Are you selling more lamb?

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tmiles
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2006/06/01 13:08:57 (permalink)

Are you selling more lamb?

According to the May issue of The Shepherd, lots of restaurants took lamb off the menu last year due to cost. Now that the price is lower, the story suggests that we will see more lamb as restaurant specials for now, and back on to the menus as they are reprinted. I have not seen it here. BTW, of the "major" meats, lamb has the highest pct of total consumption in restaurants.

Is a couple of $$ per lb less for lamb chops enough to get them back on your menu? Is lamb already such a specialty item that a couple of dollars extra in food cost no big deal, and easy to pass on?
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    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/01 13:19:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    BTW, of the "major" meats, lamb has the highest pct of total consumption in restaurants.
    Maybe I haven't had enough coffee but I'm not sure what you mean here?

    For us, we both really like lamb but when the price is too high, we skip it in favor other things we like just as much.
    #2
    mayor al
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/01 13:24:18 (permalink)

    Two related comments about "Sheep Meat".
    1. We used to go to Outback now and then, mainly to get the 'Rack of Lamb' entree, which we enjoyed . A year or so back they dropped the Lamb from the menu and we haven't been back to an Outback since. Their Beef is quite ordinary, but the Lamb was above average at several of the locations we visited.
    2. Lamb may be a 'shrinking item' on some menus, but according to Patrick Bosley, of the Moonlite BBQ (Owensboro, KY) Bosleys, Mutton use is growing in the area. Central Kentucky has always been a Mutton-Que specialty, but using well over 12,000 pounds of Mutton A WEEK keeps the Moonlite customers happy.
    We don't do lamb (or Mutton) at home much...in fact I don't remember the last Lamb we cooked here, but we do order it when we eat out if it sounds and looks good!
    #3
    tmiles
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/01 13:50:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MilwFoodlovers

    quote:
    BTW, of the "major" meats, lamb has the highest pct of total consumption in restaurants.
    Maybe I haven't had enough coffee but I'm not sure what you mean here?

    For us, we both really like lamb but when the price is too high, we skip it in favor other things we like just as much.


    You are right,,,,I was as clear as mud. Rather than do an edit over your post, I'll just restate here. I put quotation marks around "major", because IMO, lamb dropped from the majors to the minors a few years ago. If we compare lamb, to beef, to pork, to chicken and turkey, a far higher percentage of the lamb eaten in the USA is eaten in restaurants than is the competition. Because the USA lamb market is thin, I have heard that the orders of just a few hundred key chiefs can change the market. I can only guess how much it hurt when Outback removed the rack of lamb from the menu.
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    V960
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/01 17:02:25 (permalink)
    I just placed an order for six live lambs from a guy down the road. In the south it is difficult to find lamb except at Easter. I will keep one for myself and sell the others to friends w/ a middle eastern background (was that pc enough?). One guy even likes the taste of mutton so we will keep his animal until fall. I paid $300 for six lambs and will sell four for $150/ea and the mutton chap will go for about $250. I provide a slaughter place for my customers and we generally have a big party...guests of honor (the lambs) leave in plastic bags.

    I see chops for $15/# and shanks for $8/# in the stores. I like rack of lamb and chops but my fav piece is shanks. Rabbit, lamb, suckling pig and chicken are the only animals I still clean myself. Steers and hogs go to the butcher. I will help my BIL work up a deer or two each year just to make sure we have a bit of venison in the freezer.

    But to your question before I drift too much more. When we cater or do street festivals we always bring lamb kabobs. They sell ok but nothing like the chicken ones. I even put together a few dozen mixed meat kabobs one year...lamb, chicken, beef...for the international festival at UNCC one year. The dogs ate well that night. The organ meat kabobs sold better.

    The best chops I've ever had were at a restaurant in Atlanta named the Coach and Six. Double cut chops cooked to prefection. But in general the only stores in the south that have lamb on the menu are white table cloth establishments or Greek places.





