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Given the options, would you choose a new or old item? Be it a car, a house, or some jewelry? For most people, this is the notion behind why they would rather eat lamb and not sheep.
Since a sheep is the older version of the lamb, and a lamb the newer version of the sheep, the new just does it!
A lamb offers tender meat mainly because it is younger. The tender the meat the more remarkable options of preparing it are available. Sheep meat needs to be tenderized by long cooking methods which in turn limits the ways of preparing and serving it.
What is the Difference between Lamb and Sheep?
The difference between lamb and sheep is simply an age factor. A lamb is the young one of a sheep before it reaches one year of age. Sheep refers to the ruminant mammal after it hits the one year mark.
What is Lamb Meat Called?
Meat obtained from the lamb is known as a lamb. Huh? Yeah, you get lamb from a lamb. Lamb meat is obtained from lambs (a sheep) below the age of one year.
What is the Sheep Meat Called?
When a sheep that is older than one year of age is slaughtered, you get mutton. The key difference between lamb and mutton is solely the age of the animal when it is slaughtered. For you to learn more about the differences between sheep and lambs click here to get a more in-depth explanation.
Why do People Eat Lamb and Not Sheep?
When you think of eating sheep meat, you are faced with two alternatives. Will it be mutton or lamb? The two are different. And for some people, it just has to be lamb. Especially the lamb chops.
The meat from a lamb is tenderer as compared to the meat obtained from an adult sheep. On the other hand, mutton has more flavor. For most people that enjoy eating whole cuts like roasts and chops, lamb does the trick. It is mainly because of the tenderness of meat obtained from lambs. For some, it is just a family tradition. What they ate and cooked from a young age.
When all you need is one nice meal for your family, a small roasting lamb will be perfect. Mutton will serve you if you are seeking more flavor and more pounds of cooked meat. Like when you are roasting a whole animal for a party. An older sheep will do just right. Just because it is bigger, meeting the quantity needs.
Eating lamb provides you with an opportunity to choose from various options available. Milk-fed lamb is meat obtained from an un-weaned lamb mostly between the age of 4 and 6 weeks weighing about 13 to 18 pounds. It is not commonly available in some countries.
The flavor and texture of milk-fed lamb are considered to be finer than that of older lamb especially when grilled or roasted. Such lamb goes for higher prices particularly during Easter in some countries when they are roasted on a spit.
A young lamb is a milk-fed lamb that is between the age of six and eight weeks. Spring lambs are milk-fed mostly aged between 3 to 5 months. They are born in early spring or late winter and most likely sold before July.
Sucker lambs refer to young milk-fed lambs and those that are slightly older up to about seven months of age all of which are still dependent on their mother’s milk. Meat obtained from these lambs weighs up to between 30 and 66 pounds. The older weaned lambs which have not yet matured for mutton are referred to as old-season lambs.
The little amount of fat on a lamb makes it the go-to meat choice for some eaters.
In most Western countries, lamb is preferred due to its mild flavor. Milk-fed lamb is considered to be especially delicate in flavor. Spring lamb is extremely tender but also has a milder flavor as compared to other lamb varieties.
More to its tenderness, lamb offers the most delicate taste. This is a major preference for some meat-eaters. As such, this gains lamb a higher following as compared to mutton which has a stronger and more defined flavor. Lamb is much easier to find in regular markets and is more expensive.
Generally, lamb is often sorted into three kinds of meat: the forequarter, the loin, and the hindquarter. The forequarter includes the neck, shoulders, front legs, and the ribs up to the shoulder blade. The hindquarter includes the rear hips and legs with the loin including the ribs between the two quarters.
The common cuts obtained from lamb meat include shoulder roast, rack, loin chops, and the leg of a lamb. Lamb chops are cut from the rib, loin and shoulder areas. The rib chops include a rib bone whereas the loin chops include a chine bone only. Loin chops are mostly considered superior to shoulder chops. Both the shoulder and loin chops are mostly grilled. The baby chops obtained from the breast of the lamb can be cooked in an oven.
The leg of a lamb refers to the whole leg and the saddle of lamb refers to the two loins with the hip. The leg and saddle are usually roasted though the leg is at times boiled. Whereas sheep need to be cooked using slow-cooking methods, lamb provides you with numerous alternatives such as grilling or braising it or even having it roasted.
Grilling commonly known as barbecuing over hot coals is great for lamb chops and burgers. Most lamb associations recommend that you dry brine and salt the meat for about 40 minutes before you cook it. This greatly helps break down the proteins.
