Goat Vs Lamb Meat – What’s The Difference?
Sorry to say, but we don’t think we would ever be able to go fully vegetarian – we just love meat too much!
Not to say that veggie-meals aren’t delicious, it’s just that we love everything about meat. We aren’t carnivores, but having a meat dish once a week is a must when you love food as much as we do.
Meat has been around for ages, especially goat and lamb meat, but why aren’t these as familiar today? A lot of people in certain parts of the world have never even seen or tasted either and often confuse the two.
So, what is the difference between goat and lamb meat? The main difference between goats’ meat and lamb’s meat, besides coming from different animals, is that they have very different tastes and textures. Goat meat is leaner, tougher, and gamier than lamb. This means that each type of meat is also prepared and served in different ways.
In today’s jam-packed article, we will be having a look at all things goat and lamb.
We will be comparing the nutritional values between them, discussing their individual preparation and cooking methods, and how they are served and what you can serve them with.
Like we’ve already established, the main difference between goat and lamb meat is the animal they come from. This might seem obvious to some, but many parts of the world don’t have access to these meats.
It’s like lamb and mutton; they both come from the same animal, but at different ages – it can be very confusing if no one has ever explained it to you. However, that’s why we’re here!
Surprisingly, both goat and lamb meats are as popular as beef around the world – even more popular in some countries, in fact.
The terminology might not seem important for this article, but it is important to know so you don’t confuse the different meats when standing in the grocery aisle.
Meat from younger goats is referred to as capretto, or cabrito. The meat from older goats is referred to as chevon. In most countries though, all goat meat is simply labeled as goat or goat meat.
Sheep and lambs are the same animals, however, there is a lot of confusion surrounding sheep meat terminology.
A sheep that is older than 1 year is called a lamb. Sheep meat from a cheep that is around 2 years of age is called hogget and even older sheep meat is called mutton.
Mutton is a term that is used in some parts of the world (mostly South Asia and in the Caribbean) to describe both goat and sheep meat. In other areas, it usually refers to only adult sheep meat.
How Goat Meat Is Used
Let’s start with goat meat. Goat meat is a surprisingly popular meat around the world, even considered a delicacy in some areas and a staple in others.
Goat meat is used virtually everywhere except for America, Canada, and Northern Europe, with a few exceptions in certain niche markets.
Over the decades it has become so popular that even fine dining restaurants have started implementing it in their menus.
If we were to go into every traditional dish that exists using goats’ meat, we would be able to fill a library with information.
However, here are some goat dishes that are worth mentioning:
- Curried Goat – A curry adopted by several countries, including Jamaica, Nepal, and Indonesia.
- Jerk Seasoned Goat – A twist on jerk chicken, usually with Jamaican spices
- Mutton Biryani– An Indian curry-like dish served on spiced rice
- Sate Kambing – An Indonesian dish with skewered goat meat
- Sukuti – Goat jerky made in Nepal
- Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagne – Sometimes used instead of beef in Italy
- Seco de Chivo – An Ecuadorian stew served with yellow rice that is often served on special occasions
- Boodog – A Mongolian roast that uses a whole stuffed goat cooked in its skin
Goat meat can be used in thousands of dishes. It isn’t well-known as a processed meat like beef and pork is. Goat meat can be ground and made into sausages or patties, but that is about the extent of it.
Finding goat deli meats or even processed sausages made from goat meat isn’t very common and will probably only be found in the country of origin.
Here are a few recipes that are more common in North America:
- Spicy goat curry on basmati rice
- Barbeque goat meat skewers (from a shoulder cut)
- Whole roasted goat leg on a bed of mixed vegetables
- Pulled goat burrito (using goat meat instead of beef, chicken or pork)
- Goat ragù
- Goat hamburgers with onion rings and fries
While there are some places that sell goat meat, it is not yet a commonplace meat in North America, with customers tending to prefer milder and less gamey meats.
How Lamb Meat Is Used
Lamb meat is a bit more common around the world than goat meat, so many of these dishes you might have heard of or even tasted.
Lamb meat is used and cooked in very similar ways to goat meat.
In most cases, grilling or slow-cooking either of these meats is the best way to draw out the flavor and preserve the moisture.
Here are some of our favorite traditional lamb dishes from around the world:
- Kettle BBQ Roasted Leg of Lamb – The national dish of Australia, often served on special occasions
- Lamb Satay and Lamb Curry – Very common dishes in Indonesia and various parts of India
- Bamboo Shoot Curry – made using lamb and found in Minang and Thai cuisine
- Jingisukan – a very popular dish in Hokkaido, Japan, even though lamb isn’t a staple ingredient in this cuisine. This dish is made from thinly sliced grilled meat served with vegetables and mushrooms.
- Haggis – A traditional Scottish dish with lamb offal (heart and lungs or other trimmings) stuffed into the lamb’s stomach and boiled
- Lamb Sweetbread – a lamb’s thymus gland or pancreas, a popular and well-known traditional dish of many cuisines around the world
Lamb can easily be used as a beef substitute and therefore used in virtually any meat dish.
Here are some popular lamb dishes in North America:
- Lamb Chops
- Lamb lasagne
- Lamb stew
- Rack of lamb ribs with a sticky barbeque sauce
- Slow roasted leg of lamb in cabernet sauvignon
- Slow-braised lamb shanks with vegetables
These dishes are far more common than those with goat meat and are often more savory and less spicy than the dishes prepared with goat.
