Game Grill Lamb Main Dish Slow Smoke Thanksgiving

Kentucky Style BBQ Lamb

By Mike Kerslake

For two years straight the Dizzy Pig BBQ team was fortunate enough to earn an invitation to the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational BBQ Championships in Lynchburg, Tennessee. When the two Canadian members of the team, Bryan Brown and Mike Kerslake, determined their schedule for the trip down to the competition, they made a commitment to take a slight detour in order to experience a unique bbq phenomenon; mutton at the Moonlite BBQ in Owensboro, Kentucky.

I [Mike Kerslake] have got to admit that I’ve always found lamb to be a bit ‘gamey’ in aroma and flavor and so I was doubly nervous about mutton, which is from an older, and presumably gamier, animal. After taking in the buffet at the Moonlite BBQ, not only were my fears dispelled, but I was a full convert to the taste of bbq mutton! Bryan even managed to get us a tour of the cooking facilities and a talk with the manager of the huge restaurant.

We returned home intent on trying to duplicate this cook. Unfortunately, there are no mature sheep readily available for sale in our area of Ontario. Therefore, here is my attempt at the cook, substituting lamb shoulder for the mutton. Give it a try with either lamb or mutton and enjoy this Dizzy spin on a Kentucky bbq tradition!

I was able to obtain what is called a ‘square cut’ lamb shoulder roast. It actually incorporated the shoulder down through the rib cage of a lamb. This particular cut weighed a bit over 5 lbs. Boy, I wish I could have tracked down a true mutton roast, but for now, this roast will have to do.

Square cut lamb shoulder roast
When we talked to the manager at the Moonlite, he mentioned that the seasoning they used for their mutton was largely just salt and pepper. I thought that could be spiced up a bit more and so I selected a coating of Dizzy Dust Coarse and some Cow Lick in a 50/50 blend. I could also see Red Eye Express doing wonders on this cut. There’s not a lot of exposed meat on this small roast, so I felt a healthy coating of rub was necessary to lend a nice spicy element to the meat.

According to the folks at the Moonlite, the key to taming the gaminess of mutton is in the application of their specially-blended ‘dip’, both during the cooking and the serving of the meat. You’ll find the Dizzyfied version of Owensboro Mutton Mop in the recipe below. While it’s admittedly not very tasty on its own, when blended with the lamb meat, the balance in flavors is outstanding!



Print Recipe

Here’s the Dizzyfied version of Owensboro Mutton Mop:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dizzy Pig® Cow Lick seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder


  1. Trim silver skin and exterior fat and cover with Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express.
  2. Prepare smoker indirect at 225°F and cherry wood.
  3. Put lamb on cooker
  4. Mix all mop ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.
  5. Use mop once an hour on the shoulder roast.
  6. After about 10 hours of smoking at 225°F over a cherrywood infused charcoal fire (the Moonlite uses hickory), this 5 lb shoulder roast is pretty much fully rendered, reading about 195°F internal on a digital thermometer.
  7. After resting for 20 minutes, pull meat into tender, juicy pieces. The roast yields a full Pyrex bowl full of smokey (lovely smoke ring, eh?), tender lamb shoulder meat.
  8. Heat remaining mop to a boil, then drizzle the warm dip over pulled lamb and you have some smoked lamb worthy of a Kentucky bbq feast!