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I fail to understand why in America lamb is considered 'Gamey'

I was born and bred in NZ on a Dairy farm which was also a lamb producer so you can probably say I was brought up on the stuff.

From Wikipedia -

New Zealand, they are defined as follows:

  • Lamb — a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear
  • Hogget — a sheep of either sex having no more than two permanent incisors in wear[4]
  • Mutton — a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear.

In Australia and Saudi Arabia the definitions are extended to include ewes and rams, as well as being stricter on the definition for lamb, which is:

  • Lamb — 0 permanent incisors; female or castrate entire male ovine 0–12 months (note that the Australian definition requires 0 permanent incisors, whereas the New Zealand definition allows 0 incisors 'in wear'.)

Under current United States federal regulations, only the term 'lamb' is used:

  • Lamb — ovine animals of any age, including ewes and rams[5]

 

Younger lambs are smaller and more tender. Mutton is meat from a sheep over two years old, and has less tender flesh. In general, the darker the colour, the older the animal. Baby lamb meat will be pale pink, while regular lamb is pinkish-red.

 

I have lived in Australia now for over 25 Years and was confused for a while as to why Australian lamb could be similar to NZ lamb (similar size cuts, nice flavour and tender) but also have rather large lamb which was more of a Hoggart (stronger flavour, darker meat and tougher).

 

The reason for this is in NZ there are 3 classifications  Lamb (0 to 1 Yr.s), Hoggart (1 to 2 Yr.s) and Mutton (2 Yrs and above)

And In Aus there are only 2 - Lamb (0 to 2 Yrs) and Mutton (2Yr.s and above)

 

So basically a large Lamb in Aus is a Hoggart in NZ, I even quizzed a mate of mine who was a butcher here in  Aus, he didn't even know what a Hoggart was !!, it was either Lamb or Mutton. He did also add that he preferred NZ lamb over the local lamb.

 

A few things I have noticed though, is that in general Australian lamb has a stronger (gamey) flavour than NZ Lamb , in NZ we would dine on Lamb, Hoggart and Mutton. Whereas in Aus I wouldn't even contemplate mutton, it is simply too strong.

 

One other thing , in NZ we had a flock of Poll Suffolk sheep which are bred towards meat (export) while in Aus sheep have traditionally been bred mainly for wool (Merino). This could also explain the difference in the meats as well.

 

So in a nutshell if you want a less gamey meat either get smaller Aus lamb or NZ Lamb and you should be okay. But for goodness sake don't confuse NZ lamb with Aussie lamb!

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I fail to understand why in America lamb is considered 'Gamey'

I was born and bred in NZ on a Dairy farm which was also a lamb producer so you can probably say I was brought up on the stuff.

From Wikipedia -

New Zealand, they are defined as follows:

  • Lamb — a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear
  • Hogget — a sheep of either sex having no more than two permanent incisors in wear[4]
  • Mutton — a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear.

In Australia and Saudi Arabia the definitions are extended to include ewes and rams, as well as being stricter on the definition for lamb, which is:

  • Lamb — 0 permanent incisors; female or castrate entire male ovine 0–12 months (note that the Australian definition requires 0 permanent incisors, whereas the New Zealand definition allows 0 incisors 'in wear'.)

Under current United States federal regulations, only the term 'lamb' is used:

  • Lamb — ovine animals of any age, including ewes and rams[5]

 

Younger lambs are smaller and more tender. Mutton is meat from a sheep over two years old, and has less tender flesh. In general, the darker the colour, the older the animal. Baby lamb meat will be pale pink, while regular lamb is pinkish-red.

 

I have lived in Australia now for over 25 Years and was confused for a while as to why Australian lamb could be similar to NZ lamb (similar size cuts, nice flavour and tender) but also have rather large lamb which was more of a Hoggart (stronger flavour, darker meat and tougher).

 

The reason for this is in NZ there are 3 classifications  Lamb (0 to 1 Yr.s), Hoggart (1 to 2 Yr.s) and Mutton (2 Yrs and above)

And In Aus there are only 2 - Lamb (0 to 2 Yrs) and Mutton (2Yr.s and above)

 

So basically a large Lamb in Aus is a Hoggart in NZ, I even quizzed a mate of mine who was a butcher here in  Aus, he didn't even know what a Hoggart was !!, it was either Lamb or Mutton. He did also add that he preferred NZ lamb over the local lamb.

 

A few things I have noticed though, is that in general Australian lamb has a stronger (gamey) flavour than NZ Lamb , in NZ we would dine on Lamb, Hoggart and Mutton. Whereas in Aus I wouldn't even contemplate mutton, it is simply too strong.

 

One other thing , in NZ we had a flock of Poll Suffolk sheep which are bred towards meat (export) while in Aus sheep have traditionally been bred mainly for wool (Merino). This could also explain the difference in the meats as well.

 

So in a nutshell if you want a less gamey meat either get smaller Aus lamb or NZ Lamb and you should be okay. But for goodness sake don't confuse NZ lamb with Aussie lamb!

very well said , love NZ lamb not so much the "all blacks or your cricket teams lol

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Livestock is absolutely different (tasting) in every part of the world. Unless you're eating at McDonald's it will be impossible to have a same-tasting meal in different regions, even of the same cut on the same aged animal, when they're using local supply.

Like with humans, the saying is the same for animals, "you are what you eat" - which also extends to your environment and how you're raised. Then of course there are also different breeds of so many animals, some of which you'll never know when purchasing (at least at supermarkets here in Ontario). We can get some nice free-grazing grass-fed, no hormone injected Beef locally where even some cheap cuts taste world's better than what you'll find at the local supermarket on a more premium cut, regardless of preparation or cooking style. Pork in/from Portugal without question and without reservation tastes (much) better than any pork I have ever had in Canada or the US. Same goes for Chicken - truthfully, sometimes it might as well be a different species.

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