Braising is where the meat is browned in fat after which it is cooked slowly in a covered pan with a little amount of liquid. You can braise your lamb in the oven or the stovetop. This method serves best for the tougher cuts such as the shoulders.
Roasting in the dry heat of an oven is best suited for more tender cuts such as the leg or the rack. From cooking the meat uncovered, brown outside and a moist interior is produced. Thanks to the tenderness of lamb, all these great delicacies are availed to you. The toughness of mutton demands slower cooking methods like stewing. Such methods are necessary to help in tenderizing the meat and bring out the flavor. No wonder most people would rather enjoy the tender meat obtained from lambs and the amazing ways in which they get to prepare it.
As a general rule, lamb is among the tender meat options you have. It means that most cuts obtained from the lamb can be cooked using dry heat even when the same would not successfully apply to a corresponding cut of pork or beef. The shoulder is an example of such a cut that does the trick once you obtain from a lamb and not a sheep or any other animal.
The lamb shoulder is in most cases roasted. It is boned and rolled on dry heat and it could also be stuffed. The lamb shoulder may at times be cut into chops though these may not impress you as your usual loin or rib chops. Lamb shoulder can also be cooked with moist heat as done in braising.
For most lamb lovers, the hotel rack will not have them settle for any other meat option. Not even for the sheep, though it is the lamb’s mother. Huh?
The hotel rack refers to the lamb rib primal cut. This is where we get some of the lamb’s most impressive and desirable cuts: the lamb rib chops, rack of lamb, and the lamb crown roast.
Imagine being presented with a rack of lamb whose legs have been perfectly frenched. That means all the fat and sinew has been trimmed away. Picture the row of chops in the rack with such an exceptional top crust. The crust brings in a sensational mix and taste of aromatic herbs, olive oil, garlic, crushed pistachios, and your favorite spice flavoring. Depending on your preference for the size of the ribs, you could even get some lamb chops that comprise of two ribs.
When buying lamb, it is possible to look for one that has been solely fed on grass. A good butcher can give you that and advise for you unusual cuts which will most likely be cheaper. You also get some tips on how to cook the lamb cuts.
Is Eating Lamb Healthy For You?
Choosing to eat lamb is a great choice for your health. Lamb is a very healthy meat. Similarly, as with most ruminants like cattle and sheep, lambs give you a wonderful meat choice. Imagine eating meat from an animal that has been raised on grass feed alone.
Lambs do not necessarily need to feed on grain or to be contained. Nutrients from the soil, some solar energy, and water are all lambs need. That with a few clicks on the salt block now and then, and the lamb is ready.
Lambs are among the most healthy meat options. They are raised in the best way when it comes to all livestock. They are raised in that very way you would want your meat source to be treated and raised. Their conditions range from plenty of space, natural food sources, and lots of fresh air.
Lambs do not react well to stress. No wonder they are not great candidates for a confined and congested system. Other meat animals can handle the stress of tight spaces. They are therefore packed into the confinement barns. Such animals exhibit good responses to medications and genetic modifications.
Lambs do not work like broilers. They do not just grow fast enough not to be around for long. Sheep do not work this way. Stress is a huge problem that affects the growth and performance of lambs. As such, they are not crammed into a building to just reach the market weight. Nor are they fed on unhealthy fast foods to quicken their maturity. Their great overall health means that they also do not have much if any interactions with medications.
The nature of a lamb demands that it is treated well. The smooth healthy growth translates into a good healthy meal for you and your family. You are therefore assured of the source of your food. Unlike chicken supplies that have been associated with tampered use-by dates, lambs are healthy and safe for your consumption.
With meat lamb, you have the option of buying from smaller producers. Some of the culture eating habits that revolve around lamb value freshness a great deal. Different values and resources as attached to food storage will save you the uncertainty. Such aspects include the value attached to the freshness of the meat against the available refrigeration.
For some in the lamb business, good practice involves providing fresh meat with no long periods of refrigeration and absolutely no freezing. It, therefore, means the consideration made to the number and size of lambs availed are matched with the demand. The lambs are slaughtered and used right away. As such eating lamb grows popularity as the safest and healthiest meat alternative.
You have an option to get meat from your local butcher. They take their time to do things right and you can always closely follow up on the process of obtaining, storing and supplying the meat.
The risk of contamination of the meat is significantly lower in a smaller slaughterhouse as compared to a mega slaughterhouse. The mega slaughtering plants kill and process numerous animals each day.
As such, their greatest concern is speed and not carefulness. Eating lamb is healthy.
To keep it this way and avoid contamination, buy from a local slaughterhouse. It is safer and will give you a better experience as a consumer.