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Where to find rack of lamb?

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DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 07:08 PM

I will be making rack of lamb for the holidays and was wondering where one could get it for a reasonable price.

I will be feeding around 15 people, so I'm planning to buy around 8-9 lbs to account for bone weight.

I'm sure I can get beautifully raised and butchered specimens at the Butcher Shop, John Dewars, or Savenors, but I'm not looking to go into bankruptcy this holiday season. $25 per pound is probably my max.

I know Costco sells racks but they only have very small (4-5 rib) cryovaced packages.

Is it possible to order direct through Vermont Quality Meats?

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  1. Karl S RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 07:11 PM

    Trader Joes has ones similar to Costco, maybe a bit bigger. Mind you, the smaller the rack, the younger the lamb, and vice versa....

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      silver queen RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 08:17 PM

      I got a small rack at Stop and Shop last week for $9/lb that turned out very nicely.

      But a full rack of lamb only has 8 ribs.

      The one I bought had 8 small frenched ribs and it weighed just over 1 pound. They were scant, but rich servings for 2 not-so-big eaters. I'd do a leg for that many people...

      1 Reply
      1. re: silver queen
        Karl S RE: silver queen Nov 27, 2006 08:22 PM

        Roche Bros does carry boneless lamb loins. Pricey, but a nice cut.

      2. itaunas RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 08:39 PM

        This and lamb shank used to be a major comfort food in my household, but I haven't had it recently. We tended for smaller racks.

        For something special, I would give Blood Farm in Groton a call and see what they have. I have also gotten nice lamb from both Sulmona (ordered) and Wild Oats (new zealand). With the two butchers you should be able to specify what you want.

        For less expensive, you could try either McKinnon's or Hilltop Butcher Markets (actually better than the restauraunt, but McKinnon's has better prices). You may have to order it. Also other neighborhood places like Maplewood in Malden, etc.

        What I really miss is that the Lexington Market Basket (but not somerville) had these frozen two-rack packets of New Zealand spring lamb. Obviously they did not compare to a fresh rack from a local farm, but it was great to keep in the freezer and pull out when you happened to get snowed in! I think Market Basket may still rack of lamb at the holidays, but one of the butchers would be convenient.

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          Chaumiere RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 08:52 PM

          Australian racks of lambs are sold at both Hannafords and Stop and Shop in North Quincy. I'm cooking a double Frenched rack of lamb for 6 people from Stop and Shop tonight, I'll let you know how it tastes. The 3 I got from Hannafords were awesome. 6 rib cryovacs. Just buy a few of them...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chaumiere
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            Chaumiere RE: Chaumiere Nov 27, 2006 11:42 PM

            FYI our rack of lamb was great. One thing I never realized is that if you reduce balsamic with a little butter and some shallots then braise the rack as you are roasting it, it's very good. The reduction tastes like cherries. A cooking experiment that worked.

          2. rlh RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 09:37 PM

            At the higher end of your price limit (and after factoring in the fixed $25 fee for overnight shipping), I HIGHLY recommend the following supplier that I found thanks to this board:

            https://www.dartagnan.com/search.asp

            The venison medallions I ordered from them (along with a bunch of other really good things like small bottles of truffle oil and truffle butters and sausages...) were BY FAR the best I've ever had -- they were VERY fresh, had never been frozen and were expertly-packed with ice packs -- exactly as expected.

            The stuff that is frozen is MUCH lower in price than the fresh items on the main lamb menu option and probably also really good -- check out the "Ariane's freezer" option for that.

            The price isn't the lowest, but the value is amazing based on that experience! I'll be using them again when I have enough volume to justify the shipping cost.

            PS -- Are Dewar and Savenor's really >$25 per lb?? ouch!

