There is a (Turkish?) specialty, boiled lamb's head.

In restaurants, I've noticed it's boiled to an extent that you can pull apart skull segments easily and access the brains.

Whatever I try I can't reach this state. Recently, I used sous vide for about 18 hours, 84°C.

Any experiences with this?

2 Answers 2


I don't have any experience with cooking heads, but the problem sounds familiar enough.

The quality of meat in restaurants is often far better than what you can buy at a regular consumer market. What you - a regular layperson - buy as a "lambs head" might actually be an old rams head. What a restaurant chef buys is fresh meat from suppliers the chef trusts to deliver high quality. I don't want to imply that you aren't able to distinguish the head of a young lamb from that of an old sheep. People just try a lot of things to earn more money for less quality wares.

The reason why I suggest your sheep might have been old is that the segments of the skull are seperated at birth and fuse with age. From a certain age (I'm not sure what that age is in sheep) the upper skull is one solid bone and no amount of cooking can seperate the individual segments. Especially male sheep have a very solid skull to protect the brain from damage while ramming their horns into opponents.

  • 1
    It's a fair point, but there's much more lamb available at butchers than mutton, even if the US permits all sheep to be sold as 'lamb'. (obviously, if you're in a wool raising area, or near Owensburo, KY, this might not hold true)
    – Joe
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 19:22

------ @ 160 for 60 hrs, the meat came off the skull with no effort. the skull was still intact with no sign of separating, so i took a husky knife and a hammer (! ) and got half of it to part from the rest of the skill. then i could see the brain . i managed to get it out - although in pieces .

  • 160 what? C? K? F?
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 5:05
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