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Have you ever wondered what lamb tastes like? Well, not bad at all, in fact, even better than some other meat alternatives.
Lamb meat is not as common as beef, mutton, or pork. Since it is not cooked so often in our kitchen, many things about this meat remain unexplored.
Here, in this guide, you will find what lamb tastes like without even having to taste it. Hopefully, you will get the right fillip to go for it.
What Does Lamb Taste Like?
Lamb has a unique flavor and most people consider it a combination of beef and game. In reality, it is pretty different from the said meat type, the closest it tastes to is young goat meat.
Assuming this is not helpful or does not answer the question asked by many, let’s elaborate further. In comparison with commercially raised beef, lamb meat tastes stronger, earthier, and somewhat gamey.
It has a strong flavor due to the branched-chain fatty acids that the beef lacks. Lambs slaughtered at different age groups, raised in different countries, or fed a particular diet have different meat flavors.
A few things that remain constant are the strong flavor, high-fat content, and tenderness.
Lambs raised on grains and grass have a different flavor from the ones fed on grass alone. This is a delicacy and a specialty dish not served in all restaurants.
Types of Lamb and Their Flavor
Lambs are primarily kept and raised in three countries; the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Depending on where they were raised and how it affects the flavor.
From flavor to texture, it is arguably different due to the country of origin and physical characteristics of the breed. Some of the varieties found in several countries are
American lamb varieties are generally a cross between Suffolk and Columbia breeds. These varieties spend most time of their life grazing on pastures, therefore, their meat has a healthy marbling.
This lamb has a large size and is fed with corn to fatten them up, a few weeks before the slaughter. Lamb cuts are quite expensive within the United States.
In Australia, sheep farming is a big business owing to their high-priced wool. Their meat is considered no more than a by-product.
Not fed with corn ration their entire life, the meat has a low-fat percentage. Australian lamb is less tender, offering rich flavor with a more intense marbling.
These lambs are pasture-fed the majority of their lives and usually slaughtered at the age of six months. This meat has low-fat content and carries a strong flavor like mutton.
The diet is rich in clover and ryegrass giving the meat the unique leanness and muttony flavor. Roasted lamb, succulent and tender, is one of the famous dishes of the country.
Lamb Flavor Influenced By Age
Though the impact is not significant, it is not negligible as well. The intensity and the distinctiveness of the flavor differ slightly according to age.
These lambs are slaughtered at approximately 3 weeks or 25 days of age. During this short lifespan, their diet mainly consists of breast milk.
This exclusive diet gives this lamb a distinct taste that no other meat has. Their meat has a pale pink color and it can be prepared in more than one way. Learn Is Lamb Pork?
This lamb is slaughtered after 4 months or no more than one year of age. At this point, their diet includes a variety of food items, giving it a different flavor. The meat is slightly darker and has an intense flavor.
The flavor of Different Lamb Cuts
After deciding grass-fed or grain-finished lamb, next up is choosing the right cut according to your personal flavor preference.
There are several lamb cuts divided into shoulder, rib, and hip. All these cuts possess a slightly different flavor, it needs to be chosen wisely for a crowd-pleasing dish.
- Lamb Chops – Undoubtedly one of the most popular lamb cuts, it belongs to the ribs area. Buy a rack of lamb, cook it right, and have a juicer and tender dish. This cut is healthier and tastier with a unique sweet-grassy-finished flavor.
- Lamb Loins – It is one of the tender and lean meat cuts with a very delicious flavor. Coming from below the ribs at the waist, lamb loin chops look like T-bone steaks.
- Lamb Shank – Coming from the bottom part of the back leg, the meat of this region is extremely tender and soft.
What Do Lamb Recipes Taste Like?
This nutritious and full of flavor meat, cooking it in varied ways makes it even more delicious. Owing to the branched-chain fatty acid, the gamey flavor will spread on the tongue with a captivating aroma.
Lamb recipes can be used as a main dish or mixed with other food items to enhance the overall flavor.
Popular dishes like Classic lamb roast or roast lamb and Garlic lamb chops have the best taste, juiciness, and fascinating aroma. Make sure lamb is not bad and fresh.
These recipes have a grassy flavor whereas the roasted layer has some crispness on the top layer. Preparing them with different herbs and sausage will make them even tastier.
Factors Affecting The Taste Of The Lamb
This special meat-type will not taste the same every time you eat it. It is firm with a tender texture, intense flavor, and high-fat content.
Lamb meat’s taste and flavor are influenced by the following factors.
Country of Origin
Lambs are raised differently in some parts of the world. Lambs fed on grass or grain have a different meat taste.
Domestic and imported lambs have different flavors because of how they were raised and their diet.
For instance, New Zealand lambs are purely pasture-fed that bring out the branch-chained fatty acids and a strong flavor.
American lambs are given grains for approximately 30 days, therefore, the meat does not have an intense flavor.
Lamb meat can be cooked with varied cooking styles. Therefore, the cooking method and recipe alter the taste and flavor to some extent.
Grilled lamb meat will taste different than the meat cooked in a pan or oven.
Added ingredients like herbs, spices, and sausages affect the flavor and may lessen the gaminess. With different preparations and seasonings, the meat will taste either stronger or milder.
Different herbs used to prepare lamb are basil, sage, chopped oregano, mint herbs and spices, onion powder, garlic powder, and others.
Best Tasting Lamb Breed
Though all lamb breeds taste good, Suffolk wins the race for best tasting breed. All breeds taste slightly different from each other depending on different factors. Suffolk lambs not only grow quickly but their meat has a good taste, flavor, and rich texture.
Vegan Alternative to Lamb
If you are a vegetarian and want to know what lamb tastes like, try Tempeh, one of the popular meat alternatives available on the market.
Buy it in a large chunk and make stews, kebabs, wraps, or vegan lamb roasts. If not Tempeh, try Seitan. It is made out of gluten and has a high protein percentage.
It is not only flavorful but a healthier alternative to different meat types. Reared in several countries, the taste of the lamb varies from place to place. It often takes a few attempts to cook it properly. The meat tastes so good when well-seasoned and properly cooked.