Looking to impress your guests? Look no further than lamb. It’s the perfect dinner entrée for spring. And know this: All lamb in our Meat department is Animal Welfare Certified and meets our farm animal and meat standards including no antibiotics, ever, no added growth hormones and no animal by-products in feed. We also know where our lamb was raised — and we have strong relationships with our farmers and ranchers.
First Things First: What Part of Lamb Should I Buy?
Good question! Your butcher can help you pick the best cut, but here’s a quick guide to help get you started with your selection.
Leg of Lamb
Tender and iconic, leg of lamb can be purchased in several iterations, from the full leg to the shank (or lower) end or the sirloin end. Bone-in leg of lamb will take longer to cook but won’t need to be tied with twine like a semi-boneless leg of lamb (which your butcher will do for you at our stores). A whole leg (usually about 6–8 pounds) should feed at least eight people.
Rack of Lamb
The lamb rib rack is an impressive cut that grills beautifully but can also be crusted with herbs and roasted. Frenching the rack (or removing the layer of fat and meat around the rib bones) ups the ante — ask your butcher for help.
Crown Roast of Lamb
If you're looking to go all-out, this is your cut. This gorgeous, regal roast is made from multiple racks of lamb and carefully prepared by our skilled butchers.
Tender rib chops are cut from the rack and the long rib bone, providing a delicate effect on the plate. Sirloin chops are tiny T-bone steaks with a generous ratio of meat-to-bone. Wallet-friendly shoulder chops have a toothsome texture that’s great for braising.
Also called a square-cut shoulder, this cut is great for low and slow roasting, butterflying or for cubing into stew meat.
Lamb shanks are stars of the braising world. Cook them low and slow to develop a velvety texture.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Lamb?
Important: Lamb roasts and steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. For ground lamb, aim for 160°F or until fully cooked.
Slow Cooking (leg, shank, shoulder roasts, stew meat)
Tougher cuts of lamb render fork-tender stews and braises, but remember to sear meat before starting the slow cooking process to build flavor. A leg of lamb can be deboned, stuffed and rolled for a more nuanced roast. Slice roasted lamb for memorable next-day sandwiches and salads.
Quick Cooking (chops, rack, ground lamb)
Lamb’s rich flavor marries well with the smokiness produced by cooking over an open fire. If grilling a whole lamb rack, cap the cleaned rib bones in aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Smaller cuts like rib chops and sliced roast cuts can be fully cooked on the stove top.
Help — I Need Lamb Recipes!
Take advantage of lamb’s versatility and wake up your spring table with some of our favorite lamb preparations. Try these recipes:
Leg of Lamb with Mint Salsa Verde
This stunning leg of lamb recipe is perfect for a special occasion. Don't skip the homemade salsa verde sauce, which adds an herby, citrusy punch of flavor. You can also make the mint sauce up to a day ahead of time if needed.
Lamb Chops with Red Wine–Glazed Spring Vegetables
This elegant but easy main course combines succulent lamb chops with vibrant spring vegetables. Sear the chops over medium–high heat until golden brown and cooked to your desired amount of doneness.
Get the recipe: Lamb Chops with Red Wine-Glazed Spring Vegetables
Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables
This comforting lamb stew comes together easily and can be made ahead for a busy weeknight. For the meat, we recommend using a boneless lamb shoulder since it becomes fall-apart tender the longer it cooks.
More delicious lamb ideas:
Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Kabobs: Tenderize 1-inch cubes of lamb with an overnight marinade of whole milk yogurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice and mint. Yogurt will keep the lamb juicy and ready for a smoky grill or a hot grill pan indoors — just remove excess marinade before skewering with scallion pieces and cubed zucchini — and serve with a squeeze of lemon, flaky salt and black pepper.
Fragrant Garlic and Herb Chops: Fresh herbs — mint, thyme and basil — can work to flavor the lamb before cooking or join in later in a side dish. Turn these into a seasoning paste using garlic, lemon juice and paprika for lamb shoulder chops bound for the grill. Serve with a feta chopped salad and herb vinaigrette.
Za’atar-Rubbed Leg of Lamb: Use the tip of a sharp paring knife to make 1-inch deep slits all over a leg of lamb and stuff each with a piece of fresh rosemary and ½ clove of garlic. Rub with olive oil or melted butter and za’atar — a Mediterranean blend of sumac, thyme, sesame and salt — and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
What Do I Serve With Lamb?
Lamb has a rich, meaty flavor, so you want the right sides to balance out your meal. Any of these recipes would make perfect pairings:
Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes
A potato or sweet potato dish is a must with any cut of lamb. These mashed sweet potatoes are sweetened with brown rice syrup, which is subtle in its level of sweetness and mashed with orange juice and zest.
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Don’t forget something green! A perfect addition to any spring celebration, this baby spinach salad is dressed in light vinaigrette and tossed with fresh strawberries.
A classic side dish for lamb, showcase bright green asparagus spears by grilling or roasting them whole.
Berry Chantilly Cake
For something sweet, keep things easy and pick up a Berry Chantilly Cake from our Bakery. With layers of delicate vanilla cake, fluffy Chantilly cream frosting and fresh berries, this is the ultimate cake for any occasion.