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Thread: Dall Sheep table fare quality?

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    Default Dall Sheep table fare quality?

    I've taken part in the harvesting of 5 Dall sheep and have helped eat part of all of them. The meat quality has been extremely high, with the exception of the last one. Even from the start, there has been a "rutty" or game flavor to this year's meat that I have never tasted in other Dall sheep. This ram in particular was a 9 year old double broomer that was off by himself when I shot him. All of the 5 sheep were harvested in the month of August.

    We take meat care really seriously. For every one of these animals the meat was trimmed carefully, kept cool, and processed as soon as possible. None of the meat was left to age excessively or mixed with other meat or fat during the grinding or packaging.

    Interestingly enough though, this sheep from last year just doesn't taste as good. We keep selecting the black tail deer and moose packages in our freezer and have been reserving the sheep meet for things like spaghetti, tacos, and other things have a lot of spices added to them. Usually I have only needed to occasionally do that with my caribou or bear meat.

    A friend of mine harvested a ewe many years ago and told me that it tasted horrible. I was surprised at the time since all the sheep I had taken up to that point had tasted excellent. I even went as far as telling everyone at that time that my favorite and best tasting meet was Dall sheep.

    What has been your experience with Dall sheep meat? Did I just shoot one that full of piss and vinegar?

  2. #2
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have only had 1 cut of dall sheep meat. I have also had several packages of ground bighorn sheep meat (from the Missouri River breaks).

    The dall meat I had was front shoulder. I was told it was a front shoulder cut from a legal ram. I did not partake in anything but the cooking of it. I used Stid's blueberry recipe. I made a mistake and cooked a prime rib to have with it. I found it tough and a bit gamey - though cooked to perfection at medium to medium rare. It was very good, but served next to the prime rib it paled in comparison. The meat was very clean and appeared very well take care of visually.

    The bighorn was a big ole ram that my uncle shot. The ground meat was very good. It was commercially packaged as he does not eat 'wild game'.

    So far, I much prefer Pronghorn to dall sheep. I prefer black bear to dall sheep. Prime rib is much better tasting than dall sheep.

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    In my little bit of experience, I find that the backstraps and tenderloins are amazing, as well as the heart. But have found other portions not anything to write home about.

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    My sweat equity makes the meat sweeter than it prob is, at times. . I have not tasted rank sheep yet. If I were you, I'd spice it up and enjoy!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Prime rib is much better tasting than dall sheep.
    If a person grew up eating grain fed beef and likes it, they probably aren't going to find much game meat that compares flavor wise as so much of the flavor of beef comes from the fat. And we all know that when it comes to fat, most game meat has very little. Personally sheep meat is one of my favorites, but surprisingly I don't care for market bought lamb. Always could tell when my mother was cooking it by the smell. I'd eat it, but I really didn't care for it. A young berry fed black bear is right up there in the flavor dept.....very hard to beat. Never had antelope so can't comment. But elk also is very good imo.

    I don't know what to say to the op about the poor tasting broomer he killed. I don't know if I would link the word "rutty" with what you tasted because of course they don't rut during hunting season. Even though you say you take real good care of the meat, is there any chance the meat could have just been on the edge of spoiling? Even though many older, bigger rams have been known to keep to themselves, there is always the possibility that the one you killed may have been sick. Just hard to say for sure I guess.

    As far as "rutty" tasting meat goes.... I made the big mistake of killing a big bull moose that had been rutting pretty hard. In fact you could smell him before I walked up to him as his neck was wet from just being in his wallow. It was pretty much dark by the time we got him gutted out and had started to rain. So I propped him up on his back and opened him up with some sticks and we came back for him in the morning. The first thing I noticed when we rolled him over that his hams were still warm. We did him up and packed him out. Other than the backstraps and tenderloins, that moose was very strong tasting. Not terrible, but it almost had a spoiled smell when being cooked. I was young and that was my first BIG bull. Since then, after asking a lot of questions, I have learned from a few old timers, that when you know a bull has been rutting heavily, you really can't get the hide off fast enough. But even doing that, there is no guarantee that every rutting bull will end up tasting "ok". Some say that when a moose starts to drink the cow urine it will start to taint the meat. I wouldn't doubt that is what happened to my bull.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Sometimes you can do everything right and it just turns out that way. You just never know till ya pull the trigger. It happens with all game at times.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampdonkey View Post
    Sometimes you can do everything right and it just turns out that way. You just never know till ya pull the trigger. It happens with all game at times.
    Of course so much has to do with how you take care of it, I'd have to agree with that anyway.

