Guide To Cooking Lamb: Day 1

Apr 20, 2011 6:10 pm

A step-by-step guide to cooking lamb

Illustration: Drew Lerman
Illustration: Drew Lerman

Welcome to the Food Republic Guide to Cooking Lamb. Over the course of this week leading up to Easter Sunday, we will look at the five primal cuts of a lamb, discuss the best methods of cooking each cut, share some recipes, check in with our friends at the American Lamb Board, and answer any lingering questions you may have. Ready to cook an awesome Easter lamb dish? Here we go. 

Exactly what is lamb? And while we are at it, what is mutton? So glad you asked. Lamb is a sheep less than a year old. Lambs are slaughtered for meat anywhere between 4 and 12 months, and we call that meat, well, lamb. Mutton is meat from sheep that are a year or older. Its stonger taste and tougher meat means the mutton most often shows up in long-cooking stews, on the menus of offal-loving chefs, and in Charles Dickens novels. For our purposes we will be dealing only with lamb this week.

Okay, onto our first primal cut: The Leg Section.

The leg section produces a significant number of different cuts.  The cuts that come from this section tend to be the least expensive, but also the most popular. This roasting meat. Leg of lamb, anyone? Below check out the various cuts and the best way to cook them. 

Check back every day for recipes, like this excellent leg of lamb from Seattle's Lola.

Cut of Lamb Cooking Method
Whole LegRoast
Short Cut Leg, Sirloin offRoast
Shank Portion RoastRoast
Center Leg RoastRoast
Center SliceGrill or Broil
American-Style RoastRoast
Frenched-Style Leg RoastRoast
Boneless Leg Roast (rolled & tied)Roast
Frenched HindshankBraise
Sirloin ChopBraise, Grill or Sauté 
Boneless Sirloin RoastRoast
Top RoundRoast
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