Lamb is Racking Up Barbecue Fans in Texas

Lamb and mutton used to be commonplace at Texas barbecues but fell out of favor when beef took over. Now they’re making a comeback.

By Emily DonahueOctober 1, 2015 7:22 am| ,

When you thinks of Texas barbecue, beef generally comes to mind. Pork is making inroads with diners, but beef’s king.

Why not lamb or mutton, though?

After all, if you drive the vast expanses of Texas, many a ranch land is dotted with sheep. It kind of makes sense, right?

“It’s kind of funny how quickly it fell out of popularity in favor of beef and pork,” says Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn. “If you look back at the menus of old-time barbecues… mutton and lamb was just as common as beef. Actually, probably more common.”

Steers could be unwieldy and difficult to keep over the coals. Lamb is a younger animal and once it’s older than a year, it’s considered mutton. Mutton back in those days were essentially sheep that no longer produced quality wool, so they would be eaten instead.

Barbecue joints these days often serve lamb brisket, with the bone in. If you’re looking for some of the best lamb in the state, Vaughn says head to Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth and Sam’s BBQ in Austin.