At the 2015 Shopping for Health conference, the Tri-Lamb Group, representing lamb producers in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, hosted a grilling demonstration. We watched Ken Frank, a top Napa chef grill different cuts of lamb, and received purchasing tips and some fantastic recipe ideas.
Lamb sold today has a delicious, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with a variety of seasonings. It’s leaner, too, because of selective breeding practices and because the meat is trimmed of more excess fat before packaging. Lamb is available to meet a range of preferences-from natural or organic lamb to lamb that has been exclusively grass-fed or grain finished.
There are five major cuts of lamb available in the US: shoulder, rack, shank, loin and leg. Most lamb is sold in supermarkets with fat trimmed to 1/4 or 1/8 inch. You can trim this thin layer of remaining fat before or after cooking.
And why is it so good for you? On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb is lean, has only 175 calories and meets the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition for lean. Lean meat has less than 10 grams of fat, less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. The leanest cuts of lamb include those from the leg, loin and shank.
Lamb is also nutrient rich, making it a natural fit for healthy diets. On average, it’s an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin. In addition, lamb is available to meet a range of preferences—from natural or organic lamb to lamb that has been exclusively grass-fed or grain finished.
From the Tri-Lamb Group, here is an easy summer recipe for grilled lamb:
Serving Size: Makes 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 – 15 minutes
8-12 lamb loin chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dry rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
In small bowl, prepare seasoning blend by combing black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, rosemary, parsley and salt. With paper towel, pat the lamb dry and roll in seasoning blend. Press mixture firmly into the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, let warm up to room temperature.
Preheat grill. In skillet over medium-high temperature, quickly sear chops in hot olive oil on both sides until light brown.
Remove chops from skillet and place on grill. Grill to desired doneness. Remove from heat and serve.