We’ve had roast leg of lamb … oh, so many times I couldn’t count. Mutton however, was something on the “not tried this” list. Armed with a good quality leg of mutton and some sage advice from a recipe book, I sailed into uncharted waters and roasted my first mutton joint. Delicious. I can safely say it won’t be the last.
Roast Leg of Mutton
What is Mutton?
Mutton is a cut of meat from an adult sheep that is at least a year old, more likely close to 3 years of age. It has a deep red colour and contains a considerable amount of fat compared to lamb, so it needs to be cooked low and slow to render the fat out. It has a rich, meaty and slightly gamey texture and flavour. When I pulled it from the oven, it had aromas that I associate more with a roast rolled rib of beef.
A leg of mutton can be more cost effective than lamb, ours was £15, compared to £21 for a similar sized leg of lamb. Also, as the meat is so much richer, it caters for more dinner guests compared to lamb. The 1.5kg mutton leg we had served four (with leftovers), a similar sized leg of lamb wouldn’t have been enough.
Our mutton leg came from Turner and George (no commercial connection). They are a great butchers to deal with, and do mail order. You can also try your local butchers or supermarket.
- Roasting tray and rack
- Carving knife and board
- Sharp knife
- 1.5kg mutton leg
- Cherry smoking chunk (optional)
- 1 tbsp Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express rub (optional)
I have also cooked this using a cinnamon and huckleberry glaze. If you’d like to try this instead of the Red Eye Express, check out the glaze recipe this blog post. It’s a very different taste, quite sweet and delicious.
I recommend cooking this to an internal temperature rather than time for the best results. Check out my blog post on this topic for more information.
- Pre-heat the oven or Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 110°C/225°F. If cooking in an Egg and using a smoking chunk, once the coals are glowing and the Egg’s temperature is stable, toss on the chunk and wait for the thin blue line of smoke.
- Trim off any excess fat from the mutton, whilst leaving the top thin layer in place. Score the top fat layer in a cross hatch pattern and rub with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the Red Eye Express rub (if using).
- Place the mutton on a rack over a roasting tray. Put this into the oven. Cook for 1.5 hours per pound, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 71°C/160°F (medium).
- Remove from the oven, cover with kitchen foil and a towel and let the meat rest for 10 mins, then carve and serve. In this time, you can whip up a quick gravy if so desired.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- The Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express rub is available in the UK from Amazon.co.uk (affiliate link), BBQ Gourmet and Riverside Garden Centre.
- A 1.5kg mutton leg can be cooked in a Minimax, I used an 8 inch shallow pie dish as a roasting tray and the grid from a small Egg for the rack.
- For a Kentucky BBQ recipe, hickory smoking chunks are used. I thought this might overpower the flavour so went with cherry chunks instead. Having tasted the richness of the meat, hickory would have also worked.