Lamb is a very subjective item. Many people feel that New Zealand or Australian is the best and others feel there is no lamb other than American and are willing to pay the premium price for it.
Lamb from each region has its own distinguishing characteristics including flavor, size and price. What are the differences then?
American lamb is just that, it has been raised in the U.S. Most quality American lamb comes from Colorado and the Midwestern States and is grain fed. This breed is the largest in size and many say is the highest in quality and consistency.
American lamb has grain in its diet and thus tastes less “gamey” compared to imported lamb which is typically grass fed. It is also the most expensive available. American lamb is very sensitive to market conditions which makes availability and size variable. Lamb farming is a small industry in the U.S. which is why supply and demand is a major issue.
“Aussie” lamb has become a very popular item today. It has been cross-bred with American lamb to create a larger more consistent product. Not too many years ago Aussie lamb was very undesirable. The lambs were raised primarily for their wool and the meat was almost a by-product of that industry. This meant a very inconsistent product in size and quality.
Today Aussie lamb is also raised for consumption to a specific size and weight which produces a quality product that is less expensive than American domestic lamb. It is of a medium size and resembles that of American lamb the most.
New Zealand Lamb:
New Zealand has long produced lamb for its wool industry. This breed is of small stature and many believe is of the least quality compared to American and Australian lamb. Consequently it is also the least expensive lamb. Many customers use this product because of its attractive cost and consistent sizing. When compared to American and Aussie lamb, the price is right.
Popular Lamb Cuts:
Lamb can be purchased a few different ways, “Primal”, “Sub-Primal” and “Portion Control”. Most customers purchase “Sub-Primal” or “Portion Control”. Unlike beef, when lamb is portioned, they become “Chops” not “Steaks”.
Popular Primal Cuts – Bone-In:
Leg, Loin, Hotel Rack, Shoulder, Saddle
Popular Sub Primal Cuts:
Rack Split Chine Off, Loin Boneless Trimmed, Leg Boneless, Shank, Shoulder Boneless
Popular Portion Control Cuts:
Lamb Rack, Frenched, Lamb Rib Chop, Frenched, Lamb Loin Chop, Lamb Shoulder Chops, Lamb Leg, Frenched Carving
So, which Lamb is the best: American, Australian or New Zealand? Perhaps all of them, depending on your specific needs. Try them and decide for yourself!
It’s time to take a break from the mojito, put down the margarita, and give Brazil’s national cocktail ― the caipirinha ― a chance to star at your next cocktail hour. The caipirinha is a simple cocktail made of cachaça, lime and sugar, and it is as refreshing as it is potent.
We know this cocktail could take over happy hours nationwide if it weren’t for this one small flaw: it’s hard to pronounce. And since no one wants to look the fool at the bar, this drink doesn’t get ordered as often as it should. Don’t let this stop you from getting familiar with one of the best cocktails around. There’s a simple fix…
Say it with us now: Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya.
The caipirinha is a fun drink to mix. It involves muddling lime wedges with sugar ― yes, the wedges are left in the glass when served ― and topping it all off with ice and cachaça. But first, you’ll have to stock your home bar with Brazil’s favorite spirit, the previously mentioned cachaça.
Since we know you’re wondering, let’s tackle how to pronounce cachaça before we delve into what it is:
All together now: Ka-Shah-Suh.
Cachaça is a Brazilian distilled spirit made from the fermented juice of sugarcane. It has a flavor reminiscent of rum ― rum is also made from sugarcane ― but it is more vegetal and robust because it’s made from raw sugarcane (and not a byproduct, such as molasses, like rum is). Its production dates back to the 1500s when the Portuguese arrived in Brazil. Rum was distilled a couple hundred years later in other parts of the Americas. Just like with any spirit, its flavor can vary greatly depending on the quality of production. Industrial options can be rough, but delve into smaller batch productions and you’ll be well rewarded.
The traditional caipirinha is perfection, but there are many ways to make variations on the classic with an array of different fruits. We have those options for you below.[/column]
Dried figs are great and all, but if you’ve ever tasted a fresh fig you know that there’s no contest between the two. Sweet and honeyed, fresh figs are a rare treat meant to be savored. They were, after all, the foods of the gods.
When you see figs in the supermarket or farmer’s market grab a bunch, because they can be hard to find despite their long season, which runs late summer to fall. They might not always look perfect, and that’s okay because figs rarely do. The sign of a perfectly ripe fig is when you see a bit of bend in the stem and the feel of the skin is supple. Crackly skin is fine, just stay away from figs that are overly soft or oozy.
Figs are delicious eaten right out of hand, but using them in recipes is an even better way to enjoy the delicate and scarce late summer fruit. We found just the recipes to help you do that.[/column]
One of our most recent shoots, titled Breakfast Interrupted, is now live for your viewing pleasure. Shot primarily with the Phantom HD Gold at 1000fps, the piece is designed to showcase food in a beautiful and unusual way.
The idea was brought to us by our friends at marlinnetwork.com, for their annual breakfast event.
More at our blog.