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Author Topic: Gimmer mutton  (Read 2482 times)

Birdie Wife

  • Joined Oct 2008
Gimmer mutton
« on: April 30, 2012, 01:24:25 pm »
A crofting friend of mine gave me some gimmer mutton chops to try (so not as old as normal mutton, but older than a lamb), and the taste was just amazing. I fried off the meat and then put it in the slow cooker, with very little in the way of seasoning or added flavouring, just some onions, carrots and potatoes layered up like a lncs hotpot.

It tasted like I remember lamb tasting... like it's supposed to taste. I wondered about the economics of producing this - you get a larger animal, so is it worth more? and it takes longer to grow the animal on. If it balances out, why is this meat not more commercial?  ??? And does anyone cook this at their farmers market stall? The smell of browning meat was making me salivate and I couldn't wait to try it... I wasn't disappointed...! I bet it would pull people in  ;)

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Gimmer mutton
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 02:01:33 pm »
mutton made a resurgence a few years ago due entirely to top chefs extolling its virtue     there is a market but not huge volumes
now gimmer mutton has to be kept for a second year so say for instance a farmer with 1000 ewes and having a 200% lambing that is 5000 sheep before he sells any   you can adjust the figures any way you like but it still means carrying a hell of a lot of sheep
farmers markets      if only it was as easy as you think     the farmer producing the gimmer mutton just wont have the time to stand hanging around a town centre or the skills or aptitude to deal with the public  and the non genuine stall holders don't want true producers near them          yes a very good idea but it wont happen  :farmer:


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Gimmer mutton
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 02:19:13 pm »
its only really economic if you are getting top dollar for it because of the cost of providing winter forage and the risk of losing some to the weather or illness before they go for the chop. Or unless you are happy with small joints and make your own hay somewhere land is cheap and you choose breeds that can survive just on that and a mineral lick - which is what we do, it is amazing meat. Over a year and under 2 years would be called hoggett here, over 2 years is mutton. We eat the lamb and hoggett and the dogs mainly eat the mutton, tho we eat a bit too.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Gimmer mutton
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 04:09:48 pm »
As L&M says, it's called hogget here and can be from gimmers, shearling wethers or shearling tups (away from the breeding season)
With some breeds of sheep selling meat as hogget is the norm - for example with Hebrideans and other primitive breeds.  This is because they grow slowly so don't reach a useable weight in the first year, but by the time they reach a good slaughter weight the meat is close-grained and firm.  Thus you can rear grass-fed animals which are slaughtered at 16 months or so.  If you can do this without having to feed concentrates, just hay, then the extra expense on small numbers is warranted by the extra carcase weight.
However, I don't know that it would be worth it with a quicker finishing breed, which would perhaps just turn to fat.  Someone who breeds quick maturing breeds can answer that part.
I know that with Hebridean hogget meat, and 3 year old Soay (they can take that long to reach a good weight) the meat is very different to young lamb - more flavoursome while maintaining the melt-in-the-mouth tenderness.  How much of this is due to the breed and how much to the greater maturity of the animal and the slow-grown meat I'm not sure.  We now only eat our own hogget.
Mutton is something else again and tends to be from older ewes which have been culled for being broken mouthed, having mastitis etc.  We have eaten this too, although I tend to make it into burgers or sausages.  I have also eaten wether mutton, mostly 7 yo, which was extremely fatty (some was from primitives and some from quicker finishing breeds, but all were fat, on grass only).  They were my one-time fleece flock.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 04:17:20 pm by Fleecewife »

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  • Joined May 2011
    • Briggs' Shetland Lamb
Re: Gimmer mutton
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 07:25:55 pm »
Technically hogget is a lamb born the previous calendar year and mutton is over two years old. Shetland Sheep that don't make marketable weight by the end of November seem to switch off and will not grow much till the grass is growing well again in Shetland, that's in June. I sell these in August as "Shetland Hogget 2 summers old".

The economics are quite simple. In November you don't have a marketable product. Using a minimum cost maintenance ration through the winter you can produce well fleshed animals off summer grass. I don't have to tell you how good the quality of the meat is and I have customers who prefer it to lamb. Still, I find Lamb finished off pasture in the autumn is more profitable. As well as the cost in land and feed to over winter the carcase has to be split and the spinal cord removed, which adds to the processing cost. The mainstream meat trade knocks this extra processing cost and more off the price it pays to the farmer for hoggets once there is enough new season lamb available to fill their order books.


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