    I also remember reading once that a single hair from the leg gland of a buck deer can taint a silver dollar sized piece of meat.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I've never had any bad sheep meat, my favorite is the meat that holds the rear legs to the pelvic bone. What many people call a "gamey" taste is the iron taste from blood left in the meat. It is possible that your ram did not bleed out well. Take your next meal of it and give it an overnight soak in buttermilk or a salt brine, I like buttermilk best. If you find it unfit, I'm always happy to dispose of any unwanted sheep meat.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I've never had any bad sheep meat,
    I haven't either.

    My father used to always put almost all game.....birds and whatever in a light salt water mix to draw the blood out. Never tried buttermilk. Salt I can understand, but what is it in buttermilk that can draw the blood out?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I haven't either.

    My father used to always put almost all game.....birds and whatever in a light salt water mix to draw the blood out. Never tried buttermilk. Salt I can understand, but what is it in buttermilk that can draw the blood out?
    I'm not a chemist, but I have read that the lactic acid is what both tenderizes and improves flavor. Vinegar, an acid also will do the same. Many, many of the best chicken recipes I have ever tasted uses a long buttermilk soak.

    I can tell you the milk will be "red" after an overnight soak.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I'm not a chemist, but I have read that the lactic acid is what both tenderizes and improves flavor. Vinegar, an acid also will do the same. Many, many of the best chicken recipes I have ever tasted uses a long buttermilk soak.

    I can tell you the milk will be "red" after an overnight soak.
    Ah....interesting. I remember my father also used to wipe down deer meat with a vinegar/water mix if the meat had gotten wet. Said it would help it crust over better....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I've never had any bad sheep meat, my favorite is the meat that holds the rear legs to the pelvic bone. What many people call a "gamey" taste is the iron taste from blood left in the meat. It is possible that your ram did not bleed out well. Take your next meal of it and give it an overnight soak in buttermilk or a salt brine, I like buttermilk best. If you find it unfit, I'm always happy to dispose of any unwanted sheep meat.





    The Iliopsis!

    It is a palm sized (on deer/sheep) muscle that connects the pelvic girdle to the hip joint. You'll find it underneath the main muscles of the hip. There is no single muscle on an ungulate that has better flavour and texture.


    Granted, it could use a better culinary name. The Butt Scallop?

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    Member Carlak2fl's Avatar
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    buttermilk is the key. i know many "old timers" that will soak nearly every game meat in it. from gator to wild hog, to moose, etc. at least overnight if you can.
    its better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt...

  14. #14

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    Cherry pie filling added to roast dall sheep. tie it up like a beef roast and slow cook it with the cherry pie filling on top.

    Lemon pepper, lemon zest with olive oil pan fried.

  15. #15

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    I'm not giving any on my sheep meat away, so don't get any ideas! I worked WAY too hard for it!

    We know how to handle our meat, so I don't think it was a field prep or shot placement issue. Just interested to see if others had the occasional lightly gamey ram.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    I have had meat from 3 sheep & I DO NOT like it at all.

    I would rather eat Moose or Caribou.

    Just my taste I guess.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Guess I'm the lucky one. Never had bad sheep but had bad deer moose caribou goat and bear. Only ever had one rutty tasting deer out of a hundred or so. Sheep roasts have all been great as have the medallions(can't really call them steaks)
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    Good thread. I've eaten off of probably a dozen or more rams between what I've harvested and been given by friends. Its good, but certainly not my favorite table fare. I would take deer (preferably butter ball does killed on Oct 1st), moose (preferably a nice 60" bull killed on the opener with lots of fat, kept dry and hung at 37.5 degrees for 10-14 days) and buffalo (preferably a younger cow or bull) over sheep any day. I take great pride in how I handle my meat, hee hee, and leave it on the bone whenever possible, keep it dry, let it cool quickly, etc. Any deep country backpack hunt makes this more difficult, so maybe thats why it hasn't been as good. Best sheep I've had was two my buddy and I got up Friday creek. We killed them on opening day and had them home the next day. Sheep certainly has more fat (marbling) in the meat than deer or moose, and I've found its best to eat them before the winter is over instead of letting them sit in the freezer for months because you're too afraid of not having any more sheep meat left. That reminds me, I still have 2 packages of 'medalions' I need to eat.
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    Member roughneck6883's Avatar
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    Default Dall Sheep table fare quality?

    I have had bighorn before out of Montana and it was my favorite game animal so far ...it even beat out those barley fed cow elk in Montana ... I have not had Dall sheep yet... but what I am reading now differs from what I have heard ... I have heard it is some if the finest wild meat in the world. Maybe you guys are just picky Ha ha
    "Horns make pi$* poor soup"

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    If you don't get the meat bled out and cooled down fast after shooting, you are going to have problems. This is clean killed sheep we are talking about, but this applies to all wild game. Get the blood & guts out, the hair off the thing and get it cooled down. Well taken care of sheep is #1 table fare.

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