Lamb chops are arguably the most popular lamb dish in North America, which is why we have articles for both freezing and reheating your lamb chop leftovers.
How They Are Cooked
Both these red meats can be cooked in a number of ways, some methods being much better than others. Before discussing specific methods that are the best for each of these meats, let’s take a look at the cooking temperatures of each.
For lamb or goat meat cuts, like steaks or chops, etc., the minimum internal temperature has to reach 160˚F. These meats don’t have a rare, medium, and well-done scale, like beef does.
Ground versions of these meats and any dish that needs it, like meatloaf, should reach at least 145˚F (63˚C) internally.
We truly believe that the best ways to prepare and cook these meats are in a stew or curry – anything that has a long and slow cooking time.
When these meats are cooked in marinades or sauces, they become extremely soft and flavorful and all the flavors of the accompanying ingredients and meat merge beautifully.
Lamb meat has a lot of fat that has more of a gamey flavor compared to the actual meat. If you are not a fan of gamey meat, trim off as much fat as possible off before cooking. This fat is also the source of lamb’s notoriously strong smell.
The fat, however, does add creaminess and richness to the dish that you are preparing and we would definitely recommend adding it into your stew or curry.
Goat is also well-known for being much gamier and has a very unique taste that some consider barn-like. Even if you aren’t a fan of goat milk or cheese, using goat meat in dishes is entirely different.
Some cuts require quick cooking on very high heat – usually the thinner cuts with little meat on them.
Best Cooking Methods According to Cut
|Section||Most common cut||Best cooking method|
|Neck||Neck chops, neck rosette, neck fillet roast||Any slow cooking method, stews, roasting, braising|
|Shoulder||Bone-in shoulder, forequarter rack, forequarter chop||Any slow cooking method, stews, roasting, braising|
|Rib||Rack of ribs, rib cutlets||High heat and quick cooking methods, grilling, pan-frying, barbecuing|
|Loin||Loin chops, tenderloin, eye of loin||High heat and quick cooking methods, grilling, pan-frying, barbecuing|
|Leg||Bone-in leg, deboned leg, easy carve leg||Searing, roasting|
|Hindshank||Shank, drumstick||Any slow cooking method, stews, roasting, braising|
|Foreshank||Shank drumstick||Any slow cooking method, stews, roasting, braising|
The older the meat, specifically mutton, the tougher and fattier the meat will be, therefore if you are unsure of how to cook it, opt for a slower cooking method like braising or stewing.
This will break down the connective tissue and soften the meat.
The Best Side Dishes
Of course, different dishes will have natural accompaniments, however, here is a list of our top recommended side dishes that will work perfectly with any goat or lamb dish.
Carbs are and always will be the best sides to any meat dish. The type of carb you use will be determined by the type of meat dish you are making.
Let’s say you are making a saucy stew. The best carb accompaniment would be soft bread that can absorb all the juices.
Most carb-rich foods have a very neutral flavor and texture that only enhances that of the main dish.
There is a wide variety of rice and rice mixes that you can choose from to accompany your specific meal. For example, choose plain rice with a spicy stew, or choose a very flavorful spiced rice with a plain roasted meat cut.
Bread is also a very good accompaniment. Not only does it serve as a side dish, but also as a serving vessel. You can use it on the side or make a wrap, quesadilla, stuffed pita, or anything you can think of.
Lastly, potatoes! These are as versatile as the universe is wide. You can easily make hundreds of dishes from this one vegetable.
Choose a texture that will complement your main meat dish. For example, crispy potatoes with a soft stew or mash with chops.
Vegetables are also a very diverse category that you can flavor any way you like. If your dish doesn’t already contain vegetables, it is a very good idea to use them on the side.
Vegetables can also be prepared in many different ways, and again, make sure the flavor and textures match those of the main dish.
You can use plain vegetables and either blanch, roast, deep-fry, stir-fry, or steam them. You can also use these vegetables in other side dishes. For example, you can make veggie rice, noodles, or:
Our last category is a good old salad. This can be a fresh salad like a Greek salad or Garden salad, or something a bit more elaborate like a pasta salad.
You can either make a hot salad or cold salad, whichever you like, as long as it fits the whole meal.
Salads can be very refreshing, especially when served with a heavy and rich dish like curry or a red wine stew. It can be a great way to balance the whole meal while still not overpowering the main.
Both goat and lamb meats are classified as red meats. They can either be standard or free-range depending on where they are from. Most of these meats are free-range, as the animals require very little maintenance and large pastures.
Goat meat is considered one of the healthiest meats you can consume, as it is very low in calories and fat and has a very high protein percentage.
Compared to goat meat, lamb has almost double the amount of calories and fat, and although it has a good protein amount, it still doesn’t match that of goat.
Neither of these meats contains any carbohydrates, glucose or fiber. Upon closer inspection of the vitamins and minerals that these meats contain, there are a few differences.
Goat Vs Lamb Nutrition Chart
|100g Cooked Goat||100g Cooked Lamb|
|Total fat||3 g||21 g|
|Cholesterol||75 mg||97 mg|
|Sodium||86 mg||72 mg|
|Potassium||405 mg||310 mg|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g||0 g|
|Protein||27 g||25 g|
|Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine||0%||5%|
|Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin||20%||43%|
As you can see from the chart above, although goat meat is lower in calories and fat, naturally, it is much lower in nutrients, albeit not by much.