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Lamb has long been one of my least favorite meats due to its gamey flavor. However, some lamb dishes that have been prepared for me tasted great with very little gamey flavor. But I have never been able to duplicate that at home.

What are they doing right (or what am I doing wrong)?

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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I've noticed that most of that lamb flavor comes from where the lamb is raised. I have the opposite taste, I look for the distinct lamb flavor. I avoid American lamb and go for imported (AU/NZ) lamb because of this.

You should look for lamb raised in the USA or Canada, it is generally much milder. If you're already buying that type here are some things to try:

  • Remove more of the fat before cooking
  • Try to buy younger lamb
  • Cook with a dry heat method, since the cut will be served more rare, giving less strong of a taste
  • Slow cook with a method like braising that incorporates other flavors
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For my money, younger lamb and trying to reduce the amount of fat left in the dish are the two things that most cut the gaminess. –  bikeboy389 Jun 8 '11 at 17:59
    
I'd also suggest a cut like leg, which is leaner and milder in flavour. –  ElendilTheTall Jun 8 '11 at 18:45
    
I suspect that a large part of the difference is whether the lamb is free-range or not. –  Martha F. Jun 8 '11 at 19:32
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After you have cut the fat you can try marinating for a few hours in a weak acid. e.g. a bowl of water with a tablespoon of vinegar or juice of a lemon. This can kill the flavour altogether if not careful though –  TFD Jun 9 '11 at 10:24
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Get to know the local FFA (Future Farmers of America) group from jr. high and/or high school. The kids often raise lamb as part of their projects (also pigs and steers...but that is another question). If you help them buy the livestock at the front end you can end up with real high quality custom feed lamb (or...). No steroids, grass fed, corn finished... YUM. (note you also want to make sure you can find a local butcher that will do lamb, not all of them will)

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