Where to find rack of lamb?
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?
Trader Joes has ones similar to Costco, maybe a bit bigger. Mind you, the smaller the rack, the younger the lamb, and vice versa....
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...
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.
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...
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:
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 >$25 per lb?? ouch!
I bought stuff from the D'Artagnan Freezer Specials for the first time this year, and I can vouch for the quality. The muscovy duck, and whole organic chickens were juicy and of excellent quality after being defrosted, and I would definitely take advantage of the prices again. BTW, I also bought some white truffle butter, and used them to make some incredible fontina grilled cheese sandwiches this week. I love D'Artagnan, and they supply a lot of local purveyors anyway, so if buying a large amount of goods, it's worth buying direct sometimes since the next-day 25$ shipping is for all orders under $250 (and over $250 is free).
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.