This Is The Tastiest Cut Of Lamb

"The lion and the lamb shall lie down together, but the lamb won't get much sleep." – Italian proverb. Especially if that lamb flaunts the tastiest cut.

Lamb is the tender, mild-flavored meat from young sheep less than 12 months old (via Dartagnan). Meat from sheep older than one year is called mutton, and although it has more flavor, it's not as tender. Nutritionally, lamb is rich in high-quality protein, vitamin B12, niacin, selenium, zinc, iron, and phosphorous — all important for maintaining normal bodily functions (via Healthline). And because most of the fat is on the outside of the meat, not marbled throughout like beef, it can be easily trimmed off, yielding a lower-fat, excellent source of tasty protein (via Try Lamb).

When shopping for lamb, there are things to consider for maximum flavor. Lamb from New Zealand is grass-fed during its life and has an unmistakable lamb flavor. American lamb is almost always grass-fed, but some sheep are grain-finished, meaning they're fed grains at the end of their lives to fatten them up before slaughter. Switching from grass to grains mellows the taste and adds marbling to the meat, so lamb marked "grass-fed" or "grass-finished" will likely be leaner and have a stronger lamb flavor (via The Spruce Eats).

There are several cuts of lamb, but two of them reign supreme

There's a reason rack of lamb is served as a show-stopping, centerpiece dish (via Food and Wine). Called Best End of Neck, this British cut consists of the first six to eight ribs of the lamb (via Cooks Info). The rack is often French-trimmed, where the fat and meat are trimmed away from the tops of the bones. Racks can be sold for roasting or cut up into "Best End Neck Chops." When chops are de-boned, they're called "Lamb Neck Fillets." Considered the best-tasting cut of meat, it's also the most expensive. Jamie Oliver asserts that this cut is best served pink and, when served lollipop-style, perfect for sharing.

But wait: There's another drool-worthy option at the butcher. Farmdrop proclaims that cuts with a large amount of bone (such as the leg) can be the most flavorful and tender because the collagen and marrow from the bone — released during cooking — tenderize and season the dark, melt-in-your-mouth meat. The leg meat is very lean and crammed with rich, bold flavor (via Campbell's Meat). Jamie Oliver explains that lamb legs work hard, so the cut has a good, strong flavor. Delicious magazine adds that a whole lamb leg is ideal for serving large numbers because it yields plenty of rich, succulent meat.

Whether you choose a rack or a leg, it seems you won't be disappointed. And if you need some (not-at-all sheepish) inspiration, check out Delish and Saveur, where you'll find globally inspired lamb dishes that are easy to prepare at home.