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making lamb burgers. where to buy lamb?

  • s

i'm making lamb burgers.

i know that my local albertsons and other big grocery stores sell ground lamb and lamb chops. but offer little else.

when i make cow burgers, i like to grind my own meat out of various steak cuts of my choosing.

i'm wondering if this is possible with lamb. what kind of cut i should use, and where to buy it? since i'm assuming that it's not lamb chops.


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  1. You would use shoulder and probably have to add fat, as lamb loin, chops etc are too lean for an 80/20 burger ratio. It's easy to get good ground lamb wholesale, I just have no idea where to buy it retail.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Adsvino

      Why not use some leg and shoulder. Do you really think chops are lean, I thought lamb is kind of fatty/greasy by nature. You could try to call Harvey Gus.

      1. re: Adsvino

        Shoulder can be very fatty, though it is I think the best choice. Around the LA area, I commonly find frozen boneless lamb shoulder in the Asian markets, typically at about $7/lb. The last one I got I used for stew, and had a jolly time removing all the fat and nastier membranes, which totalled almost a quarter of the volume.

      2. Vons/ Pavillions sometimes have ground lamb but their supplier seems to be hit on miss on that score.

        When all else fails and I don't have time to grind it I go to Whole Foods. If I have time to grind it, I go to Trader Joes and get one of their unseasoned boneless legs.

        1. My local Albertsons (bought recently by Publix--boohoo) was very obliging with special requests for fresh ground lamb, if they had some. I got lucky about half the time. I prefer lamb to have a higher lean content than hamburger meat; 20% lamb fat is too much. You have to judge by color. Not too pink.
          Sometimes the resistance comes from health department regs that require that commercial meat grinders have to be totally stripped apart and cleaned whenever a different meat is run through them, and that is sometimes inconvenient at busy times for single orders. But Albersons was very accomodating. Doesn't hurt to ask.
          A grilled lamburger seasoned with rosemary, cracked pepper, garlic, on a nest of Boston lettuce, on a toasted bun, with mint jelly.....yum.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Veggo

            NONE of the major supers (Albertsons, Ralphs, Vons) near me in the South Bay make ground lamb with any regularity, must be the local demographic ...
            If I need good quality product right away, I head for Bristol Farms.

            Note to self - check Al Watan Market next time.

            1. re: DiveFan

              >>Note to self - check Al Watan Market next time.<<

              I was thinking about here as well as any other Halal places down in the general South Bay area. Hawthorne, Lawndale, Torrance and even San Pedro might be good places to look up. :)

              Al Watan
              13619 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

          2. our family cooks with a lot of lamb. we range in preparing lebanese dishes from ground raw, to ground cooked, to trimmed cooked, to serbian (ground with beef and pork) cevapcici. we frequently buy boneless new zealand lamb leg at costco. often we buy a case (8 legs) and split it among 2-4 households - they give you 10-15% off. we have also purchased fresh leg of lamb at super king. this is usually american raised and is bone-in: a lot more work to trim.

            my lebanese mother-in-law used to swear that american lamb is superior because it doesn't have the "gamey" taste. however, over the last 5-10 years, she became unable to tell the two apart, so she always gets a leg or two when someone buys a case.

            we have never purchased ground lamb - too many concerns about how it was actually trimmed before grinding. if you've ever trimmed a leg, you know that there is always a lot of very heavy and tough fat, as well as a lot of thin sinew. we have found that removing them both is very helpful. usually it takes 30-60 minutes to trim a boneless 4lb +/- leg. the time is determined by the ultimate goal of the preparation.

            there are still a lot of people who consider lamb subpar. but everyone that we've ever gotten to try one of our preparations changes their beliefs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: justanotherpenguin

              Yes, Super King is a good choice as it is Armenian owned. Costco's boneless leg of lamb is also a great deal, and somewhat time-saving as well.
              Any middle eastern market should be able to accommodate your request, via already premade patties(not often the case, however), or at least with a broad variety of lamb cuts from which you can choose.

