Learning to Cook with Lamb

By Paleo
In Cooking Tips
Feb 3rd, 2012

Lamb is a delicious, flavorful meat that can make a great and interesting addition to your paleo diet, and used in a variety of delicious, paleo recipes but unfortunately if you’ve never cooked lamb before, it can seem a bit intimidating. Lamb comes from the meat of a baby sheep, and is high in protein, B vitamins and iron.

When selecting lamb for purchase, look for meat that has a fine texture, and is firm to the touch. The meat should be red or pink in color, with white marbling throughout. The fat trim on the lamb should be firm and white, and not too thick or yellow.

There are four basic primal cuts of lamb, including the shoulder, rack, loin and leg. The retail cuts of lamb that are most commonly found in the supermarket include:


Shoulder Cuts

Shoulder cuts are often bony, but generally more economical than other cuts of lamb.

Arm Chop– There are several types of lamb chops, one of which is the arm chop. The arm chop is best prepared by grilling or broiling. The shoulder chop is another cut that is best suited to preparation by grilling or broiling. The blade and arm chop cuts of lamb are generally less expensive than other cuts of lamb chop.

Square Cut Shoulder– The square cut shoulder is a large cut of meat that is most conducive to roasting.


Rack Cuts

Rib Roast– The rib roast, also often known as a rack of lamb, contains nine ribs. The rack can be cut along the backbone to make two lamb rib roasts, which are best prepared by roasting.

Rib Chop– Another of the lamb chop cuts, the rib chop is generally more expensive and tender than the shoulder cuts of lamb chops. It’s best prepared by broiling or grilling.


Loin Cuts

Loin Chops– Loin chops are cut from part of the backbone, and include the eye of loin and the flank. Loin chops are best prepared by broiling, grilling or pan frying.

Loin Roast– The loin cuts of lamb are generally the most expensive, and this is where the most tender meat of the lamb originates from. A lamb loin roast is also very flavorful.


Leg Cuts

Leg of Lamb– The leg of lamb is one of the most popular cuts, and is sold with or without bones. Generally lamb leg is roasted, but it can also be butterflied and grilled.

Leg Chops– Leg chops can be purchased boneless or bone-in, and are generally best if prepared by braising, broiling or grilling.

Cuts derived from the breast of lamb are also available in supermarkets. The sparerib or riblets are from the breast, and often the meat found in the breast is used to make ground lamb. Lamb spareribs are generally best if grilled or braised. Ground lamb is leaner than traditional ground meat, and often has a more delicate flavor, and can often be found in the supermarket as pre-formed patties.

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