What Is The Difference Between Lamb And Goat Meat?

Sheep and goats are both members of the Bovidae family, and they have a great deal in common. These herbivorous, hooved mammals are ruminants and share many behaviors. The meat of goats and sheep is also somewhat similar; although, the meat of mature sheep is much oilier and has a stronger taste than that of mature goats. In this article, we compare and contrast sheep and goat meat, especially focusing on the difference between the meat of goats in general and lamb, specifically. Read on to learn more.

Sheep And Goat Meat Vocabulary

sheep and goat meat vocabulary

Meet harvested from sheep may be called:

  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Hogget

Mutton and hogget are taken from mature sheep, which are slaughtered at the age of 2 or 3 years. Lamb is taken from young sheep, which are slaughtered earlier than the age of 1 year. Mutton and hogget are darker, oilier and have a stronger taste than lamb.

Lamb Meat Is Delicate

Lamb meat varies in coloration from a pale shade of pink to a deep red. Generally speaking, the darker the meat, the older the animal from which it came. Lamb is a slightly fatty meat with a somewhat gamy flavor. To reduce the gaminess, trim off as much of the fat as you can.

To cook lamb chops, roasting, braising, barbecuing or grilling are the best cooking techniques. When cooking larger, less marbled cuts (such as the shoulder or leg) slow roasting is preferred.

10 Reasons Why You Should Consume Some More Lamb Meat

Mutton Is Bold

Mutton/Hogget comes from an adult sheep and is fatty and deep red in color. It has a strong, gamy flavor and is rather tough because it contains large amounts of fatty acids.

Mutton should always be stewed or slow cooked to tenderize it. Very strong tasting mutton can be used to make sausage or included in dishes containing a great deal of spice.

Easy Mutton Curry In Pressure Cooker

Goat Meat Always Comes From Young Animals

Goat meat is called chevon, and goats are typically slaughtered when they are under 1 years of age. Just as young sheep are called lambs, young goats are called kids.

Goats that are slaughtered for meat are typically neutered males (a.k.a. wethers). They are usually slaughtered around the age of 9 months. At this age, the animal has fleshed out completely, but the meat is still juicy, tender and imparts a delicate flavor.

If left uncastrated, a goat will tend to produce meat that is tough and has a rather gamy scent and flavor.

Goat meat has very little marbling or fat, so it is best to cook it at low temperatures for lengthy periods of time to maintain moisture and tenderness. When barbecuing or grilling, tenderizing and marinating will help retain these qualities.

Health Benefits Of Eating Goat Meat

Lamb Vs. Chevon: Nutritional Value Comparison

Meat from young goats and young sheep are both considered red meat. Even so, the makeup of each type of meat is quite different, and the nutritional value of these two types of meat varies.

1. Fats, Cholesterol & Proteins

Lamb and mutton are fattier and contain about twice as many calories as goat meat. In fact, the fat content of lamb is about ten times that of chevon. This means that lamb meat also contains a significantly higher amount of cholesterol and saturated fats.

The good news is that its polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat content is also higher than that of goat meat.

Goat meat contain significantly more protein than lamb meat. Both have a very low glycemic index of zero. Both are very low in both carbohydrates and fiber content.

2. Vitamins

The vitamin content of lamb meat and goat meat is quite different. Lamb meat is rich in vitamins B6 and D. It also contains a significant amount of the other B vitamins, as well as vitamin K.

Goat meat, on the other hand, contains no vitamin B6 and no vitamin D. It contains lower amounts of the other B vitamins along with high concentrations of vitamin E.

Neither goat meat nor lamb meat contains significant amounts of folic acid or vitamins A and C. Generally speaking, meat from sheep contains more and a greater variety of vitamins than meat from goats.

3. Minerals

Lamb is lower in sodium than goat meat, and it contains a greater amount of magnesium. On the other hand, goat meat contains higher amounts of:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Both types of meat are rich in calcium, but overall, goat meat contains more minerals than lamb meat.

4. Micronutrients

Both lamb and goat meat contain significant amounts of the amino acids:

  • Tryptophan
  • Threonine
  • Lysine

Of the two types of meat, you will get more lysine from lamb and more of the other two amino acids from goat.

5. Fatty Acids

People who have heart conditions are better off eating goat meat because it has a more favorable ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acid to saturated fatty acid.

This is especially true of meat taken from grain fed goats; however, it must be noted that grain feeding also negatively impacts the Omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio.

For this reason, generally speaking it is best to source meat from grass fed goats and other meat animals. Doing so reduces your chances of developing arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular problems.

When it comes to conjugated linoleic acid, lamb meat has more than the vast majority of other types of ruminant meat. This type of amino acid is helpful in preventing problems with coronary heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

How Do You Cook Meat From Sheep And Goats?

how do you cook meat from sheep and goatsedge

It’s important to understand that meat from both of these types of livestock must be cooked carefully and completely. The reason for this is that there is significant risk of infection with toxoplasma gondii.

Additionally, both types of meat may contain pathogens which resist antibiotics. Among them are Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli .

For both goat and lamb, the United States Department of agriculture food safety and inspection service recommends cooking to an internal temperature of 145°F. Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature before you remove the meat from the heating source.

When cooking goat or lamb meat roasts, steaks or chops, the meat must attain a minimum of 160°F internal temperature to be considered safe for consumption.

Which Type Of Meat Is Better For Your Health?

Goat meat contains less fat and more protein than lamb meat, so it is generally thought of as a healthier choice. Even so, both types of meat contain significant amounts of various vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.

For this reason, it is wiser to balance your diet by eating some of each rather than choosing one or the other. Both deliver significant benefits.

Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that just as with other types of red meat, consumption should be limited. Eating large amounts of red meat has been shown to contribute to the development of several different types of cancer.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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