            2 Replies
            1. re: rlh
              Rubee RE: rlh Dec 23, 2006 08:59 PM

              I bought stuff from the D'Artagnan Freezer Specials for the first time this year, and I can vouch for the quality. The muscovy duck, and whole organic chickens were juicy and of excellent quality after being defrosted, and I would definitely take advantage of the prices again. BTW, I also bought some white truffle butter, and used them to make some incredible fontina grilled cheese sandwiches this week. I love D'Artagnan, and they supply a lot of local purveyors anyway, so if buying a large amount of goods, it's worth buying direct sometimes since the next-day 25$ shipping is for all orders under $250 (and over $250 is free).

              1. re: rlh
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                Bostonbob3 RE: rlh Dec 26, 2006 07:19 PM

                No, it's not $25 a pound at Savenor's. It's $32.

                That said, it's superior to the racks I've purchased at Whole Foods, so I guess it all depends on the whole quality versus price thing.

                I do agree that D'Artagnan is an excellent resource, especially for game meats and birds. But much of the time, the shipping costs contradict any real cost savings.

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                emilief RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 09:39 PM

                I have bought very good rack of lamb at Whole Foods. Dewars is a good source and I really would be surprised if they charge more than $25 per pound- that sounds very pricey to me. Call them up and ask. ROche Brothers has good meat and I am sure you can get a rack of lamb from them.

                2 Replies
                1. re: emilief
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                  Northender RE: emilief Nov 27, 2006 09:49 PM

                  I second the Whole Foods rec. They will have fresh racks and provide you with whatever amounts you need. I am not a big fan of the frozen Australian racks at Trader Joe's. The best I have ever purchased came from John Dewar's but you would pay a very heavy tarrif for it.

                  1. re: Northender
                    BobB RE: Northender Nov 28, 2006 07:07 PM

                    Whole Foods has New Zealand lamb, which to my taste is far superior to the Australian you'll find in most other supermarkets. I always get my racks there, usually about $16/lb.

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                  9lives RE: DoubleMan Nov 27, 2006 11:50 PM

                  Savenor's rack of is right up there in price..maybe more than $25/lb.

                  Here's a really nice cut that I like..lamb top..it's a sirloin from the upper leg/boneless..less fat and sinew than a leg of lamb. I've bought it at Sav's or Golden Goose on the waterfront..$10/lb or so..great roasted or cut into kebabs and grilled...each easily feeds 3 or 4 with some sides.

                  scroll down

                  http://www.hormel.com/templates/knowl...

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                    Blumie RE: DoubleMan Nov 28, 2006 04:51 AM

                    The racks at Costco are "regular" size: 8 ribs, which serves 2 people. For years we bought our racks at Dewar, where we paid on average $35 a rack. Now we always get them at Costco for about $12-$14 a rack. Sure, the meat at Dewar is better, but not that much better. (Of course we still use the Dewar recipe for preparing them. Stop by and they'll happily give you a copy. And it couldn't be easier.)

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                      Cheffrank RE: DoubleMan Nov 28, 2006 12:04 PM

                      I would second McKinnon's. If you talk to the butcher, they will custom cut what you want and the quality is top notch. The only place better up on the North Shore is, believe it or not, Market Basket (the Greeks really know their lamb) but I have never seen a rack for sale there. If you are ever looking for shanks or a bone in leg, their prices are terrific.

                      1. ScubaSteve RE: DoubleMan Nov 28, 2006 12:32 PM

                        my market basket (haverhill) had frozen new zealand lamb racks about a week ago for $12.00 per rack. i got 4 and the 2 i've had so far have been really good. i'll be back there today and report back.

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                          cheryl_h RE: DoubleMan Nov 28, 2006 01:20 PM

                          For value, the Costco racks are hard to beat. I have bought most of my lamb from a local farmer who has now moved away, so I'm going to try Blood Farm. Everything else I've gotten from them has been excellent, cut exactly as I specify and very fresh.

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                            Cheffrank RE: DoubleMan Dec 23, 2006 12:55 PM

                            The Hannaford flyer I got today has rack of lamb for $6.99 a lb, an unbelievable price. Not sure of the quality, however, and have another post out to see if anyone has tried it.

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