One of the top recommendations for buying lamb meat is to always buy local, organic, and free-range lamb meat. Not only does this promote the highest level of nutrition, it delivers an authentic, true-to-taste lamb dish. Once you have found a local Indiana lamb meat provider, you can choose any cut of lamb you desire. You can choose from the most common, standard cuts of lamb, such as chops, loins, shoulders, necks, rack, leg, shank, and rump. Continue reading to learn a little more about each cut of lamb just mentioned, and their recommended cooking methods.
Lamb Chops, Cutlets, and Racks
Lamb chops, cutlets, and racks are usually the priciest cuts of lamb because they are extremely delicious and tender. They are cut from the ribs of the lamb, and generally cooked individually over an open grill. A rack of lamb is the same thing as cutlets and chops, except it is not cut individually, and instead, cooked as a whole. Often times, they are trimmed “French-style”, which is when the lamb meat is scraped from the ends of the rib bones. This is known to deliver a fancier plate presentation. It is recommended to roast lamb chops and racks. Cook them until they have a light pink, sizzling center. You can pair them with mashed potatoes and baby carrots, or serve them ala carte, lollipop style.
Lamb Loin Chops
Loin chops are a bit different from regular lamb chops since they come from the waist of the animal. They are essentially tiny, two part T-bone steaks, with one side the fillet and the other the loin. They are great when they are grilled or barbecued, and paired with seasonal vegetables and fruits. You can try to implement some Moroccan or Mediterranean seasonings into the rub too.
Lamb shoulder is known for its succulent, rich flavors. In fact, it is arguable that lamb shoulders deliver the most flavor in comparison to other cuts of lamb. Perhaps this is because the lamb shoulder is a part of the animal that works hard, and develops strong. Although this means it takes longer for the meat to tenderize, it is an incredibly delicious and hearty meal when slow cooked and paired with a roasted mirepoix and fragrant spices. It is important to cook lamb shoulder on the bone so that it falls off when tender. You may also want to consider an herb rub of mint or rosemary, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil.
Leg of Lamb
A leg of lamb is a perfect celebratory dinner center piece. They are similar in consistency to lamb shoulders being that they are an area of the animal that are worked hard. This means they have a great flavor, but take a little longer to tenderize. Since it is a lean muscle, it is important to not overcook it, otherwise you’ll end up with meat that is too dry. A garlic, mustard, and herb oil rub will do the trick. Just roast in the oven and finish on the grill!
Lamb rump is a flavorful cut of meat that comes from the rear end of the animal. It encompasses a lot of the attributes of the other cuts of lamb because it is lean, tender, and very flavorful. Try pan frying your lamb rump, and then finishing it up in the oven for a few minutes. You can also cut them into chops and grill them or pan dry them individually. Cook until you get that perfect steaming pink center.
Lamb shanks come from the lower part of the back legs of the lamb. Here, the meat has lot of collagen, which means it is flavorful “melt-in-your-mouth” tender. Not only is it simple to prepare, it is one of the cheaper cuts, making it cost-effective too, so it’s a fail-safe dinner selection for any occasion. Try one in a slow cooked stew, and pair with a delicious stout or porter.
The neck and neck fillet are two common cuts of lamb. They are connected to the lamb shoulder, but a professional butcher can separate them for you. Not only is it cheap, lamb neck is available at most local butchers and grocery stores. However, it is best to procure your lamb meat from a local sheep farmer. The meat can be cooked similar to a lamb shoulder, but it can also be seared on high heat and cooked like steak. If you cook it low and slow, try pairing it with some buttery mashed potatoes. If you pan fry it, pair it with some fresh vegetables.