Thursday, September 6, 2007

See also Lamb (disambiguation)
The terms lamb, hoggett or mutton are culinary names for the meat of a domestic sheep. The meat of a sheep a year old or younger is generally known as lamb, whereas the meat of an older sheep is either hoggett or mutton depending on its age and characteristics. All of these are known generically as sheepmeats.
The meat of a lamb is taken from the animal between one month and one year old, with a carcass weight of between 5.5 and 30 kilograms. This meat generally is more tender than that from older sheep and appears more often on tables in some Western countries, most often on Easter (as a commemoration of the Last Supper). Hoggett and mutton can taste more flavorful than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids; some prefer the stronger flavour of older animals [1]. Hoggett and mutton also tend to be tougher than lamb (because of connective tissue maturation) and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking.
Meat from sheep features prominently in cuisines of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and certain parts of China because other red meats are eschewed for religious or economic reasons. Barbecued mutton is also a speciality in some areas of the United States.

Lamb (food) Nomenclature
Lamb is often sorted into three kinds of meat: forequarter, loin, and hindquarter. The forequarter includes the neck, shoulder, front legs, and the ribs up to the shoulder blade. The hindquarter includes the rear legs and hip. The loin includes the ribs between the two.
Lamb chops are cut from the rib, loin, and shoulder areas. The rib chops include a rib bone; the loin chops include only a chine bone. Shoulder chops are usually considered inferior to loin chops; both kinds of chop are usually grilled. Breast of lamb (baby chops) can be cooked in an oven.
Leg of lamb is a whole leg; saddle of lamb is the two loins with the hip. Leg and saddle are usually roasted, though the leg is sometimes boiled. Roasted leg and saddle may be served anywhere from rare to well-done.
Forequarter lamb meat includes considerable connective tissue and is best when cooked slowly using either a moist method such as braising or stewing or by slow roasting or American barbecuing. It is, in some countries, often sold pre-chopped or diced.

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