    #5
    4fish
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/01 19:10:25 (permalink)
    I love lamb but because it's been so expensive I have little experience in cooking it. So I tend to order it when I'm out rather than attempt to cook it at home and perhaps make a mess of it. Just a guess but there may be a lot of people like me.
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    Jimeats
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/04 06:15:22 (permalink)
    Tmiles, I don't know about your area but up here on the North Shore Lamb prices are holding real strong. The last deal I got on Lamb was at Easter a local market had a sale for whole leg $1.99lb. a loss leader I'm sure. I bought 3 at that price would have bought more but it has a limited shelf life in the freezer. This week they are advertising Tips for $4.99 and shoulder chops for $2.22lb. Is there a season for them anymore? Meaning that more come on the market do to harvesting at a certain time of year, I know at one time that was the case. Chow Jim
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    tmiles
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/05 14:50:15 (permalink)
    Jim, there really isn't a "season" anymore. Locally, F.L.A.M.E. (Farmers Livestock and Marketing Exchange) in Littleton, Mass. handles a lot of Easter lambs, and Easter lambs are usually my own best market. Most New England lambs are born in late Jan or early February, so that one could say that we are in the season for local lamb right now, BUT so much lamb is imported, that local supply lows are more than made up for by imports. Prices are lower as shown by the fact that V960 is paying $50 each for feeder lambs this year. I sold out last year at $100. I held back some Easter lambs that were not quite big enough this year, which turned out to be a mistake. Even as lightweights, I'd have gotten close to $100 for them, and now 6 weeks later, they are twice the size and worth half as much!!
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    dug
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/17 01:57:58 (permalink)
    i am a server in a busy restaurant on chicago's north shore and on frequent occasions the chef prepares a delicious tender slowly braised[with carrot,onion and celery]lamb shank special with roasted vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes for $19.95 and diners love it and want to know when it will be on the special menu again.it's very popular even with those who aren't zealous lamb devotees and we usually sell out.i'm not sure what he's paying for the lamb shank but i beleive it's profit margin is substantial.
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    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/17 07:55:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    I just placed an order for six live lambs from a guy down the road. In the south it is difficult to find lamb except at Easter. I will keep one for myself and sell the others to friends w/ a middle eastern background (was that pc enough?). One guy even likes the taste of mutton so we will keep his animal until fall. I paid $300 for six lambs and will sell four for $150/ea and the mutton chap will go for about $250. I provide a slaughter place for my customers and we generally have a big party...guests of honor (the lambs) leave in plastic bags.

    I see chops for $15/# and shanks for $8/# in the stores. I like rack of lamb and chops but my fav piece is shanks. Rabbit, lamb, suckling pig and chicken are the only animals I still clean myself. Steers and hogs go to the butcher. I will help my BIL work up a deer or two each year just to make sure we have a bit of venison in the freezer.

    But to your question before I drift too much more. When we cater or do street festivals we always bring lamb kabobs. They sell ok but nothing like the chicken ones. I even put together a few dozen mixed meat kabobs one year...lamb, chicken, beef...for the international festival at UNCC one year. The dogs ate well that night. The organ meat kabobs sold better.

    The best chops I've ever had were at a restaurant in Atlanta named the Coach and Six. Double cut chops cooked to prefection. But in general the only stores in the south that have lamb on the menu are white table cloth establishments or Greek places.




    960, How heavy were the lambs you got for $50 each and how heavy will they be when you sell them for $150?
    Just curious as I'm looking into lamb production. I just bought a 100# lamb at .80/lb.
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    V960
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/17 09:40:38 (permalink)
    Hillbilly,
    We never weighed the little critters. I would estimate around sixty to seventy pounds when I get them and not much more when I sell them. The farmer I buy them from also cuts our hay and my wifee keeeps his books so we have a good relationship. Part of the reason I get a premium price is that I provide a slaughter site for the buyers. I dispose of whatever waste they don't want and we have a little party.

    If I were you I would look into Boer goat crosses. Crossed w/ a milk/Boer cross they produce a big animal quickly that due to the influx of the Latinos sells well.

    Check out any local Latino markets and Oriental markets. Both like to get live chickens, this helps you the producer. Live chickens are livestock, a dressed chicken is a meat product. The laws here in NC make selling the latter almost impossible for a small producer but a livestock license is free and there are basically no restrictions on numbers I can sell.
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    doggydaddy
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/17 10:49:31 (permalink)


    Many years ago, the kitchen I worked at would get a whole lamb carcass and from that we would butcher it for the different night's specials. I learned much at this place.
    I have not worked at a restaurant that has served lamb in the last decade it seems, and that was at a high end Italian kitchen that had rack of lamb chops called Agnello Scottadito (Burning fingers as the idea was they could be picked up).

    That said, when I was at the Mohegan Sun, there is a place called Big Bubba's BBQ. I won't say that it is southern authentic, but they did have a leg of Kentucky lamb with mustard BBQ sauce.
    For those who are curious here is the link. http://www.bigbubbasbbq.com/
    As you can see, they charge casino prices and not roadfood cheap for their meals. It was pretty good just by virtue that it was on the menu to begin with.

    I see that there is a side thread about buying lamb. I posted recently that searching for lamb breast (ribs) is a worthwhile endeavor. I have not seen them at a normal market. I have found them at a Latino market nearby and they are a great buy and very flavorful. They lend themselves to a variety of sauces. I make a sauce of mint jelly and dijon mustard....yummy.
    At these same markets, I see that goat is available. There are Jamaican restaurants that feature it too. I think that I will try it soon just to see what that is all about.

    mark
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    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/17 22:52:27 (permalink)
    960, In WV we can seel meat product directly to the consumer as long as a certified/registered/whatever meat processor does the slaughter and cuts and wraps.
    Yea, I've looked into Boers. They bring good money, grow fast and a single nanny often produces more than one at a time. I'm still deciding how to go . . . whether to stick with beef only or diversify. It depends upon the market I find for my all natural pasture fed beef.
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    V960
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/18 20:39:17 (permalink)
    The natural beef should sell well. Goats have a faster turn aound and chickens an even faster one. I have a friend in Goldsboro, NC...not the end of the earth but you can see it from there...who bought a fifth wheel stock trailer for the sole purpose of driving his goats to Washington, DC. Triple the prices he was getting down here.

