Lamb: meat from a sheep less than one year old. Typically lamb is from an animal around four to nine months old – the varied climate up and down the UK means lambs are born throughout the year and British lamb is never out of season.
Hogget: nothing to do with pigs! This is meat from animals aged one to two years – typically associated with slower growing rare breeds such as Hebrideans or Shetlands. Hogget has a stronger flavour than lamb but should be nice and tender if cooked correctly.
Mutton: meat from sheep older than two years. However, mutton connoisseurs will tell you mutton needs to be from a five, six, seven year old sheep for a real experience and to appreciate the fullest flavours. Can be strong and will need to be slow cooked, but done right it’s delicious.
Ram: a male sheep normally used for breeding but is also eaten. However, if they’re more than one year old or have spent a lot of time with ewes – or female sheep – the meat can be rather strong and not to everyone’s tastes.
Looking for flavour and got more time to cook? Ask for: shoulder, neck fillet, breast or round neck.
A quicker dinner or going a little posh? Ask for: cannon of lamb, French trimmed rack, leg steads or double chops.
Is this the centrepiece of the meal? Ask for: leg of lamb, boned and rolled shoulder or a crown of lamb.