JD Weekend Barbecue Challenge: Our weekend barbecue challenge is a great way to try out new recipes you might have never considered, food you’ve never eaten, and hone your skills at the pit.

What’s up devils? We’ve reached the end of yet another long and slow work week, and now it’s the weekend, which means it is barbecue time! This weekend barbecue challenge is a real treat; a barbecue rarity, generally only consumed in one place, Owensboro, KY. There the meat of choice is mutton, or a sheep for you layman. It can be challenging, but the best things in life usually come with a challenge, so there’s that. To start you off I have a great recipe for barbecued mutton that come’s to us compliments of grilling guru Steven Raichlen.

Total Time: 5 1/2 – 7 1/2 hours

Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook Time: 4-6 hours


For the mutton…

1 piece of mutton, leg or shoulder (about 5lbs.)

Coarse salt (either Kosher or sea)

Freshly ground black pepper

For the basting sauce…

1 cup cider vinegar

2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

5 tbs coarse salt (Kosher or sea)

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

For the dipping sauce…

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp coarse salt (Kosher or sea)

1/2 tsp onion salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground allspice


(Special note – traditionally mutton is cooked with hickory wood, so soak 4 cups of hickory chips or chunks for 1 hour.)

The first thing you need to do is liberally rub the mutton with 1tbs each of the salt and pepper and set it aside.

Next make the basting sauce. Combine the vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, lemon juice and pepper in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Now make your dipping sauce. Again using a saucepan, combine the Worcestershire, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, pepper, coarse salt, onion salt, garlic powder, and allspice with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until the flavors are rich and it has been slightly reduced, taking about 5 minutes. Place in another bowl and allow to cool.

Now prepare your grill. Your going to be using indirect grilling with medium low heat. Once the charcoal is hot, throw the hickory wood chips or chunks you soaked directly on the coals. Place the mutton on the grill, fatty side up, and close. You will cook the mutton anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, basting the meat with the basting sauce every 30 minutes, but keep the lid closed when not basting.

When your mutton is done, reading 190 F on a meat thermometer, remove from the grill and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. Either thinly slice it against the grain, or finely chop it with a cleaver. With a ladle, drip half of the dipping sauce onto the meat. Serve either by itself or on a toasted hamburger bun or white bread, and with the remaining sauce. Enjoy!

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Be sure to let us know how your mutton turned out in the comments below.