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Old 08-25-2014, 08:27 AM   #1
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Lamb cuts

I have been talking with a local farmer about buying a side of grass-fed lamb. Wondering what cuts I should request and what I should request when the animal is slaughtered (organ meats, fat, ????). Meaning those things that if the animal is slaughtered and the things are not requested, they are not available. Anyone out there who orders a side of lamb on a regular basis? Lessons learned?
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:43 PM   #2
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I order a side of lamb at least once a year. Actually I usually order a side in the spring and a quarter in the fall.

The one thing that consistently surprises me is that the rack (or loin chops cut from the rack) is NOT automatically included in most orders. Given that it's my favorite cut and IS PART OF THE LAMB, I've gone toe-to-toe with some suppliers to argue that if I'm buying half a lamb, I should get ALL the cuts that go with that half.

The argument I get in return is that they are selling me a "package" of lamb and that the rack is a premium cut they can sell separately. So I usually have to negotiate a higher price to have it included.

Things might be different in Canada, but in our capitalist culture down here, half an animal isn't always really half.
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Old 08-25-2014, 02:49 PM   #3
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In fairness you should get 'Half a lamb ' in it's entirety bar the head MAYBE??. That means that you take the best, the good and less good at an average price. Some cuts are for stewing, some for grilling, and some, like the leg for roasting. Then you have some liver, kidney and heart ( offal ) delicious!!. If your supplier has a problem with this then I would decline and find one that IS fair but that's just me
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:35 PM   #4
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Personally, I think you should even get the head, or half head, as the case may be.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:40 PM   #5
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Does a lamb have leaf lard?
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:56 PM   #6
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Yes. Lamb has kidney fat. I've never used it myself. I can tell you that lamb fat, in general, can have kind of a gamey flavor depending on the age of the animal (younger animals, not so much). But perhaps the gaminess doesn't carry over into the kidney fat.
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:46 PM   #7
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Yes Steve, you are right of course. I was cutting the supplier a bit of slack but the head makes terrific soup or pressed meat as you will know so I would actually want the half head!!
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
I have been talking with a local farmer about buying a side of grass-fed lamb. Wondering what cuts I should request and what I should request when the animal is slaughtered (organ meats, fat, ????). Meaning those things that if the animal is slaughtered and the things are not requested, they are not available. Anyone out there who orders a side of lamb on a regular basis? Lessons learned?
It rather depends on what you like to cook and eat.

In my experience you have to specifically ask for the offal (liver, kidneys, etc.). In the unlikely event that you want the head you'd have to ask for that too. (Well, some people like it for the dog - smells vile when it's being boiled!)

When we've had 1/2 lambs there's usually been chops, legs (cut into the shank and the top part of the leg if preferred), shoulders (also cut into two parts if you wish) breast of lamb(either as individual cutlets or as crown roast or "guard of honour") and also neck for stewing if you want it. If you want the saddle whole for a large party you'd have to tell the seller. You may need to specify if you want anything "french trimmed" or boned out and rolled or not. Those cuts possibly aren't the same as yours but you get the idea.

Salutary tale to bear in mind - a friend of mine when she first moved to Wales ordered a lamb for the freezer from a local farmer. She didn't think to discuss butchering because this had been automatic where she had previously lived. Yes, you've got it. The lamb arrived in one piece! Fortunately I was able to send her on a 50 mile trip to Anglesey where my cousin, the retired butcher, cut it up for her! The moral of this story is "never assume" :-D
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:18 PM   #9
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I've seen whole and half lambs in the meat display at my local Greek grocery store around Easter.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:35 PM   #10
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We buy 4H lambs and get pretty basic cuts. We get leg roasts, chops, shoulder roasts and the shanks. The rest is ground, although last year I also got something called riblets. (Still haven't decided what to do with those...) I have the legs boned and tied...saves freezer space.

Your butcher will ask for cutting instructions and will have a list that gives your choices of cuts. We've used several butchers and they all cut meat differently.

