Lamb racks up fans with new cuts, hip new attitude

There are fashions in meat, as in all things, but… Are you ready for lamb bacon?

That’s just one of the new dishes popping up on menus across the country as chefs experiment with American lamb, a trend driven partly by a concerted effort on the part of producers to shake off lamb’s dated image. Fussy crown roasts topped by tricky little frilled caps — out. “Lamb Jams,” cooking contests featuring local chefs getting their grill on — in.

“We’re definitely trying to approach a whole new generation and make lamb more approachable,” said Megan Wortman, executive director of the Denver-based American Lamb Board.

Why lamb now?

New Hampshire sheep farmer Jeff Conrad sees the trend as riding the wave of eating local. “People want to know where their food’s coming from,” he said. Conrad, who with his wife, Liz, runs Riverslea Farm near Epping, has noticed an increase in people buying lamb cuts for everyday meals, as opposed to previous years when he sold mainly whole animals to families looking to have a party.

“Ground lamb? We can’t even keep that around,” he said.

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