    Very nice lady at Pleasant Pastures Farm in middle Tennessee makes a couple of road trips each year w/ everything in her truck pre sold through her email list. I found my place and closed our CSA unit after a disaster w/ a few nutcase PETA folks.

    We now market livestock to ethinic minorities. We don't sell meat anymore, we sell live animals at a slightly higher margin. This results in some really good cultural transfers. Me teaching a very wonderful Arabic lady how to make cornbread w/ no meat products and her in turn showing me how to make hummus from scratch (no canned beans).

    Our lamb is something strange however. We finish it w/ sweet feed, cracked corn and beer. The customers are almost all Muslem. We had long discussions about the beer and Iman at the local mosque said it was ok.
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    lleechef
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/18 22:51:45 (permalink)
    I would rather eat lamb than beef, pork or chicken. Our restaurant doesn't currently have it on the menu, but at my restaurant in Hamilton, MA I put braised lamb shanks with caramelized garlic and onions in red wine on one winter. Changed the menu in the spring and went to a rack of lamb.........there was a revolt! OH! We came here for the lamb shank! Ok, change the menu, use the racks as a special and put those shanks back on. They never came off.

    From my butcher in South Boston I once ordered an entire shoulder of lamb. The guy on the phone says, "are you sure?" Of course I'm sure! I went to pick it up and they all looked at me like I was nuts. So finally they asked, "What are you gonna do with it?" To which I replied, "Bone it, stuff it and braise it....any more questions?"

    We get really good lamb at Costco........chops, rack, leg, we like them all.
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    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/18 22:52:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    The natural beef should sell well. Goats have a faster turn aound and chickens an even faster one. I have a friend in Goldsboro, NC...not the end of the earth but you can see it from there...who bought a fifth wheel stock trailer for the sole purpose of driving his goats to Washington, DC. Triple the prices he was getting down here.

    Very nice lady at Pleasant Pastures Farm in middle Tennessee makes a couple of road trips each year w/ everything in her truck pre sold through her email list. I found my place and closed our CSA unit after a disaster w/ a few nutcase PETA folks.

    We now market livestock to ethinic minorities. We don't sell meat anymore, we sell live animals at a slightly higher margin. This results in some really good cultural transfers. Me teaching a very wonderful Arabic lady how to make cornbread w/ no meat products and her in turn showing me how to make hummus from scratch (no canned beans).

    Our lamb is something strange however. We finish it w/ sweet feed, cracked corn and beer. The customers are almost all Muslem. We had long discussions about the beer and Iman at the local mosque said it was ok.


    WOW! that is all VERY cool 960! I wish I had such a market around here. . . although, perhaps I just haven't looked or explored . . . we do have some small ethnic communities not too far away.
    Thanks for the info and ideas.
    Cna you recommend any web sites or other sources of info for such endeavors?
    Regards,
    WVHb
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    V960
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/19 09:49:30 (permalink)
    Hillbilly,
    A few to start w/
    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/chatham/ag/SustAg/calendar.html
    http://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/
    http://journeytoforever.org/farm.html
    http://www.ssawg.org/

    lleechef,
    I had a catering joob once that wanted osso bucco. I couldn't find enough veal shanks for the job. Lady accepted the substitution and now insists on the lamb for her parties.
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    tmiles
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/19 12:53:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WVHillbilly

    960, In WV we can seel meat product directly to the consumer as long as a certified/registered/whatever meat processor does the slaughter and cuts and wraps.
    Yea, I've looked into Boers. They bring good money, grow fast and a single nanny often produces more than one at a time. I'm still deciding how to go . . . whether to stick with beef only or diversify. It depends upon the market I find for my all natural pasture fed beef.


    I've had goats. They were smarter than I was, and they loved to get away. They always came back in their own good time, but sometimes ate my friend's shrubs first. 42 inch Electronet from Premier will keep them in, but the cost will really eat into your margin.
    #18
    tmiles
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    RE: Are you selling more lamb? 2006/06/19 13:39:12 (permalink)
    To get back on topic the facts in this month's Shepherd magazine seem to point to lower lamb prices. (this is the next issue after the one that I started this thread with) There is lots of frozen lamb in storage and most of the new crop lamb has not gone onto feed yet. Feeder lamb prices are down $30 cwt from a year ago and growers don't want to sell at that price. Feeders, seeing a tough market at the back end, want to pay even less. The writer expects a lot of lamb to be sold "off the mountain" at very low prices later this summer. IMO, if you are not at least thinking of selling more lamb, and especially grass fed lamb, you may be missing out on a low food cost item.
    #19
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