Lessons in lamb...

It was really informative spending time with our fabulous butchers - CJ Gibbons Family Butchers in Hay learning all about different cuts of Lamb.

Geraldine had hung a spring lamb up to teach me where the different cuts came from; it’s fascinating to really understand that - it gives a new appreciation for the animal, the butcher and the cost.

I learned that spring lamb is mild in taste and very tender. The older the lamb, the more intense the flavour. The lamb we were looking at was a ‘Dorset’ breed from just up the road at Boughrood. It was born in November so was 4 months old. Dorsets lamb three times every two years so give a good return.

With spring lamb the butcher removes some of the internal fat or ‘crawl’ while it is still warm and drapes it over the animal - you can see it on photo 1. This is a great natural fat which can be used to wrap faggots and burgers.

I picked up four different cuts which are perfect for cooking on the grill over fire. The first and most expensive are the leg steaks, or chump (in beef it would be called rump). (See photo 2) This is expensive as it’s a prime cut, off the bone and you only get six out of an animal. They are available all year round and are the fastest cooking.

The next most expensive is the Barnsley Chop, named after the northern town. It’s a double chop in effect and there are only five of these on a lamb. (See photo 3) They are thick as they are cut each side of the vertebrae. If you see saw marks on the ‘sixpence’ bone it has been cut in half and not the full chop. You don’t find these in supermarkets, so look out for them in your local butchers.

A cheaper cut is the Shoulder Steak. It’s from the top inside part of shoulder (see photo 4) and is cut to remove the shoulder blade, hence often having skewers in them to hold them together. You mainly get these in the summer and again it’s quite a quick cooking cut.

Finally the cheapest of the cuts is the breast (picture 5) Generally this meat goes into mince or burgers, it’s not a common cut for the bbq but cooked low and slow it’s tender and delicious.

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