Should Lamb Have a Strong Taste?

ns1 finds it confusing when people praise lamb dishes as "cooked perfectly, without a single hint of gaminess." Isn't the pronounced flavor the appeal of lamb in the first place?

While lamb does have a characteristic flavor, that flavor is not "gamy," sunshine842 says, though not everyone thinks gaminess is a bad thing. caseyjo, for one, loves the strong, gamy flavor of full-grown mutton, as long as it's tempered with appropriate seasonings.

Lamb should taste like lamb, a flavor Isolda describes as "grassy and fresh," qualities common in New Zealand lamb. Harters calls the flavor lovely, mild, and sweet—much less strongly flavored than older sheep, and milder and sweeter than beef or pork.

Diet, age, and preparation all affect flavor. A diet of grass rather than grain imparts a stronger flavor, JMF says. judybird loves the strong taste of two-year-old New Zealand sheep (known locally as "two-twos") more than the bland flavor of most American lamb.

Finally, lamb naturally has a fat covering called the fell, as well as glands at the back of the leg, which, if left on, impart a strong flavor to the meat, harryharry explains. Some hounds prefer the strong flavor of lamb with its fell and glands; others, including enhF94, prefer the clean, springtime flavor of de-felled lamb.

Discuss: Lamb - should it be gamey or not?

Photograph of slow-roasted rack of lamb by JoanN