Terry Stinnett, a barbecuer who lives about 10 miles from Owensboro, has been cooking mutton at church benefits for more than 20 years.
“The church’s men’s club cooks four to six times a year,” he explains. “Once of these fundraisers consists of 500 to 1,000 pounds of mutton, 300 to 500 whole chickens and 300 to 500 gallons of burgoo.”
Terry is also a certified barbecue judge for the Kansas City Barbeque Society and travels to 15 to 20 competitions a year. He usually competes in a handful of barbecue competitions each year.
“We cook the meat over an open cinder block pit,” he notes. “Logs of hickory for flavor, oak for heat and sassafras for flavor are alternated in the bottom and the fire is about four feet from the meat. It will cook about 12 to 14 hours. As it is cooked, it’s turned every hour. The finish dip or sauce is applied about two hours before the meat is done.”
The open pits are dug four feet into the ground and are about 20 feet in length and 54 inches wide, he said. Large heavy screens are laid atop the cinder blocks to hold the meat.
Here’s his recipe for mutton mop, to be applied during the last 2 hours of cooking. It’s been scaled down from the original 3-gallon batch.
1 1/3 cups vinegar
1 1/3 cups Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
4 teaspoons butter
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon pickling spice
Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.