The basics of the different breeds we offer
Just as slicing tomatoes are different than paste tomatoes, and a Macintosh apple is different than a Red Delicious apple, all breeds of livestock are also unique in their meat profile. Throw in the age differences between lamb, hogget, and mutton upon those differences between the breeds - it can get confusing. Below is a basic meat profile of the different breeds that we offer to help you choose which is best for your kitchen and needs.
The Bluefaced Leicester sheep produce high-quality lean meat in lamb and hogget that has a remarkably mild flavor and subtle texture. The longer body produces a carcass with fine bone shape, notably of the loin. The long leggedness of the Bluefaced Leicester lends itself to making sizeable leg cuts in roast accommodating larger settings. The Bluefaced Leicester is best suited to those unfamiliar with lamb or if looking for a leaner cut.
The Black Welsh Mountain sheep sits at the high-end of hogget and mutton for authentic quality. Once considered the "King's Mutton", the same quality across centuries of refinement remains true retaining a mild but full flavor with a soft texture, even in the eldest of animals. The meat is a close grain in texture, rich in color, of distinct flavor, and full value with minimum of wasteful fat. Although smaller in cut size, the Black Welsh Mountain breed is far superior in overall quality. The Black Welsh Mountain is best suited for those seeking quality without compromise and the finest meat available.
The Welsh Mule, a crossing of the Bluefaced Leicester and Black Welsh Mountain, produces a quality meat approximate to the Black Welsh Mountain profile. The meat retains the exceptionally lean profile from the Bluefaced Leicester yet carries with it the flavor and texture characteristics of the Black Welsh Mountain. While the quality of the Black Welsh Mountain hogget may be out of price range for some needs, the Welsh Mule lamb may be the best alternative. The Welsh Mule is suited for anyone wanting to dabble into a finer experience of meat beyond commercial lamb, without the expense that comes with the quality that the purebred Black Welsh Mountain provides.
Lamb is exactly what you think and know, meat from a lamb, or a sheep that is in its first year of life. Lamb is generally lean with minimum fat and a tender and soft texture. Although not all lamb is created equal. As stated above, different breeds bring different qualities and profiles. This is why we utilize a Stratified Breeding Program to offer you the highest quality including “Prime Lamb” that is acceptable within the U.K.
Hogget is from sheep in their second year of life. With the correct breeds and correct raising, hogget meat is the preferred meat. Not all breeds of sheep are able to produce hogget meat. This is generally reserved for the old “primitive” breeds of sheep that grow much slower than modern breeds.
In the “improved” breeds that are developed to reach slaughter weights and confirmation as quickly as possible, hogget meat becomes tougher, grainier, and carries a gaminess, and is generally not used. In the US market this is sometimes referred to as “Yearling Mutton” which is more of a grade than an age.
Mutton is from sheep over two years old. Again, as with hogget, most breeds cannot produce quality mutton making it unfavorable, and thus difficult to find. Fortunately, the Black Welsh Mountain sheep not only produce quality mutton, but the breed also produces mutton of greater quality than even lamb or hogget of different breeds. We are certain that anyone who has tried Black Welsh Mountain sheep mutton will never go back to purchasing commercial lamb again.