Lamb shanks. I bought them at our local grocery store. Two shanks in a vacuumed-sealed pack. I knew they were not from a young spring lamb. It was clearly mutton from an older sheep. I love mutton. Ewe know I do… Better flavor than a young lamb. Mutton is great for stews and roasts too. It cooks up with a lot of flavor.
It’s an acquired taste. If you don’t like baby or spring lamb then you definitely don’t want to try mutton.
As I opened the package at home to oven roast the shanks I was over come by the smell of piss and vinegar. The stench was so powerful that our French Mastiff Lucas wanted out and he wanted out NOW! Anything to escape the odor of what the amateur home cook would think was rotting meat. To Andrew Zimmern that pungent could only mean one thing. Ram mutton.
Rams are known to drink their own urine. It ends up flavoring the meat in a not so pleasant way. Basically it is a gross smell of all gross smell cuts of meat. Probably why the shanks were vacuumed-sealed to begin with. Grocery stores can sell any type of meat from young veal to old culled sheep and cows that no longer useful. You don’t always know the age of the animal or its sex. It doesn’t mean the meat is bad or unsafe for human consumption. It just means that you may end up with a tougher cut of meat with a stronger smell that can, well, knock you down.
I, opening my lamb shanks, just got head-butted in the nose by a ram! Pee ewe! Somebody sent an older male sheep to slaughter.
Okay I spent good money for these shanks. I roasted them with fresh bacon strips to absorb the… Um… Male odor. I topped them off with brown sugar and freshly squeezed juice from an orange to counteract the ram’s rankness.
When they were done, perfectly cooked to a golden brown, I plated the smaller of the two and sat down to eat it. OMG. OMG. Did I just say OMG? Twice? Trice? Oh yes I did. That first bite was beyond belief. The pungent smell was nothing to the taste of it.
It was divine!
Now I understand his Bizarre Food episodes when Andrew says that a meat which smells so bad can taste oh so good. It was. The dog still didn’t want in however. He was not getting a bite. At least not from me. He stayed outside.
After I finished cutting the last piece of meat off the bone and cleaned up the kitchen, Ed walked in the house. He just came home from work. The ram rank was still permeating throughout the house. Ed got hit full-faced with it before he even entered the kitchen. Pee ewe! “What class did you fail?” came out of his mouth referring to my just starting Rouxbe’s online cooking school.
Mutton my eye wife. What did you kill and left to rot?
Well get it out of the house honey. NOW! I’m getting sick.
Lucas still sits at the patio glass door not begging to come in.
I wrapped up the other shank in plastic then handed it to Ed for the outside trash. The smell followed him out of the house. The dog wanted in. I let him. Ed returned then commented that he hopes I live. He was worried that by morning I would be dead from murder by mutton. I survived. This blog is evident to that. Aunt Weenie wrote this. Tis I.
Culinary lesson for the day…
If you buy lamb and it does not state young spring lamb on its packaging then have the meat counter staff open it up. They can always rewrap it for you to buy. Smell up the meat department in the store instead. Because if ewe don’t like mutton ewe won’t have to bring it back or cook with Febreeze as your main spice. And ewe won’t know if it is a ewe or ram until ewe smell it.
Andrew Zimmern I am NOT!