Page 11 - April 2021 Barbecue News Digital
P. 11

bbq lamb
 If I were placed midway between a perfectly cooked lamb ribeye and a perfectly cooked beef rib- eye, I would starve to death trying to decide which to eat. If you love red meat and don’t love lamb, then you’ve never had it cooked properly. I’m talking to you, steak lover who was turned off lamb as a child because it was really mut- ton and cooked to death and served with mint jelly. Well, I am here to conduct a culinary con- version.
Lamb Is The Other Red Meat
If pork is the other white meat,
lamb is the other red meat. Myo-
globin is the protein in meat that makes it appear red. On average, pork has about 2 milligrams of myoglobin per gram of meat, according to the meat scientists at Texas A&M University's Department of Animal Science. That gives pork a deep pink color, while chicken breast is only light pink because it has about 0.5 grams of myoglobin per gram of meat. But lamb has about 6 milligrams myoglobin per gram of meat, three times that of pork and closer to beef, which has about 8 mg/g.
Look at the meat in the photo above. It is red and succu- lent, and I can attest that it tastes absolutely delicious. A rack of lamb (shown in the photo sliced) is essentially the same thing as a beef prime rib roast: the muscle attached to the back ribs (longissimus dorsi). But on a lamb it is smaller and more tender. I encourage you to try a full 8- bone rack of lamb, but keep in mind: It's only enough meat to feed two hungry people. I’ll bet you could eat a whole lamb rack all by yourself if you’d just try it.
Now look at the meat in this photo. Looks like mini porter- house steaks, right? That's exactly what they are. Lamb loin chops come from the same part of the animal with a T- bone separating the strip steak on one side and the filet
mignon on the other. Cooked properly, they are tender, red, and full of flavor. But lamb chops are a lot smaller than beef porter- houses and are typically only 1 inch thick, no bigger than a child’s fist, about 6 ounces or less including the bone. Most folks eat 2 to 4.
And then there's a whole leg o' lamb. Like the ham on a pig, a leg of lamb is thick at the hip end and tapers to the ankle end. A typical American lamb leg weighs 8 to 10 pounds and yields enough meat to feed eight or more people. It’s a complex bundle of muscles with layers of fat and connective tissue
throughout. This mass of meat is an impressive sight and is certain to get your guests salivating. It's perfect for a holi- day meal like Easter or Passover.
Don't Stress: Put A Leg Up And Enjoy It
When I need a springtime meal to feed a crowd, I often throw a whole leg of lamb on the grill. There are three ways to prepare it: bone-in, boneless, or butterflied. Or, you could cut the meat into cubes for grilling up some spiedies, a specialty of Central New York.
Bone-in. With a bone-in leg (see photo above), the thick end can be cooked to a perfect medium-rare, while the nar- row end will be closer to well-done. There’s always some- one who doesn’t like red or pink meat, so this may suit your guests. If you are going to cook a bone-in leg, have your butcher remove the shank. The bone is hard to cut through at home, but it can be done with a shiny new hacksaw blade. The shank is what tapers down to the ankle; it is tough, laden with leathery tendons, and always cooks well- done because it is so narrow. Save a few in the freezer and use them to make stew.
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