The difference between lamb and mutton is its age.
Lamb is up to 1 year, Hogget between 1 year – 18 months, and 18 months + is known as Mutton.
There are 2 main reasons why the meat changes between these periods. Firstly, diet. The diet of a young lamb will be predominantly milk based, which leads the meat to be sweet and tender.
If you fancy enjoying Spring Lamb at its very best, why not try grilled lamb rack, with green sauce and shaved fennel salad. This would work fantastically using a griddle pan or a barbeque. In my opinion, to really enjoy the tenderness of the Spring Lamb, it is best to keep the accompaniments simple!
As the animal matures, their diet becomes more grass based. During the winter months, their diet will be supplemented by hay or grains, which changes the meat itself and it becomes darker and richer.
As the animal approaches 18 months, this continues and therefore the contrast between the two if clearly visible. In my view, this is why mutton lends itself to slower, moister cooking. A mutton shoulder will need long, slow cookery. As well as the richer meat, it will have a much greater fat content, which will help to nourish the meat through long periods of cooking. This slow cooking will really unlock the fantastic rich flavour of mutton, which in turn will require your garnish to be a little richer.