Making the Grade: Like beef, in the United States, lamb is graded. But, it is important to note that grading is voluntary, so the lamb you see may or may not have a grade. If it has a grade, Prime is the best, followed by Choice, and then Select.
Buying lamb can be intimidating since it’s not something that most people in the United States buy all the time. Here are some tips to take the pressure off you. Once purchased, try our recipe for Rotisserie Roasted Red Wine and Herb Leg of Lamb.
Tips for Purchasing a Leg of Lamb
Home-Grown or Down Under: The two primary options for grocery store shoppers are either New Zealand/Australian lamb or domestic. Lamb from New Zealand is typically grass fed. Domestic lamb is grain fed and usually larger in size. If you prefer the edgy taste of lamb, go for the New Zealand lamb. If you prefer it tamer and less gamey, go for domestic.
How Does It Look?: If your lamb is not graded, that’s okay. Look for light red meat. The fat should be firm and white. It’s okay to see red “blood” in bones, that means it’s a younger animal as this disappears from the marrow in older animals.
A Bone to Pick: Leg of lamb can be found with the bone in, semi-boneless, or boneless. If roasting, you want to look for a boneless leg of lamb. These often come in an elastic net to hold the shape of the roast.
How much do my guests need?: Allow about 1/2 pound, pre-cooked weight, per guest. We recommend doing multiple smaller roasts to accommodate quantities rather than one big one. Smaller ones are usually more tender and cook quicker.