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Lamb & Goat - Choice cuts and how to cook them

When going to the butcher to buy lamb or goat, there are some signs that show you where they come from. In Greece, domestic meats have a blue stamp on them, while the imported meats, which are less expensive, have a brown stamp on them. Baby lambs have a rhomboid shaped stamp on them, while baby goats have a stamp in the shape of a parallelogram.

The classification, at first, depends on their age and weight.

  • Baby goat is called “kid” and Older Goat is called Chevon
  • Sheep in the first year is called a lamb and the meat as well. 
    The meat of a Sheep older than a year is called Hogget and the meat of a mature Sheep is called Mutton.
  • Goat’s meat is less fatty and has less calories and cholesterol than both lamb or beef… 

Cuts to choose.

  1. Neck: Soft and fatty meat. Ideal for boiling and ragu.
  2. Shoulder: Tender meat but very fatty, which is not good for grilling. Ideal for roasting in one piece, stews, ground for burgers or oriental dishes.
  3. Breast: Very fatty meat. Ideal for boiling.
  4. Rack: The most well-known part that continues on from the shoulder. Tender meat, with bones and less fat than the shoulder. The rack with the chops connected is ideal for roasting or pot roast.
  5. Loin: This cut is found along the back of the animal, from the 6th to the 12th vertebrae. You can find them with or without bones. Great for grilling or cooked in the pan. The entire part is ideal for roasting in the oven.
  6. Flank: Very fatty meat that is boneless. The most common way of cooking it is boiled in pieces or of course the Greek Easter magiritsa soup.
  7. Rump: This cut is found at the mid-section and the hip area. Soft and quite poor in fat content. It is perfect as filet mignon, roasted or grilled.
  8. Leg: Tender meat with very little fat. Ideal for kebabs, braised, stewed or roasted.
  9. Shank: This part is not very fatty and has a lot of small bones. Perfect for soups, and Greek specialties such as magiritsa and patsa.
  10. Lamb pluck: This part (heart-liver-lungs) has to be removed very carefully so that it doesn’t get ripped or pierced because it will be destroyed. The color should be bright. The caul fat (lace fat) should not be dry. Ideal for Greek specialties such as magiritsa or kokoretsi.