Known for its tenderness and delicate, yet rich flavor, lamb is the meat of sheep that are less than 1 year old. Mutton is lamb that is more than 2 years old.
When choosing lamb, look for bright, moist lamb that is not sticky or slimy. The fat on the surface should be white and waxy-looking. Depending on the age of the animal, the color of the flesh should range from pink to pale red. For the freshest flavor, cook lamb on the same day that you buy it. Whole cuts keep best and may be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Ground lamb has a greater area of exposed surfaces and is more susceptible to contamination, so refrigerate it for no more than 2 days.
When freezing lamb, carefully wrap and freeze whole cuts for up to 9 months and ground lamb for up to 4 months. When cooking firmer cuts of lamb, moist-heat cooking methods such as braising, poaching, or stewing help tenderize firmer cuts of lamb, such as shank, breast, shoulder, neck slices, and riblets.
However, when cooking tender cuts of lamb, dry-heat methods such as broiling or grilling work well with tender cuts such as shoulder chops, rib chops, sirloin, butterflied whole leg, leg steaks, and cubed kebabs. Roasting works best for rolled and tied boneless leg and shoulder roasts, or for bone-in leg of lamb.
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