What does lamb taste like?
All cuts of lamb have an incomparable flavour, but not all of them are suitable for making the same dishes. Each piece of lamb is suited to a specific type of preparation, and it is important to know the differences in order to get the most out of the dishes we prepare. Equally as important is knowing how lamb tastes before we begin cooking with it.
Representative, lamb has a lot of unsaturated fatty acids and is known to be helpful for diets, so, based on this, many lamb restaurants promote it as a dietary food.
What does lamb taste like?
Many people would describe lamb meat as a combination of beef and game, though it’s definitely pretty different from both. However, the closest it comes to taste is young goat meat, though this might not be especially helpful, since we assume that most people who have not eaten lamb meat, have also not eaten goat meat either.
It is said that the unique scent of lamb is due to the caprylic acids present in the fat. So, of course, in the case of young lambs, these substances are less accumulated, giving their meat a less pungent smell.
The suckling lamb is slaughtered at approximately 25 days of age. During this time, its diet consists exclusively of breast milk, giving the suckling lamb a unique flavour that no other meat has. Given its diet and its short life span, the suckling lamb has a pale pink color. There are many and varied ways to cook suckling lamb, but it is such a special and tasty meat that there is no wrong way to prepare it.
For its part, the paschal lamb is slaughtered after 4 months of age, but never exceeding one year of life. This meat is characterized by being slightly darker and possessing a more intense flavour.
Lamb meat is largely divided into shoulder, rib, and hip. The shoulder is ideal as a roast and has a more chewy consistency than pork or beef.
A leg of lamb is very rich and appetizing. It has more meat than the shoulder and the meat is a little more compact, making them perfect to enjoy as thin fillets or baked with potatoes, a tremendously delicious dish.
The flavor and texture of lamb is arguably different depending on the country of origin and typically reflects everything from what the animal eats to the physical characteristics of the breed.
American vs Australian vs New Zealand Lamb
Most varieties of American lamb are a cross between the Suffolk and Columbia breed, one being known for its meat and the other for its wool. They are raised in large herds in high rangelands in Colorado or other states of the midwest and pasture fed the majority of their lives.
Some breeders feed the lambs corn a few weeks before slaughter to fatten them up and make their meat more marbled. This breed is the largest in size and has a high price even within the States.
Lamb has long been an economic resource as important as gold in Australia, and for the last couple of years the country has been the main lamb exporter. Both American and Australian lamb graze on large fields, so they tend to exercise more and grow healthily.
However, in Australia sheep are mostly raised for their wool with meat being only a by-product. The lambs, raised in large enclosures, are slaughtered around the age of 12 months, when the meat is less tender. This means that the meat offers a richer taste with a more intense marbling.
Succulent and tender, roasted lamb is one of New Zealand‘s favorite dishes. New Zealand lamb is highly valued worldwide and is one of the country’s leading meat exports. The majority of lamb from New Zealand is pasture-fed thanks to the country’s fields that are rich in clover and ryegrass. This diet gives the meat a distinct leanness and a strong muttony flavour.
New Zealand offers the meat market very young lambs, typically slaughtered at six months of age. Due to their petite frames, they yield tender rib chops and less fat percentage.
Wales has lush green meadows for sheep and lamb grazing. For several years now, the Welsh have been producing a very high quality lamb, which now takes pride of place in a large number of starred restaurants in Europe. By virtue of the free trade that exists between the countries of the Commonwealth, you can find in butcher’s shops fresh lamb requiring no preparation.
French lamb is also famous, particularly the tender young lambs that graze on salt marshes.
Of other European countries, Iceland boasts a good quality lamb. It is the smallest of all, but has a remarkably delicate flavour and rich texture.
How to Cook Lamb
If you want to cook and eat lamb at home, try practicing with skewers. Since it is cut into small pieces and combined with vegetables, it has a different feel and approach than regular grilled meat that is cut flat. For those who don’t like the greasy feel or are concerned about dieting, lamb ribs are ideal.
Because lamb is basically a scented food, many recipes have been developed to get rid of the scent, and there are various spices to eat with it after cooking. Among them, the most popular spice is cumin. Experiment with various types of spices and sauces and find what works best for you.
We absolutely love lamb and therefore feature a wealth of various lamb recipes. Some of our favorites are the following: