Terms and Definitions Prepared to Answer the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Lamb
BABY LAMB - animals produced all year-round by controlled breeding are marketed at 6-10 weeks old before weaning. Don't confuse
with small foreign carcasses that are frequently older.
BLOCK READY - lamb closely trimmed to retail specifications, the product may require cutting into portions prior to traying and
over-wrapping by retailer.
BONED, ROLLED AND TIED (BRT) - a leg or shoulder that is completely boned, internal fat removed and excessive outer fat trimmed
off. Properly rolled, will be cylindrical in shape and ideal for a rotisserie or as an oven roast.
BOTTOM ROAST - lamb leg, bottom roast, boneless. Some suppliers refer to as I.O. leg.
BUTTERFLIED LEG OF LAMB - a leg, completely boned, and removed of all excess fat for broiling or outdoor cooking. When
spread flat on the cooking surface, it resembles a butterfly. This provides a natural range of "doneness," the thickest portion
being rare, the middle medium, and the thinnest portions well done.
CARCASS WEIGHT - the weight of the animal after it has been dressed. It represents approximately 50% of the live weight.
The average weight of an American lamb is 50 to 65 pounds.
CASE READY - cuts are portioned and trimmed to foodservice specifications, so that the chef only needs to season, cook and serve.
CROWN ROAST - made by curving around two rib halves, 8 ribs each (racks), and tying them to resemble a crown. French ends of
DENVER RIBS - lamb sparerib that is cut from the breast and
trimmed of all fat and connective tissue.
FELL - the thin parchment-like membrane (tissue or skin) that covers lamb. Remove fell on all cuts.
FOREQUARTER - consists of shoulder, shoulder chops, rack (rib chops), riblets or spareribs, neck, shank and ground.
FRENCHING - remove 1-1/2 inches of meat from the bone ends of a rib roast or rib chops.
FRENCH SEARING METHOD - preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for 15 to 20 minutes to brown, then reduce heat to
325 degrees Fahrenheit and continue roasting to desired degree of internal doneness. The searing method, when properly used,
produces an excellent roast, but it does result in more shrinkage, oven splattering, and sometimes smoke and excessive cooking
GAS-FLUSHED - the process of removing air from a food package and replacing it with another gas in order to prevent spoilage
or deterioration in flavor.
GENUINE LAMB/LAMB/SPRING LAMB - meat labeled "genuine" lamb or simply "lamb" comes from an animal less than 1 year old. This
is specified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation. Spring lamb identifies lamb processed between the first Monday
in March through the first Monday in October. Years ago, lamb production peaked in spring and at other times, consumers may
have been limited to frozen lamb. Now, spread over 12 months, the "spring lamb" identity has lost its importance.
GLANDS - the prescapular gland is in the shoulder and the popliteal gland is in the leg. They do not cause a strong flavor
or odor and do not need to be removed.
GRADE & YIELD - U.S. Department of Agriculture name that indicates quality yield of meat. Maturity, color, firmness
and texture of the lean are evaluated in terms of their relationship to the ultimate flavor and tenderness of the meat. Confirmation
is the term used to evaluate the carcass' general shape, form and outline. USDA lamb grades are Prime, Choice, and Good. Almost
all lamb grades Choice or Prime.
HINDQUARTER - consists of full leg or three-quarter leg plus sirloin steaks, loin chops and ground meat.
HOT HOUSE LAMB - meat from a young lamb which has been entirely milk-fed. It is known for its tenderness and delicate
flavor. Roasted whole by select ethnic groups.
INTERLACED ROAST (DOUBLE FRENCH RACK) - two or more rib sections together, joined and tied. Usually filled with stuffing
INTERNAL TEMPERATURE - lamb can be served medium-rare (150 degrees Fahrenheit) or medium (160 degrees Fahrenheit). For roasts,
remember lamb from the oven or grill 5 degrees Fahrenheit under the suggested temperature. Cover roast and allow to stand
15-20 minutes before slicing. Temperature will automatically rise to the recommended temperature. Ground lamb should be cooked
to 160 degrees Fahrenheit medium.
LAMB - see "Genuine Lamb" listing.
MUTTON - meat from an animal that is more than 2 years of age. Practically no true mutton is available in U.S. meat counters.
OVEN READY LEG - the hipbone has been removed from the leg and the leg has been netted or tied.
PRE-SLICED AND TIED SHOULDER - the square cut shoulder contains four or five ribs. Two one-inch thick round bone chops are
removed. It is then sliced (blade bone side) into three-quarter inch chops, put together and tied with two strings.
PROCESSED LAMB - lamb that has been transformed from the raw state by grinding, chopping, cooking and/or the addition
of spices and seasonings.
RACK OF LAMB (RIB ROAST) - contains rib bones, backbone, and thick, meaty rib-eye muscle. Outside fat cover is usually
SADDLE - large cut of lamb that includes the loin section. The foresaddle is the front of the lamb up to the 12th rib. The
hindsaddle is the rear half of the lamb from the 13th rib back.
SARATOGA ROLL - boneless
center roast in the blade portion of the shoulder. Also known as chuck eye.
SIRLOIN - the section between the hipbone and the back of the loin. Presented boneless and trimmed of excess fat.
SPRING LAMB - see "Genuine Lamb" listing.
TRAY READY - closely trimmed to retail specifications, product only needs to be removed from pack and retrayed.
VACUUM-PACKAGED - packaging method that involves the complete removal of air prior to hermetically sealing the package.
VARIETY (OFFAL MEATS) - other edible parts of lamb, including liver, kidney, heart, brains and tongue.
YEARLING - meat from an animal between 1 and 2 years in age. Not readily available.
YIELD GRADE - USDA grading system that identifies quality and yield of lamb. Grade indicates ultimate flavor and tenderness.
The quality grades are Prime, Choice, and Good. Yield indicates amount of sellable consumer product. These range from YG 1-5
with YG 1 being the leanest and YG 5 being the fattest.