This year's lamb is at the butcher now...yum.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:52 PM   #11
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When we lived in South Texas, we purchased a heifer for $2 when a rancher was culling his herd. When it was about eight months old we called the slaughter truck to butcher it along with the pig we bought in the same manner. The agreement was he could have the feet, heart, liver, kidneys and the whole head. But we wanted the rest to be cut as if it was for your local large grocery store. And each piece was to be wrapped and labeled for the freezer. He also cleaned and used the intestine to make sausages. What was left over was his. We also made a similar deal with the heifer. Because we offered before he even mentioned it, he felt we were being more than generous and only charged us a minimal sum of cash. He was able to sell all those other parts we gave him. And our freezer was full for most of the year.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
I order a side of lamb at least once a year. Actually I usually order a side in the spring and a quarter in the fall.

The one thing that consistently surprises me is that the rack (or loin chops cut from the rack) is NOT automatically included in most orders. Given that it's my favorite cut and IS PART OF THE LAMB, I've gone toe-to-toe with some suppliers to argue that if I'm buying half a lamb, I should get ALL the cuts that go with that half.

The argument I get in return is that they are selling me a "package" of lamb and that the rack is a premium cut they can sell separately. So I usually have to negotiate a higher price to have it included.

Things might be different in Canada, but in our capitalist culture down here, half an animal isn't always really half.


That would totally tick me off big time, Steve. I have no source to buy a whole lamb, but if I did, it dang well better include loin chops. The ones I get at Costco are nearly priceless..

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Old 08-26-2014, 02:18 PM   #13
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I have the option to pick up the side fresh, uncut, or cut and wrapped, fresh or frozen. Trimmings ground/unground, and all the bits and bobs. I am thinking since I haven't cut meat since when I would help butcher deer, I should probably get it cut and wrapped, no ground lamb--just the trimmings to do with as I like. So, what cuts? I have only ordered sides of beef and pork, never lamb. Not sure what cuts to request. I know I want the neck so I can try Andy's (?) lamb neck stew recipe.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:20 PM   #14
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In fairness you should get 'Half a lamb ' in it's entirety bar the head MAYBE??. That means that you take the best, the good and less good at an average price. Some cuts are for stewing, some for grilling, and some, like the leg for roasting. Then you have some liver, kidney and heart ( offal ) delicious!!. If your supplier has a problem with this then I would decline and find one that IS fair but that's just me
I know that one gets all the different cuts--got those with beef and pork, but just don't know lamb cuts as well as I know beef and pork. I assume lamb has a tenderloin and if you want that, no what--the equivalent of t-bone steaks/chops?
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:28 PM   #15
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I know that one gets all the different cuts--got those with beef and pork, but just don't know lamb cuts as well as I know beef and pork. I assume lamb has a tenderloin and if you want that, no what--the equivalent of t-bone steaks/chops?
Whatcha gonna do with one lamb tenderloin? Aren't they awfully small?
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:30 PM   #16
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One of these charts should help you....

https://www.google.com/search?q=lamb...iw=768&bih=479
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:39 AM   #17
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Getting the 45 lb of lamb tomorrow. I ordered some of it cut and some not. I am getting the tongue, heart, kidneys, liver, leaf lard, cheek, and all the other bits and bobs. I passed on the head, but am getting the neck bones so I can make that stew--I think it is Andy's recipe. Move over Conrad, you have to share the freezer.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:14 PM   #18
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Personally, I think you should even get the head, or half head, as the case may be.
And now, what do I do with it? When I asked for the cheeks and tongue, I wasn't expecting they'd still be attached. The last time I did anything with a sheep's eye was in 10th grade biology class. Suggestions?
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:36 PM   #19
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I've never cooked lamb's tongue myself. But leave it to YouTube to have a video.

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Old 10-01-2014, 04:20 PM   #20
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I've never cooked lamb's tongue myself. But leave it to YouTube to have a video.

Tongue's not the problem--what do I do with the head (other than park it in my downstairs fridge in the meantime?
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