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Dec 16, 2008 10:05 PM

making lamb burgers. where to buy lamb?

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....