Q: If you can cook oxtail why don’t we eat lambs tail?

A: Almost all lambs are born with tails. The length of a lamb’s tail is half-way between the length of its mother’s tail and its father’s tail – the tail length is a heritable trait.IMG_4043[1]

Under modern sheep production systems, tails are usually docked (shortened) to prevent fecal matter from accumulating on the back side of the sheep, which can result in fly strike (wool maggots). Tail docking also makes it easier to shear the sheep. The tail does not interfere with breeding or lambing.

25 percent of the world’s sheep population have fat or broad rumps and/or tails.   It is not customary to dock their tails, the fat tail is considered a delicacy in some cultures.  Sheep-tail fat is called “allyah” in Arabic. Historical relgious text (Hadith) claims that sheep-tail fat is a “cure” for sciatica (lower back and leg pain caused by irritation of the scaitic nerve).

In the Karoo, where large numbers of sheep’s tales are docked, these tales of whom eaten as a delicacy.  In a more rudimentary fashion, they are thrown whole onto a fire and cooked skin and all, and then the skin is peeled off and the meat is sucked off the bone.   At the Calvinia Meat Festival which happens every year on the last weekend in August, you can enjoy these delicacies with just a sprinkling salt cooked over an open fire.  Unfortunately due to their size, they have approximately the same amount of meat as a very malnourished  lamb chop, so 10 would really just be a snack.

Also see our delicious oxtail recipe – click here

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252 sunninghill@wickedfood.co.za

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studios. Cooking classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these classes are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.