Historically lamb has not been particularly popular in the US, where beef and chicken have ruled. According to Public Health Nutr., Americans only eat 1 pound of lamb compared to 55 pounds of beef. However, that is starting to change as more Americans look to widen their meat options and search for new flavors. In this article, we will explore the flavor of lamb and help you decide if this incredible meat is for you!
What does lamb taste like? Lamb has a strong earthy and grassy flavor. It is juicy with lots of fat and a distinct gamey taste. The powerful earthy and gamey flavor is because lamb contains branched-chain fatty acids, unlike beef. Lamb tastes like a softer, more juicy, and less gamey goat.
If you have never eaten a game or goat before, lamb’s strong grassy flavor will shock you. Lamb is much more flavorful than chicken or even beef. The first thing you will notice when biting into lamb is robustness and earthy taste. Lamb meat is also very tender and juicy, thanks to its high-fat content. With lamb, you get the best of both worlds, a tender and fatty meat combined with a strong gamey taste. You won’t ever accuse this meat of being bland!
Lamb Flavor Profile
Now you know a little bit about the taste of lamb, let’s dive in deeper! It is time to really get to know this unique meat!
What does lamb taste similar to? Lamb tastes similar to mutton and goat. Lamb is fattier, juicer, and more succulent than mutton or goat. Goat and mutton also have a stronger earthy and gamey taste. Goat and mutton taste best when slow-cooked, while lamb can be pan-fried and served rare.
Lamb tastes very different from beef or chicken. Chicken really does have much flavor and absorbs whatever is cooked with it. At the same time, beef has a smooth, buttery, and slightly sweet flavor. In contrast, lamb has a very distinct gamey, and earthy flavor. You can taste grass, and lamb lets you know you are eating an animal. However, lamb is also juicy, delicate, and fatty, which allows you to eat it rare or medium-rare. Lamb is most similar to goat and mutton but is less gamey and more gentle.
Does lamb have a strong taste? Lamb does have a strong taste. Lamb is gamey meat with pastoral and grassy notes. At the same time, it is very fatty and gentle, which provides a lovely contrast that other gamey meats can’t compete with. Lamb has a stronger taste than beef or chicken because it contains branched-chain fatty acids.
You won’t have to worry about blandness when eating lamb. Lamb is absolutely full of flavor. It is a slightly acquired taste because the grassy and earthy flavor can be overpowering. If you are tired of eating boring chicken, it is time to try some lamb and experience this strong taste for yourself!
Lamb vs. Chicken
Does lamb or chicken taste better? Chicken is very bland meat and lacks flavor. Lamb has a lot more flavor but has a strong grassy and earthy taste. Chicken tastes better than lamb when fried or served with curry. Lamb tastes better than chicken when eaten by itself or with a small amount of sauce.
Chicken does not taste like much. Eating chicken by itself is a very boring meal. You need to add lots of sauce and spices to the chicken to make it fun and tasty. In contrast, lamb comes packed with a lot of natural flavors. Lamb does not require heavy sources or spices. Lamb tastes incredible pan-fried and with some light seasoning.
Does lamb taste gamey? Lamb has a classic gamey flavor. The gamey flavor is balanced by lamb’s high-fat content, resulting in tasty and smooth meat. Initially, you will taste a gamey and earthy flavor, but then your taste buds will hit some buttery fat.
Lamb has a bit of something for everyone! Lamb is gamey, fatty, juicy, and earthy. These flavors combine to produce lovely meat, which can be slow-cooked, pan-fried, baked, or barbecued.
Does lamb taste like liver? Lamb does not taste like liver. The liver is rich, fatty, and creamy with a smooth taste. Lamb is very gamey with a strong grassy taste similar to goat or mutton. The liver is slightly gamey but much softer and buttery than lamb.
Lamb and liver are very different. If you enjoy the creaminess and incredible softness of the liver, then lamb is not for you. Lamb is more similar to wild game and has a distinct grassy and earthy flavor. Liver is very smooth and extremely high in fat with a buttery flavor. While the lamb is also fatty, the fat balances the gamey flavor rather than producing a buttery and creamy taste.
Does lamb taste sweet? Lamb does not have a sweet flavor. Most lamb is grass-fed and, due to the presence of branched-chain fatty acids, has an earthy and gamey flavor. Fatty cuts of lamb have a smoother, gentler flavor. Also, the lamb that has been corn-fed tends to be sweeter but still not as sweet as beef.
Lamb is not sweet meat. Lamb has an earthy and grassy taste balanced by a high content. If you want your lamb to be sweeter, you need to buy corn-fed lamb. Most lamb is grass-fed and has a powerful gamey flavor that is far from sweet!
Does lamb have a weird taste? If you have never tasted mutton, goat, or game, then lamb will have a weird taste. The weird taste is because lamb is typically grass-fed and contains branched-chain fatty acids, resulting in a strong gamey and earthy flavor.
First-time game or lamb eaters may find the taste of lamb meat a little weird. The initial grassy and earthy flavors can be overwhelming if your taste buds aren’t used to them. However, if you persevere and take a few more bites, you will experience juicy and balanced meat, which is extremely yummy!
Why Does Lamb Taste Bad?
You may think lamb tastes bad if you have never eaten a game or goat before. Lamb has a quite powerful grassy and earthy flavor because it contains branched-chain fatty acids not present in beef. Once you get past the grassy flavor, lamb is succulent and juicy meat.
Lamb does not bad, but primarily beef and chicken eaters are in for a little shock on their first mouthful. You will instantly taste a grassy twang and a classic gamey flavor. This can be a slightly acquired taste, but after a few more bites, you will enjoy the fatty and juicy nature of the meat. Before long, you will be craving lamb!
Lamb Smell Profile
What does lamb smell like? Lamb smells like grass and the earth. When you take a whiff of lamb, you will be transported to a hilly pasture with long green grass. The earthy and grassy smell of lamb is caused by the presence of branched-chain fatty acids.
Close your eyes and take a big sniff of the lamb. You will swear you are on a farm surrounded by wild green grass and being watched by rolling hills. The smell of lamb will remind you of the English countryside and that this animal is wilder than your typical store-bought chicken or beef.
Lamb is lean meat, so it benefits from marinating and steaming. Marinating lamb in a mixture of olive oil, herbs, garlic, and spices for 24 hours before grilling brings out the flavor and tenderizes the meat. Lamb works well with Asian flavors such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Lamb is also one of the best meats for slow-cooking on low heat with vegetables such as carrots and onions.
Lamb is a versatile meat that goes well with most traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Its strong flavor means it might not go well with a lot of sauces and condiments, but you can add some to enhance your dish. Try it in lamb shanks braised in red wine sauce, or grilled lamb chops served with a creamy mint sauce. You can marinate lamb in olive oil, herbs, garlic, and spices for 24 hours before grilling.
Lamb pairs well with all types of vegetables, herbs, and spices. It goes particularly well with zucchini, butternut squash, and asparagus. Lamb also goes well with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. Lamb is also great with root vegetables such as parsnips and turnips.
Historically lamb has not been popular in the US because it has been much cheaper to raise cattle, and therefore many Americans never got the chance to enjoy lamb. However, things are changing as people start exploring new dishes and meats. Before you go out and buy pounds of lamb, be warned that this meat has a classic gamey flavor and a powerful earthy and grassy taste. Don’t be frightened because lamb’s high-fat content balances the gamey flavor resulting in juicy and succulent meat!