Australians love their lamb - that is no secret! With its buttery flavour and delicate texture, lamb has truly become part of Australia’s identity.
But what exactly constitutes as lamb in Western Australia, and how does it differ from other popular ovine options such as hogget and mutton?
- Age & Size Differences
Lamb – A lamb is a young sheep under 12 months of age and has not developed any permanent teeth yet. The average weight of a full lamb is approximately 20-26kg.
Hogget – A hogget is a young sheep that has no more than two permanent incisors, hence the expression ‘2 tooth’ which is often used interchangeably with ‘hogget’. These permanent incisors often appear from 13 months-2 years of age. The average weight of a full hogget is approximately 28-32kg.
Mutton – Mutton is a sheep that has more than 2 permanent teeth which generally occurs from 2 years of age onwards. Farming lingo refers to mutton as ‘4 tooth’, ‘6 tooth’ and so forth until eventually becoming ‘full mouth’ or ‘8 tooth’ from 48 months and onwards. The average weight of mutton varies greatly depending on the season and stage of the muttons life.
- Flavour, colour and texture differences
Lamb – Lamb meat is a soft red colour and is tender, subtle and almost sweet in flavour. For identification purposes, true lamb is stamped with red dye.
Hogget – Hogget meat appears slightly darker than lamb, and has a deeper, more pronounced flavour. For identification purposes, true hogget is stamped with yellow/ochre dye.
Mutton – Mutton meat is darker than both lamb and hogget, has a deeper flavour and is often tougher and fattier, requiring a slow cooking method to produce the most desirable results. For identification purposes, true mutton is stamped with blue dye.