old top. Sheep that are more than 24 months are no longer considered hoggets. Given that it has more time to grow and mature, hogget meat is darker than lamb and it has its own distinct flavors.

3. Mutton

Mutton status takes over once the hogget reaches two years old, in which the sheep have already matured into an adult. A mutton connoisseurs will agree that the best flavors of mutton are from sheep of 4 years old when their meat is darker and the flavors are more intense. An easy rule is the darker the color of the meat is, the older the animal will be.

Which meat taste better?

Cava's Signature Baked Suckling Lamb.

When it comes to this topic, the answer can be quite vague as different people have different preferences. Our aim is to give an idea to what each meat brings to the table and not to determine which is the best. We believe that every meat has its own uniqueness and it shall be kept that way! 

Put that aside and let’s jump in! One of the main differences between lamb and mutton is the latter tends to have more flavors and a little more fat. However, it can be a little tougher so it benefits from long and slow cooking. Speaking of which dish is of Malaysian’s favorite, the mutton curry is the dish that is much-loved and can be easily found at many eateries all around Malaysia. 

Click to view an image of Curry Mutton
Mutton Paal Poriyal at ALIYAA Restaurant & Bar.

Now that you have some ideas about lamb and mutton, here comes the hogget! Given that it’s reared for a longer period of time, hogget’s flavor profile tends to stand between the lamb and mutton. To put it in context, hogget doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds like old mutton, yet still gives a distinct hint of gamey flavors that’s lip-smacking good.

Sadly in Malaysia, hogget hasn’t caught up with the dining scene, meaning it’s not wildly sold or marketed to the mass. Nevertheless, it’s good that we’ve learned a thing or two about the less-known hogget because now you have something to talk about the next time you are enjoying some lamb chops.

Restaurants where you can eat a lamb dish?

Spicy Lamb Cutlet at Mezze Bar & Bistro.

Talking about lamb, hogget and mutton is making me hungry already and I couldn’t help myself but spending time to discover some interesting lamb and mutton dishes at these top restaurants in Klang Valley. Find out what these dishes are and book a table today! 

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