Elkhorn Meat Solutions
Lamb refers to young male and female sheep. They are harvested at approximately six months of age. The lamb carcass dressed weight is usually between 50 and 60 lbs. Because it is young, lamb is very tender, promoting dry heat cooking for most of the animal. Due to the high price per pound and small carcass size, lamb is most often marketed with the bone in. Sheep over the age of 12 months are referred to as mutton. Mutton has a much stronger flavor and is less tender than lamb.
The lamb carcass is broken into four primals: front, leg, loin, and flank. The lamb front is then broken into four sub-primals: the shoulder, neck, fore shank, and breast. The lamb leg can be left whole or split into leg, shank, and butt portion. The loin consists of two parts: the rib and loin.
The Shoulder- Can be left whole, made in to roasts, made into chops, or ground. Chops received will be arm or blade. The thickness is preferred around 1” thick.
The shoulder primal cut includes the neck, upper front leg, shoulder blade, and ribs one through five. Though tough from usage, the shoulder cut is very flavorful and cooks well using moist heat. Some subprimal cuts of lamb that are sourced from the shoulder include neck slices, stew meat, ground lamb, blade roast, blade chop/roast, arm chop/roast, kebab meat, and Saratoga roll.
The Loin- Commonly known for the chops; bone-in or boneless roasts can also be made. The thickness is recommended around 1 ½”.
The loin is cut from the back of the lamb, from the thirteenth ribs to the hip, and contains the most expensive, tender, and highly prized meat. It is recommended to serve cuts from the loin medium rare or medium, as the meat is fairly lean and prone to drying out if not cooked with care. Cuts of meat that come from the loin include loin roast, loin eye roast, saddle of lamb, loin chop, medallions, tenderloin, and flank.
Flank steak is one of the "flat" steaks and is a versatile and flavorful cut of beef. The flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles or lower chest of the cow. It is often the cut used in London broil, Mexican fajitas, and Chinese stir-fried beef. In order to cook it right (think grill) to get the best results.