Our favorite way to cook most cuts of lamb is on the grill. Lamb’s essential earthiness stands up to the smoke and char, yet its fat protects the meat. It’s quick and versatile, too. You really don’t need more than olive oil, salt and pepper, but if you want to play with spice rubs, leg of lamb makes a great canvas. Do keep in mind that lamb is a fatty meat, so beware of flare-ups: always watch your meat closely, and move it to the top rack if you feel that it is getting done too fast or runs the risk of burning.
Here’s how to cook most of the cuts you will find in our vending machines. If you don’t what you’re looking for, we’re happy to help you out with your custom order.
Lamb stew meat is best used for…lamb stew. There are many ways to make a lamb stew. The basics are to season and brown the meat in a hot heavy pot (cast iron is great), then to add your preferred liquid and various vegetables, then let it cook long and slow. There are endless recipes for lamb stew and the difference is usually in the seasonings and the pairings. It’s easy to perfect one recipe and have it be your go-to, but we’re fans of trying something new every once in a while, like this lamb stew with okra, cinnamon, and allspice. If you’re more of a kebab fan than a stew person, you can always grill boneless lamb stew on a skewer. For a deeper flavor, try using bone-in lamb stew.
We cut our leg of lamb two ways – bone in (without a shank unless you request it special order) or deboned and butterflied. Either way you can’t go wrong. For either you’re going to want to give the meat a good rub with olive oil, salt, and herbs (lamb goes particularly well with rosemary), then place it in the oven. We like to broil each side, remove the leg from the oven, turn the heat down (to 325), and then cook until it’s done. Keep in mind that leg of lamb also does very well on the grill at any time of the year.
Have we mentioned yet that Jessica Applestone’s favorite meat is lamb? Well it is. And if you get invited to Applestone house for dinner, especially with any frequency, chances are you will have her quick and easy lamb meatballs at some point. If you’re lucky. But ground lamb can be used for plenty of other dishes besides meatballs: burgers (have you tried Mark Bittman’s inside out lamb cheeseburgers yet?), meatloaves, hand pies, sauces, and more. It’s a multitasking grind.
We cut a bunch of lamb chops. We have loin chops, which are palm-sized and cut from the loin of the lamb. Their fat cap means they’re very flavorful. We also have rib chops which are individually frenched – and also palm sized. They’re the sort of thing you want to eat a lot of. The correct way to cook both lamb and loin chops is simple: first, pre-heat your oven. Then rub the chops with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sear them for two minutes per side in a hot skillet on your stovetop. Lower your oven to 120 degrees, transfer the skillet to the oven, and let sit for 4 to 8 minutes. We also cut shoulder chops which are bigger than loin or rib chops. They’re also fattier which means we love them on the grill. Starting the cooking process with high heat will get their fat going and give you some caramelization. Our last chop, the roundbone chop, is also our fattiest, juiciest, most flavorful chop. It’s cut from the shoulder. We love them because they look like a cartoon drawing of a piece of meat. They deserve more attention. They’re great on the grill and are especially good with a little char on them. You can simply season them, or you can marinate them. Remember to use indirect heat with fatty meat and flare-ups should not be an issue. Thick roundbone chops are also great in a stew.
We’re not sure why lamb shanks get as overlooked as they do considering how delicious they are. You can slowly braise them whole or slow cook a cross-cut shank – like osso buco. When ordering lamb shanks, always note which way you want them cut. If you’re not familiar with cooking lamb shanks, head over to the New York Times and do a little reading. The writer David Tanis is a big fan and has wonderful things to say about shanks, what to pair them with, how to lighten them up seasonally, and even why he likes them boiled. His Persian-spiced lamb shanks are a crowd pleaser – even if that crowd is just you, a treat for one.
It’s funny how there are so many chops when it comes to lamb and so many steaks when it comes to beef. Josh Applestone just refers to chops as “a thick or thicker slice aka steak aka piece of flesh usually with a bone unless we state boneless.” Our lamb sirloin steak is no chop. We like to cut beautiful steaks from the lamb sirloin. They make for quicker prep and cook time than a traditional lamb sirloin roast, which means you can easily have some lamb sirloin on a weeknight. We’ve already gone on record as saying we love lamb with rosemary, and here’s no exception. Try also garlic and lemon. They all enhance the natural flavor of lamb. To cook a lamb sirloin, try our basic stovetop to oven recipe: preheat your oven to 300, sear the meat for two minutes per side in a hot cast iron skillet on your stovetop. Lower the heat a little to 120 degrees and transfer the skillet to the oven for 4 to 8 minutes, depending on how rare you like your lamb sirloin steak.
A whole rack of lamb, which contains 8 frenched ribs, is a celebration. It goes well with birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, or any reason to splurge. It may seem like a tricky thing to cook but any home cook can. You preheat the oven to 450. You rub the rack with olive oil and salt – plus any herbs you might want. Then you roast and turn – for 15 minutes and then again for 10 minutes. You remove the rack from the oven and let it stand for another 10 minutes. And that’s it. To serve, you slice between the ribs. Need some help? Watch Martha Stewart rock a rack of lamb here. Want less? Order a half rack of lamb.