Lamb is the new beef, and the world is its grazing land. Contrary to popular belief, this meat from a young sheep goes well with so much more than just mint sauce.
Whether you like it rare or well-done; roasted, seared, boiled, or barbecued; well-seasoned or left au naturel, you can expect flavours to burst in your mouth anytime you take a bite of lamb. Just like beef and pork, this meat comes in different cuts that have their own distinct flavour profiles.
Here’s a quick guide on how you can get the most flavour from the different cuts:
Leg of Lamb
Considered the best cut for a Sunday roast, leg of lamb features very tender meat with just the right amount of fat to keep it moist and succulent as it cooks. The most common preparation for this is roasting the leg whole with the bone in, especially in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, although braising is also popular in some cuisines.
In some cases, the leg can be cut into leg chops and even butter flied for easier cooking. Meatcart suggests an easy marinade with rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, and a few herbs.
As a general rule, lamb is fairly tender, which means most cuts can be cooked using dry heat, even when their beef or pork counterparts can’t. One great example is the lamb shoulder.
This cut is often roasted with the bone in and the meat rolled. This inexpensive cut is also perfect for slow roasting, as it has a lot of fat and connective tissues that break down during the cooking process, which makes for a juicy meat. It can also be cut into chops, with Chef Anne Burrell suggesting it goes well with Greek flavours.
The shanks are some of the tougher parts of the animal, due to a lot of connective tissues. It is, however, one of the most flavourful, as the cartilage, fat, and bones are packed with great taste.
Because the meat is tough, slow braising proves to be one of the best ways to prepare it, as it breaks down the meat into wonderfully tender chunks. It’s also easy to hand out, as each shank is the perfect serving for one person.
These are just some of the most beloved cuts of lamb. Head on over to your local butcher, or order online, experiment with different flavours, and find out why lamb is seen as the leader of the pack, or more accurately, the herd.