Of all the meats that you can eat, Lamb is one of the most difficult to describe. Lamb chops and roasted Lamb are often so heavily seasoned that determining the true flavor of the meat requires contemplation.
So, what does a Lamb chop taste like? The flavor of lamb chops is stronger than beef and a bit gamey. However, the meat is tender, with a fine grain. Often cooked with garlic, rosemary, and other herbs, lamb chops can be very flavorful.
What is a lamb?
That seems like it would be an easy question to answer. However, there is a difference between a Lamb and a sheep. A lamb is under a year old, while a sheep is over a year old. The meat of a lamb is much more tender than sheep meat (mutton) and has a milder flavor.
Lamb is to sheep what veal is to a cow.
Like many foods we eat, Lamb is an acquired taste; in my experience, people either like it a lot or not. The flavor is different than any other meat besides goat, which sheep are kin to.
How do lamb chops compare to beef and pork?
Even though Lamb is fatty, the fat should be cut away from the lamb chops and roasted before they are cooked. It is hard to remove it all but cut out as much as possible without cutting away the meat.
Unlike beef and pork fat, which can be flavorful, the fat of Lamb has a gamey flavor, so the more fat you trim away, the better your chops will be.
Lamb chops are cooked the same way as beef steak or pork chops, and some herbs and seasonings used to season them are also used for flavoring lamb.
What are the types of lamb chops?
Lamb chops come from a lamb’s loin, sirloin, rib, and shoulder. Where they come from affects their price, appearance, and tenderness. However, most Lamb, when appropriately cooked, is very tender.
Lamb loin chops
The loin chip is cut from the rib section, and the bone is usually left in, giving them their steak-like appearance.
Lamb loin chops look like baby T-bone steaks and are rather cute. They cook quickly and make getting dinner on the table fast. If you want to impress a guest, serve lamb chops.
You will likely see Lamb, loin chop in your grocery store’s meat case. The petite form of a lamb chop is appealing to the eye, and they make a simple, elegant meal.
Although lamb loin chops wrapped in your local grocer’s meat case generally look like mini-T-bone steaks. They look different when they are ‘Frenched,’ and the elegant appearance they present will cost you a little more per pound.
To ‘French’ and rib roast, the long rib bone is not removed but left on the lamb chop. ‘Frenching’ lamb loin chops can be done for a loin chop or a loin rib roast, making an imposing display when served (similar to a Tomahawk or Cowboy steak).
Lamp shoulder chops
If you want the flavor of Lamb without the cost of loin chops, Lamb shoulder chops offer as much flavor at a lower price. However, they tend to have more bone and fat.
Cut from the shoulder of the Lamb, the sirloin can be cooked as a roast or cut into chops for individual servings. Lamb sirloin is excellent either way, but lamb shoulder chops will cook faster than a roast will.
Lamb shoulder chops appear similar to a pork shoulder steak but not as large. Lamb shoulder chops will cook quicker than other cuts of Lamb and are an excellent source of protein that you can take from the fridge to the plate in less than half an hour.
Lamb sirloin chops
The third type of lamb chop is the lamb sirloin chop. Although they are cut from the leg and have an identifying central round bone, lamb sirloin chops typically cost less than lamb chops that come from the rib and loin of a lamb.
Other than the one bone, a lamb sirloin chop looks like a small beef sirloin steak. Although lamb meat is red like beef, it tends to be a deeper red, and the fat has a different color and texture.
A loin roast offers lamb chops in a different form.
When prepared, a lamb loin roast is almost as impressive as a standing rib roast of beef. However, it is smaller, has fewer servings per roast, and will cost less if you serve a small group of people.
Lamb chops are carved from the whole loin when serving. Roasting an entire loin allows you to season and cook the Lamb differently than when cooking a single lamb chop.
How do you cook lamb chops?
Like steak, lamb chops can be cooked from rare to well done. They need to be cooked like a steak, seared in a hot skillet, then finished in the hot oven for the best results.
However, lamb chops can be barbequed, grilled, or smoked for a different flavor and culinary treat. How you cook your Lamb depends on which chop you are cooking. What does lamb chops taste like will likely be answered with a resounding, their really good.
Lamb loin chops
Lamb loin chops are cooked like beef steak. They need to be seared in a hot skillet, then placed in a hot oven to finish. However, they can be grilled, pan-fried, or served as a ‘rack of lamb’ and cut into chops after the loin roast is cooked.
Lamb Sirloin chops
Sirloin chops are typically not as tender as a loin chop. Yet, they are not quite as chewy as lamb shoulder chops. Sirloin chops can be pan-fried, braised, broiled, or grilled.
Lamb Shoulder chops and Blade chops
Shoulder chops from a lamb are larger than rib or loin lamb chops. They also have a higher fat content, have a more robust flavor, and do best when marinated. However, you don’t cook them on as hot a fire as you would a loin or rib chop.
Marinating lamb chops before you cook them will make them more tender. They can be pan-fried, braised, or broiled. The blade lamb chop also comes from the shoulder area of the Lamb. However, this cut is fattier than an arm-shoulder chop.
They do well with pan-fried, broiled, grilled, roasted, or braised. A lamb shoulder roast is where these chops come from, and the whole shoulder can be cooked instead of being cut into chops if you choose. However, lamb roasts take a little longer to cook than a lamb chop and may give you leftovers.
What foods go well with lamb chops?
Lamb chops can be eaten with a baked potato, mashed potatoes, polenta, rice, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, candied carrots or sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and many of the other dishes that show up on the table during special occasions.
Are lamb chops good?
Having a meal of lamb chops is an excellent way to change your menu; it can be rather elegant and offer a different flavor for you to enjoy.
Change is good, and lamb chops are great meat to add to holiday meals, special occasion meals, or they can be what’s for dinner any night of the week.
Are lamb chops healthy?
A good source of protein and Omega3 fatty acids, Lamb is nutritious and a nice change from the regular fare. It is a rich meat that is more suitable for the cooler months of the year, yet it is excellent grilled during the warmer months.
Is Lamb more nutritious than beef?
Lamb has the same calories, ounce for ounce, as beef, essential amino acids, and many of the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet. However, beef has more protein, vitamin B6, iron, and zinc than Lamb.
The common perception is that Lamb is a fatty meat. However, the fat of Lamb tends to be on the outside of the meat. Therefore, your chops will not lose their flavor if most of the fat is cut away.
Of course, this doesn’t mean it has fewer calories, but it isn’t any fatter than beef or pork, which by far has cuts of meat that are fattier than Lamb or beef.
The bottom line is both Lamb and beef provide the necessary protein for your diet. It won’t come out oily or greasy if you cook the lamb right. It does have a more robust flavor than beef.
However, it is a flavor that many people enjoy while others don’t like it, but if you haven’t tried lamb chops, you need to. You may like them quite well.
Is Lamb more expensive than beef?
Yes, it usually is, and sheep are more costly to raise per head than beef cattle. Sheep typically have better living conditions than beef cattle, which are more expensive. They are also more labor intensive and have fewer pounds of meat per animal.
Lamb, which comes from sheep that are less than a year old, is even pricier. That is because there is even less meat per animal, and they can only be purchased in the spring of the year, which makes them a hot commodity.