Don’t choose meat that is too lean. It will dry out and cook up hard. Look for meat that is a ruddy brownish colour, not bright pink. It should have good marbling.
Look for a smooth covering of clear pinkish-white brittle fat over most of the exterior. Over this is a thin paper-like covering called the fell. The fell is usually removed from chops. It should not be removed from legs, however, as it will help the leg hold its shape better and to be more juicy.
Braising – shoulder chops, neck, fillet and shanks
Grilling or frying – steaks, loin and rib chops
Roasting – leg or shoulder. For a smaller joint, choose a rack
Regardless of cut or cookery method, low cooking temperatures are best if tenderness is to be preserved.
In grilling or frying it is best never to turn the meat more than once. Turn the meat using tongs so that the meat does not get pierced.
For lamb that is bought fresh, leave in its film wrappings and use within two days. Otherwise remove wrappings, cover loosely and use within four days. If not using within four days, freeze it.
Liver and kidneys should be used the same day or frozen.
One method to wrap the meat is to use moisture-vapour-proof paper. Place meat in the centre of appropriate size sheet of paper, draw the edges up together at the centre of the piece of meat and folding the paper over two or more times, squeeze out as much air as possible. Fold edges over in a V closure on either end and seal with tape. Label.
Carving a leg
Allow 30 minutes to rest lamb before carving otherwise the juices will run out and leave the meat dry.
Hold the lamb flat on a board, with the bone in your non-carving hand and the meatiest part of the leg facing up. Slice along the top of the bone (under the meat) for about 3 inches. Next, cut into the meat down to the bone, at the point where the first slice ends, to release a chunk of lamb. Set aside. Now begin cutting thin slices (at an angle) from the meat left on the bone, starting at the cut left by the chunk you removed. When you have sliced off all the meat on that side, turn the leg and continue slicing at an angle until the meat is removed. Thinly slice the chunk of lam removed first.
Hold the lamb on its end (bone up) with the thickest side uppermost. Take off slices of meat, holding the knife parallel to the bone. When you reach the bone, turn the leg over and continue slicing until you reach the bone. Remove the remaining meat from both sides in single chunks, then slice these thinly.