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What kind of lamb?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I hear a lot of talk about different kinds of lamb... domestic versus New Zealand land mostly. I've never really been discerning about the lamb I buy, but should I be? What do you look for when you buy a piece of lamb, and what's the difference between domestic and other kinds?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 18
It would be nice to have a chance to be discerning. Around here we take what we can get---which almost always is New Zealand lamb.

From what I see on cooking shows, I would say that New Zealand lambs are smaller than Colorado lambs. Or maybe it's an age thing? But the individual chops that come off a rack from New Zealand are nowhere near as thick, nor are the eyes as large.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 18
My butcher sells lamb reared on his own family farms locally. However, I like to try English and Welsh spring lamb when they first become available as they are very tender and are on the market a little earlier than ours seem to be!

I only buy organic lamb - and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the chilled NZ lamb available here in the UK. Haven't eaten frozen meat for over 20 years, so I don't have any views on how good/bad the lamb would be, whatever its origins!
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I hear that Iceland is well known for their lamb, but it's not imported here unfortunately.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 18
Ishbel, I am so jealous of you! :lol: I have a friend who vacations in Wales, and she sings the praises of Welsh lamb. You're lucky that people in the UK have not lost their taste for lamb. Sometimes it seems that once people come to the US from lamb-eating countries, by the second generation they have lost it and start complaining about how lamb is too "gamey" or some other negative. :mad: And don't let me get started on mutton . . . sigh.

I don't have a real butcher shop close by. :cry: If I buy lamb at the supermarket, I'm at the mercy of whatever they have, usually either New Zealand or Colorado. They're both good, but I've never been able to try them head-to-head to figure out differences. And sometimes now I buy lamb at the farmers' market, from stands that sell only meat, or from the cheese makers who sell (how to put this delicately? :o) their excess animals. That stuff is good. Just had some last night, in fact: a couple of pieces of lamb breast that I marinated in mixed-herb oil with lemon juice and zest, then roasted.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #6 of 18
Yes, we are blessed with wonderful meat here - particularly lamb and in the case of Scotland, brilliant beef, too.

My butcher does sell mutton, but not regularly and he ensures that we regulars know when he's got some coming into the shop! It has a really game-y taste in comparison to other lamb, but sometimes that is just the ticket for things like Scotch pies (although more bakers tend to use lamb or beef nowadays - the original name of mutton pie tells of its origins!) or real Scotch broth.

Love lamb!:thumb: I love it roasted, studded with garlic and rosemary - served with the traditional Sunday roast veggies, roast tatties and parsnips, a green veg and honey-glazed carrots and lashings of home-made mint sauce - not that awful day-glo green stuff you can buy in the supermarkets in jelly form!
post #7 of 18
New Zealand lamb is almost always pasture fed, rye grass, clover etc. They are also slaughtered pretty young, 6-8 months. It's pretty lean because of it's feed. Colorado lamb is also pasture fed, but then usually corn finished. Finishing with corn gives Colorado lamb much richer marbling. They are also a larger breed.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #8 of 18
Look around and see what's local. In Utah you can get Morgan Valley Lamb that is very good but you do pay more for it. www.morganvalleylamb.com

I admit I use the NZ lamb more often because of price.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #9 of 18
I guess I don't care where a person is at, you should do your best to buy local as much as possible. But there is no harm in try'n something different once in a great while. Lets you know how great the local is.:thumb:

When you cook this lamb, KouKou, you will have pix won't you?:thumb:
post #10 of 18
Ishbel, Have you had a chance to try the salt marsh (I think that's right) lamb? I've heard its meant to taste pretty unique because of the pasture its brought up on, but I don't know, have never had the chance.

Here we just seem to have the local stuff, not even NZ lamb. Sometimes I suspect it's mutton. Nothing wrong with mutton - in fact I prefer it for slow cooked dishes.

Favourite chops would be the chump. Not that keen on racks, cutlets or forequarter, chump seems the most tender for quick cooking. As a bonus, you get the marrow to slurp out of the bone :) Loin chops are good too, but way too expensive.

Chump is great for slicing thin for mongolian lamb...love that sooo much
Good for bbq too, takes us marinades really well, or just rosemary, lemon and oil. Good for skewering for kebabs also.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #11 of 18
DC, The salt marsh lamb you referred to is called "pre sale" These animals are prized for their intense, rich flavor. They eat the salty grass by the salt ponds in Brittany, this area is also known for it's Fleur de sel. In France the 3 best lambs are considered from Bordeaux, Provence and Brittany.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #12 of 18
Thanks Cape Chef...it must be delicious.

I did think that there is lamb similarly raised in the UK too. Heard that from TV series (yes I am a food show junkie) "Great British Menu", they had to source local ingredients from their areas, e.g. Scotland, Wales, Ireland, South-West etc etc, cook it in the "British" style and a couple of the chefs chose to cook this for their main. The judges raved about it, so it must be really good.

Was curious :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #13 of 18
DCSunny
We do indeed have wonderful salt marsh lamb - Wales and Scotland both 'grow' this meat! It's usually seasonal though - summer through until nearly the end of the year. It has a wonderful flavour - best not to do anything fancy with it to allow the flavour to shine - it is a beautifully flavoured meat.

In Scotland, the sheep which are sold as saltmarsh lamb often crop right to the sea's edge!

I'm off to do a google to see if I can find out anything further on this!

WOW - I always thought that saltmarsh lamb was only raised in Wales and areas of Scotland. Not so... it is now raised in places as diverse as Somerset to Cumbria! Mind you, it is much more expensive than ordinary, pasture raised lamb.
post #14 of 18
Ish...they sound like surfers :) I hope they look out for sharks and watch the tide.

I can imagine it is more expensive as it is not your stock standard pastured sheep. Wouldn't imagine the Welsh serving Laver (sp?) bread with it. Indeed, let the lamb be the star of the show. 'Specially if it costs so much. Maybe a touch of samphire to echo the saltiness, with some swede & potato mash...and loads of jus from lamb bones reduced right down.

Yum.

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #15 of 18
Whilst Laverbread would never be on my list of favourite foods - who am I to decry the Welsh their national foodstuffs, after all we eat haggis and dulse (a seaweed, but not used like laverbread, or not in my experience!) regularly?

LOVE samphire. I remember going down to the sea to pick it on the sand dunes when I was a girl as my mother loved the stuff. It was never widely available until recently - nowadays you get a couple of springs on a plate with almost every fish dish in posh restaurants.... hardly worth the bother as it is no more than a garnish on those plates!
post #16 of 18
California produces a lot of lamb. Unless you know your supplier very well, it tends to be fairly local -- and also fairly fungible with other California lamb. Lambs here are larger, a bit and a bit less gamey than lamb from NA or Oz. On the other hand, our lamb is not quite as well marbled and luscious as the lamb in Europe, around the arc of the mediterranean, the middle east and contiguous south-Asia.

Middle eastern lamb and mutton are so good, they're almost tiresome. Of course, that may have something to do with the inherent limitations of kebab cuisine.

BDL
post #17 of 18
Ah, remember, some Middleeastern "lamb" is actually a different breed than what you may be used to, from my travels in the Middle East, most "sheep" are "fat-tailed sheep" and taste somewhat different from NZ, USA, or European sheep.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #18 of 18
In a nutshell

small= N.zealand $ good for horsd because of smaller eye
med = australian $ probably the best value for the money
large= domestic, CO etc. west coast $$ a little more mild in flavor
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