It’s a traditionally festive main course to serve an American Bone-in Leg of Lamb Roast with its deep, rich flavor but is dry aging it the best idea? Dry aging is our favorite thing to do to meat and a great show stopper to serve at family gatherings. This is because dry aging is a process that is completely unique in its ability to naturally amplify the flavor of meat. Despite this, we recognise when certain products aren't particularly suited for dry aging. In this instance we are going to be explore whether you should try dry aged lamb, mutton or nothin’.
Dry Aged Lamb
With a ½ leg of lamb weighing in at approximately 3 lbs. and a whole leg at twice the size, it still doesn’t come in at half the weight of a sub-primal cut of beef. Lamb is naturally tender and some describe the flavor as “gamey’’. However, it’s grassier or pastoral by having an actual connection with the life of agricultural laborers integrated into the branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs) found in the lamb’s fat. So, to dry age a leg for more than 7-14 days will just increase these intense farm fresh flavors.
Dry Aged Mutton
A case could be made that a 7 lbs. leg of Mutton would be better suited to the process of dry aging because its meat tends to be tougher and from a sheep over two years old. The meat of sheep between 12 and 20 months old are called a Yearling Mutton. The meat of a sheep between 6 to 10 weeks old is sold as baby lamb and a spring lamb is five to six months old.
Americans appreciated the taste of Mutton through the 19th century but by the time the 20th century rolled around it was found to be too strong tasting and too fatty. Mutton has a lot less fat than beef and is actually more expensive than beef because its demand is near zero according to the USDA. Of the two options between dry aged lamb or dry aged mutton, the latter is probably the best since they have the biggest legs to age. They’re larger than lamb and you won’t be left with a tiny piece of meat left over after trimming of the pellicle that forms as the meat dries.
Overview of Dry Aged Lamb, Mutton or Nothin’
Here at Steak Locker, we appreciate the power of dry aging and in most cases we wouldn't have our meat any other way. However, we recognise when dry aging certain products may not be the best choice. When it comes to beef, we recommend dry aging every time, you can also experiment with pork and fish. Personally, we wouldn't recommend dry aged lamb, but if you still decide to give it a go, your best bet is to dry age mutton instead. In our next blog post we are going to explore the best meats to dry age using your dry age fridge. What’s your favorite dry aged meat? Tweet us and let us know, we’d love to hear from you.