Now that spring is here and Easter is just around the corner, we’re starting to get an increasing number of requests for lamb at the Butcher Counter.
Lamb is one of the products we offer that many of our customers are less familiar with. A staple meat in many European countries, in the U.S. the average person only eats about a pound of lamb per year. Here it’s more often a choice for holiday meals and special occasions than for weeknight dinners and casual affairs.
One reason for that may be that lamb can be expensive. And in fact, prices have increased in the past several years due to weather and other factors influencing supply.
New Zealand is the world’s top producer of lamb — there are actually more lamb than people in New Zealand! But because of the distance, lamb needs to be frozen before shipping to the U.S., which compromises quality and taste.
Because our preference is to offer fresh product, the lamb we regularly carry comes from Colorado, which has the appropriate climate and conditions for raising grass-fed lamb. But for those who prefer to get their lamb from New Zealand, we can always accommodate special requests with advance notice.
We get a lot of questions about the best cuts and best way to cook lamb, so we’ve boiled down the basics to the following tips:
- The most popular cuts of lamb are Racks of Lamb, Rib Chops, Loin Chops, Leg of Lamb Roasts and Shoulder Roasts.
- A good alternative to a more expensive Rib Chop is a Lamb Loin Chop. It’s similar to a lamb T-bone, but is about a third of the price.
- Most lamb cuts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145F
- Racks of Lamb are often served during the holidays and for entertaining. They work well on the grill or can be crusted with herbs and roasted. A simple rub of fresh mint, thyme and/or basil mixed with garlic and lemon is an easy way to flavor lamb before grilling or roasting.
- Lamb Shoulder Roasts are great for slow roasting, or you can cube them and use in stews.
- Leg of Lamb Roasts can be ordered bone-in or bone-out. We suggest a serving size of 12 oz. per person for a bone-in roast and 8 oz. per person for a bone-out roast.
If you’re not up for cooking lamb on your own this spring, you’re in luck. Our Wednesday Sandwich in April features lamb, and it’s not to be missed:
Thinly Sliced Leg of Lamb / Cherry Tomato & Fennel Pepperonata / Mint-Pesto Aioli / Asiago Cheese / Drippings / Local Brown’s Court Bakery Soft Roll
Come in on a Wednesday to try the sandwich before the month is over, and be sure to place your orders in advance for your Easter lamb to ensure we have what you need!