Lamb is not as common in many Western cuisines as other meats like beef and pork. Therefore, many people native to this part of the world might not have tried it. It is usually not as accessible or affordable as beef, chicken, and other meats, and even those that have tasted it probably did so in a high-end restaurant.
If you have never tasted lamb, it may be time you did because it’s a delicious, versatile, and highly nutritious meat. You don’t have to go to a restaurant to eat lamb; you can buy some at a local grocery store or butcher and prepare it at home.
Before you decide how to prepare it, though, you’ll probably want to answer the question, “What does lamb taste like?” We’ll do our best to describe it for you.
What Is Lamb?
Sheep meat has many names depending on the age of the sheep at the time it’s butchered. The youngest sheep meat is what is known as lamb, with hogget being a much older animal. Another typical sheep cut is mutton, meat from adult sheep at their maturity peak.
The tenderness of the flesh decreases with age. That means that lamb is the most tender of the meats, making it quite unique and easy to eat for anyone. That is why those lamb chops in fancy restaurants usually cost a fortune.
However, you can easily buy whole or ground lamb at local butcheries or from local farmers and cook it yourself to save on costs and enjoy a wholesome meal of tender and delicious meat. Some people are skeptical about the taste of lamb, either because they tasted it and did not like it or have never tasted it at all.
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What does lamb taste like?” and help you decide to taste it on your own. We will also share the many health benefits of eating it.
What Does Lamb Taste Like?
Lamb tastes similar to beef but is much more tender and juicier. It also has a gamey flavor that distinguishes it from other domestic meats like beef.
The adjective “gamey” derives from the word “game,” meaning wild animals that are hunted for food or sport. Some common game meats include deer, quail, and antelope. Overly gamey flesh is often smoked to take the edge off the flavor.
Though lamb is tender and softer to chew than beef, it has a firmer texture than other delicate meats like chicken. It also has a lot of fats. The juicy flavor from the meat is attributed to the constant walking that sheep do, which helps relax the muscles and have better blood flow. That, together with the tenderness of the young sheep, makes it one of the best meats to eat.
Below are the factors that can affect how lamb tastes to different people.
1. How the Lamb Was Raised
How the animal was raised affects the taste of the meat because of the foods it ate while growing. Lambs can eat both grains and grass. A lamb raised on grains will not taste the same as one raised on grass.
Those that eat grain will have a less distinctive flavor. Most American lambs are fed grains in the last 30 days of life, which reduces the gamey taste of their flesh.
In New Zealand and Australia, sheep are fed pasture or grass. That makes their flesh have a very distinct flavor that distinguishes it from all other meats. The diet contributes to the branched-chain fatty acids in the flesh, making it taste great and have immense health benefits to human consumers.
Another factor affecting the meat’s taste is the surrounding conditions. Sheep that grow up on a large farm where they can walk around all day have better taste than those confined in a small space. Blood circulation helps tenderize the meat, making it tasty and healthier for human consumption.
2. How the Lamb Was Cooked
When answering the question “what does lamb taste like,” cooking is another factor to consider. Different people will prepare the meat differently and use differing recipes for cooking the meat. They also use various cooking equipment, which could alter the taste and affect the experience.
For instance, the way that grilled lamb tastes is not the same as the flavor of baked or roasted lamb. You could also overcook or undercook the meat, which will definitely affect its flavor. The best way to cook it depends on individual preference, but be sure not to overdo or underdo it.
Additionally, avoiding eating lamb that has been stored for a long time is essential, as it might not taste the same as fresh meat. Finally, pick simple recipes if you are cooking it for the first time to avoid covering up the authentic flavors of the lamb.
3. The Ingredients Used
Ingredients are a game changer for any food. They can make or break the taste of the meal, so you should be careful about the ingredients you pick for your recipes.
If you’ve wondered “what does lamb taste like” and decided to find out for yourself, it’s better to go easy on the spices to enjoy the original flavor of the meat. Added ingredients tend to diminish the gamey flavor of the lamb, which is why you should avoid using too many added ingredients on your first try. Go in with basic ingredients like salt and pepper to experience the gamy taste in its fullness.
If you must use additional ingredients and herbs, use them in small amounts to avoid ruining your first experience.
5 Benefits of Eating Lamb
Lamb is a healthier alternative to beef and pork, mainly because of the tender age of the sheep producing the meat. The meat itself is also packed with nutrients that could be highly beneficial to your body. Below are some of the benefits you can derive from eating lamb.
1. Helps Prevent Cancer Cells From Spreading
Lamb contains some selenium, vitamin B, iron, and choline. In addition to their other benefits, these four essential nutrients can limit the growth of cancer cells in your body and prevent them from spreading. Cancer patients are therefore advised to eat the meat as it will help reduce the pace at which the cancer cells are spreading, which can help control the disease and give you a faster recovery.
2. Helps Build Muscle
Lamb has conjugated linoleic acid, which helps the body lose fat and build muscle. Doctors use conjugated linoleic acid to help patients who are overweight. Lamb is a natural source of this acid and can help you achieve your body’s goals.
Add young sheep to your diet if you have been going to the gym to try and build up the muscles through regular protein intake.
3. Good Source of Iron
Irion is important to the body as it helps in red blood cell formation, making it possible to transport nutrients and oxygen all over the body. The good thing about eating lamb is that it has a lot of iron.
Besides the protein, your body gets to absorb all the healthy iron into your body and improve your blood flow. People suffering from blood-related illnesses like anemia should add lamb into their diet, especially if they have trouble eating liver.
4. Helps Strengthen Your Bones
Eating lamb is beneficial for your bone health. It improves the density and structure of your bones, keeping them strong and healthy all the time.
Lamb is also an ideal meat for toddlers and young children whose bones are still developing, as it will help shape and structure their bones. You can introduce your kids to lamb as their first meat because of its immense health benefits and tenderness. However, always consult with your pediatrician to know when to start your kids on a new diet or introduce them to an unfamiliar food.
5. Helps Regulate Blood Flow
Another health benefit of eating lamb is that it can help prevent a stroke. The flesh has a lot of potassium, which helps regulate the blood flow in your body.
It also controls the amount of sodium in your body, keeping it at minimum levels. That reduces your chances of suffering from a stroke in the future. Adding this tender meat to your diet helps you maintain excellent blood flow, which assures the health of the rest of your body.
Lamb is sumptuous, tender, and has immense health benefits for your body. It is not common in many Western localities, but you can usually find it in well-stocked supermarkets or from reputable butchers.
You can substitute it for other red meats to reap all its health benefits. However, consider the abovementioned factors to know which lamb meat tastes the best.
If you live near huge ranches that rear sheep and other domestic animals, you can buy from them whenever you want to eat some. We hope our article answers the question “What does lamb taste like?” and maybe even inspires you to give this delicious meat a try.