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Each spring we have a few Shetland lambs who don't make the grade as breeding stock processed for meat. They go fast, so contact us as soon as possible to reserve your lamb.
Why is Shetland lamb so popular?
- Shetland is extremely mild in flavor, lacking the off-taste much commercial meat lamb has.
- Shetlands are small sheep--a whole 6 month lamb will produce about 20-30 pounds of meat, and a half lamb will be about 10-15 pounds. Even a refrigerator freezer will readily accommodate a half lamb, with room to spare.
- Smaller cuts of lamb mean you don't have to invite all the relatives to sit down to a delicious leg of lamb dinner.
- Your meat passes through only one middleman--the butcher. You can order your meat processed into the precise cuts you want to serve your family and guests.
- Our Shetlands are pasture raised. The flavor is better, and the meat leaner because they're not being fed concentrates to create artificial weight gains.
- Our meat is all guaranteed completely free of chemicals. We vaccinate our sheep, but don't use any other medications, hormones, or antibiotics.
- We also don't use any chemicals on our pasture--no commercial chemical fertilizers, no herbicides, no pesticides. Just green grass, blue sky, and yellow sun.
- Pasture-raised meat has been found to have much less bacteria than meat from standard feed-lot animals.
- We offer a money-back guarantee if you're not 100% satisfied with the quality of our meat.
As the farmer, I ask $3 per pound hanging weight of the lamb. The cost of the meat varies, but on average will be about $140 for a whole lamb, $70 for a half. You need to butcher the animal yourself or pay a butcher to do it for you. So if you have it processed by someone like Dowker Meats of Gaylord (1-989-732-7575) you pay for the lamb to be processing, plus extra for plastic vacuum wrapping and labeling the meat. Smoking the meat is an extra 50 cents per pound. Finally, you can order some of the lamb to be made into sausage of several types, or smoked, for which there are additional charges.
A rough estimate of the cost of 30 pounds of lamb would be about $200 if the cuts are wrapped in paper and none is smoked nor made into sausage. That works out to about $7-8 per pound, a real bargain for chemical-free, gourmet Shetland lamb.
Typical cuts include leg of lamb, boneless roasts, and chops, as well as some ground lamb. Crown rib roast is not recommended as Shetland ribs have so little meat, but the bones do make wonderful broth for homemade soups such as Scotch Broth (see recipe).
Please contact us if this description of Shetland lamb makes your mouth water!
Many good lamb recipes are around, or you can simply cook the meat just like beef. Here we'll collect some easy lamb recipes to get you started.
Quick Lamb Chops
Shetland lamb chops are very small--so small that we recommend four chops as one serving! But every bite is delicious, and they're so fast and easy to fix. From start to finish, right around one hour.
- Thaw 1 package of 4 chops per person being served--about 1-2 days in refrigerator.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Fry chops until browned on both sides.
- Add water to just cover and desired seasonings. Salt, pepper, and marjoram make a simple, memorable meal.
- Simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.
- If desired, use the liquid in the pan to make gravy.
Garlic Lamb Roast
This roast serves about 4-6 hungry people and takes about 3 hours to prepare.
- Thaw one 3-4 pound boneless or bone-in lamb roast in refrigerator (2-3 days).
- Separate and peel the cloves from a whole bulb of garlic. Cut each clove in half lengthwise.
- Cut small slits in the roast and use the tip of the knife to open the slit. Insert a clove of garlic. Repeat all over roast.
- Roast about 30-35 minutes per pound for a bone-in roast, 40-45 minutes per pound for a boneless roast, until juices run clear or meat thermometer registers 170-180 Fahrenheit.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
It's surprisingly easy, if time consuming, to make an incredibly rich, nutritious, and flavorful broth that can be used as a basis for all sorts of recipies. Here are the directions for using lamb soup bones. You can do the same with beef bones, if you have access to those. Ham broth is made a little differently, but all home made broths are much more healthy and satisfying than their store bought equivalents. I've also canned broth in a pressure canner following the instructions with the canner, with wonderful results. Give it a try!
- If doing a large quantity of broth, make sure you have a pot that is large enough--I typically use my 22 quart pressure canner to also cook the broth in. And unless you have a restaurant-sized refrigerator, I recommend doing broth in the late fall through early spring so you can cool the broth overnight outside (with the lid fastened down to avoid critters sampling it). My kettle won't fit in my side-by-side refrigerator at all.
- Starting the day before canning or serving in a soup, line a roasting pan with foil, and roast at least 2 pounds of lamb bones (no need to thaw bones first) in the oven at 400 degrees F for an hour or two, or until thoroughly browned. Make sure the bones don't actually scorch, as this will give an unpleasant burned taste to the broth. If desired, add several carrots and an onion to the bones. After about an hour, rearrange the bones so the pinker portions are up. This browning gives better flavor and color to the finished broth.
- Pour all bones, vegetables, and juices into a kettle, rinsing the pan into the kettle to get all the brown bits out--don't worry about separating out the fat, that will be done later.
- Add water to cover, several bay leaves, a tablespoon or so of peppercorns, and more carrots, onions, and other vegetables if desired (go easy on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, as they are very strongly flavored), plus a moderate amount of other seasonings you like. I use a little thyme, basil, and marjoram, and sometimes some garlic and mustardseed.
- Cover with water, bring to a boil, put the lid on the pot, and reduce heat to just simmer for at least three hours.
- Strain broth into a container (I put it back in the pressure canner with its locking lid). Place container in refrigerator overnight, or outside in moderately cold weather (35-40 F is ideal), making sure no animals can either reach the container or knock off its lid.
- Separate meat from bones and save the meat for soup. Discard remaining soup ingredients.
- After the broth has cooled enough for the fat to solidify, skim off the fat and discard.
- The broth should be somewhat jelly-like. If not, it may need to be boiled down for easier storage--simmer with the lid slightly off until the broth is reduced enough to suit you. Or use immediately without diluting.
- If desired, reheat the broth until liquid and strain through several layers of cheesecloth to remove last bits of meat and seasonings.
- Can according to directions with your pressure canner, freeze in containers, or use immediately.
Scotch Broth is actually a thick, hearty soup perfect for chilly spring days, as it uses vegetables traditionally available at the end of a cold, dark winter. This recipe generously serves 4-6 people with sides of crusty homemade bread or traditional oatcakes. Begin day ahead if making your broth from scratch; about two hours ahead if using canned or frozen broth.
- Start with 1 quart strong lamb broth, or 2 quarts regular strength (doesn't jelly when refrigerated) lamb broth.
- Add about 1/3 cup each barley and dried split peas. Add water to make about 3 quarts.
- Simmer, covered, about 1 1/4 hours.
- Clean and chop several each carrots, small turnips, and leeks. Add to broth.
- Bring back to simmer and cook until vegetables are done, about 15 minutes.
- If desired, add several leaves of kale, chopped finely, and/or parsley.
- Adjust seasonings and serve, preferably next to a fire, with oatcakes, wrapped in a Shetland wool blanket!