View Single Post
  #1 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 27-12-2005, 10:20 PM posted to
Posts: n/a
Default US vs imported Lamb

I have just read an earlier (pre-Christmas) post discussing US and
other lamb imported into the US. I am in New Zealand, and I have
this sort of explanation to offer about New Zealand lamb (it is a
personal one admittedly, but is based on years of experience!) I
have eaten New Zealand lamb in California and it was perfectly fine.
It had been imported chilled, not frozen.

Spring lamb here becomes available at the butcher (or meat department
of the supermarket) around November (sometimes October). From then on
for about 5-6 months the lamb is considered reasonably young. It is
certainly very tender. I like lamb offal also (liver) but only buy
it in November/December/January Lamb kidneys seem to be around the
same quality year round.

In our midwinter the butchers here tend to label sheepmeat as lamb
that is from sheep actually getting on for a year old, and would
probably fit into the hogget category. (Mutton is sheepmeat over 2
years old.)

If you are buying chilled NZ lamb anywhere in the US (NOT frozen or
thawed from frozen), you are going to get much better meat around
November/December/January than at other times.

I haven't seen fatty lamb here for a long time. Sometimes mutton,
yes, but this variety is usually sold in bulk meat outlets.

Many years ago the price of lamb paid to farmers in New Zealand was
based on the amount of fat - seems strange doesn't it? This was
because the other product of a sheep is wool, and the more the fat on
the sheep the better the wool! The farmers liked to get it both ways
- naturally.

When the bottom fell out of the fatty meat business about 15-20 years
ago, there were a rash of modifications to try to breed a type of
sheep that would give lean meat and high quality wool. I don't know
if it succeeded, because synthetics made a big dent in the wool prices
also. All I do know is that I can now buy lamb cuts much leaner than

Lamb is an extremely good source of protein, but the fattier cuts are
shoulder and neck. All lamb chops will have some fat on them (you can
trim it off of course) but the traditional leg of lamb is generally
lean and tasty. If you have some doubt about roasting a leg of
lamb, seal it quickly in a very hot oven (375-400 F) for about 20
minutes, and then turn down to about 230 F and cook it slowly.

To my mind, the best cut is a fully trimmed lamb rack. Find a recipe
that offers a really tasty crust, and only roast it enough to present
it quite pink inside - but not bleeding.

I hope this helps.


Carthage demands an explanation for this insolence!

Carthage demands an explanation for this insolence!