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Mar 14, 2013 05:25 PM

Lamb - domestic (American), Australian or New Zealand?

I love lamb and the "gamey" taste that most describe is just pure delicious lamby-ness. I bought a New Zealand leg of lamb a few weeks ago which I did not feel had much lamb flavor at all. It was my understanding that the "down under" cuts have more flavor because they are usually 100% grass fed. I have been tempted to try the American leg, but don't think that I've ever had American lamb primarily because I was seeking out that lamb flavor which I thought came from down South. I have American, Australian and New Zealand most readily available to me. What is your favorite country of origin for lamb? Do you notice a big difference between the three?

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  1. most american lamb is indeed grain-fed at this point. i don't mind it ground, but prefer the nz for flavor with other cuts.

    taste can vary with the seasons too.


      I really like this lamb. Not sure how far out of Oregon it gets.
      So much better than lamb from OZ or NZ

      1. To my experience, American lamb (especially Colorado) is by far the best, though, I've heard tell of a Scottish lamb that may rival it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: primebeefisgood

          almost all lamb in the us is now grain-fed. it no longer tastes like lamb.

        2. I'm British and almost never buy other than British lamb. Occasionally, I am forced to buy New Zealand and am always disappointed with its comparitively bland flavour.

          I've eaten American lamb occasionally on trips to the States. Whenever I've seen it on menus, it's been from Colorado. It's been OK. A bit tastier than the NZ, nowhere near as tasty as British.

          Taste doesnt just come from national origin. It's about breeds of sheep - the type of country where they're raised, the food they eat. It's also about at what age are they killed - older beasts are going to taste better. It's also about how long the carcass is hung for and then the skill of butchery.

          Give me mutton or hogget from a hill raised sheep, that's been hung for a week and I'm a happy man.

          1. I've had spring lamb from Colorado, which seems to be where most of the American lamb comes from. It's good. Just not lamb-y enough for me.

            I've had New Zealand and Aussie lamb. It's better. But the best lamb I've ever had was in Ireland about 11 years ago. Gamey, lamb-y, like what I remembered growing up, which was probably still grass-fed.

            I'm hoping to get a boneless leg of lamb for St. Patrick's Day dinner; not sure of the origin - will see when I buy it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit


              You'll find that European lamb usually feeds on the pasture. But in severe winter conditions, they are likely to be brought in to the sheds and fed on hay.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Yea I'm looking for really lamby, that NZ leg of lamb was just a hint of lamb which was underwhelming.