            2. I do it all the time with lots of different cuts of lamb. Trim carefully before grinding as some lamb is sinewy and has trouble in a grinder. I have no problem finding different cuts around Silverlake, including Ralphs, but I frequently buy at Gelsons.
              My fav: add some crumbled bleu cheese, chopped shallots and coarse ground black pepper. Top with red leaf lettuce, tomato, and serve on some rustic bread.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cls

                Where's the fat? These all sound dry....

              2. I love making lamb burgers myself and get freshly ground lamb at the Farmer's Market Butcher on Third & Fairfax. You may ask the butcher to ground some lamb for you if they do not have it on display.

                1. I get good results with lamb leg with added pork fat (better than lamb fat.)

                  1. smart n final has boneless leg of lamb for $3.99-$4.99/lb. can't comment on the quality though.

                    1. If you're near a Top Valu supermarket, they usually have various cuts of lamb. The one near me on Inglewood near Culver in Culver City often has a sale of halal lamb from $3-4 pound depending on the cut. First thing Sat morning is the best time for widest selection.

                      1. i altered a recipe for lamb sausages i found on epicurious.com. it's my new spring feast tradition:

                        Lamb Suasages

                        2 cloves garlic
                        1 1/2 t coarse salt
                        2 lbs ground lamb
                        juice of a lemon
                        2 T chopped oregano
                        3/4 c feta cheese
                        2 T chopped mint
                        olive oil for cooking

                        mince the garlic, then mash it into a paste with the salt. mix this with the lamb, lemon juice & oregano together with your clean hands until mixed. in a separate bowl mix together the feta & mint. form the lamb mixture into 2.5" balls. insert about a teaspoon of the feta mixture into the center of each ball and sculpt the lamb around it so that you have a lamb sausage with a feta-mint center. cook in a skillet until desired done-ness is reached. serve w/ tsaziki sauce & warm pita bread.

                        hoping to make this on easter sunday, so i'm hoping to find some ground lamb too!

                        1. Costco often carries ground lamb in three one-pound packs. I think it's from Australia.

                          1. Yes, Whole Foods will grind your lamb to order. Good stuff.

                            We buy a lot of lamb and usually get it mail order from 8 o'clock ranch. Good pricing for a sustainable product and excellent quality.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JudiAU

                              Jordan Market on Westwood Blvd north of Ohio has a splendid selection of lamb, shoulder, chops, kidneys and will grind to order. Its a little gamey but that gives it great flavor.

                              Jordan Market
                              1449 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                            2. Making lamb burgers tonight. Ground lamb from Whole Foods. Here is an Indian version of lamb burger that is fragrant with lemon rind.

                              LAMB BURGERS WITH CILANTRO YOGURT SAUCE
                              SERVES: 6 This spicy burger, served with a cooling yogurt sauce, is Suvir Saran's take on lamb vindaloo, the classic Indian dish.
                              1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
                              4 jalapeños seeded and minced
                              2 cups cilantro leaves
                              2 tbsps minced peeled fresh ginger
                              1 tbsp sugar
                              1 small red onion, 1/2 minced and 1/2 thinly sliced
                              Kosher salt
                              2 1/2 pounds ground lamb
                              6 medium scallions, minced
                              1/2 cup minced mint leaves
                              1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
                              1 1/2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
                              Freshly ground pepper
                              1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
                              1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
                              1 small cucumber—peeled, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
                              3/4 cup plain yogurt
                              6 hard rolls, split and lightly toasted
                              In a food processor, combine 3 tbsps of the lemon juice with half of the minced jalapeños, the cilantro leaves, ginger, sugar, minced onion and 1/2 tsp of salt. Process until pureed. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
                              Light a grill. In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb with the remaining minced jalapeños, the scallions, mint, cheese, lemon zest and 2 tsps of the lemon juice. Add 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and the cayenne and mix gently with your hands. Pat the meat into 6 burgers.
                              In a medium bowl, toss the tomato, cucumber and sliced onion with the remaining 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
                              Grill the burgers over a hot fire until nicely charred on the outside and pink within, about 4 minutes per side. Fold the yogurt into the cilantro puree. Spread some of the yogurt sauce on the bottom half of each roll; top each with a burger, another dollop of yogurt sauce and some of the tomato-cucumber salad. Close the sandwiches and serve.