Lamb is considered one of the healthiest foods. But how do you like your lamb? Lamb is the favorite meat of many people. It has a delicate flavor, and it’s also very tender and juicy.
It’s a meat that you often serve either medium-rare or thoroughly cooked. But can it be served rarer than that? The debate about whether lamb should be cooked rare or not is a pretty heated one.
In this article, we explore the truth behind whether lamb can be served rare or not and the effects it has on your health.
Can Lamb Be Rare?
Yes, lamb can be rare. Most people cook lamb to a minimum of medium-rare, which most restaurants serve. However, some cuts of lamb are better served as rare.
Lamb should be cooked to 135°F (57°C) for medium and 160°F (71°C) for well-done. The meat will be firm but slightly yielding to the touch, and it will also have a light pink tinge. You can also cook it at 120ᵒF-125ᵒF to make lamb very rare.
This temperature will kill off any bacteria that cause foodborne illness and ensure that the meat is safe to eat.
Is Lamb Actually Better Rare?
Lamb is the meat of a sheep less than 12 months old. Older sheep are known as mutton and are not common in the United States.
It would be best if you indeed ate your lamb rarely done. The reason for this is that the enzymes in your mouth can break down the meat fibers, making them easier to digest.
These enzymes become inactive when cooked and can’t do their job. So you’ll likely get more nutrients from your meal if eaten rare.
Most people have been taught that lamb needs to be cooked until it’s well done. The reason for this is that there are a lot of bacteria on the outside of raw meat, and if we don’t cook it thoroughly enough, we could end up getting sick.
This is why most recipes for lamb call for it to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
People have eaten lamb for thousands of years. As with most meat and fish, you can prepare it in several ways. The best way to cook lamb depends on:
- the type of lamb you have
- how much money do you have to spend
- how nice you want your evening to be (or how hungry you are)
When you’re cooking a medium to a well-done piece of meat, you’re turning the protein fibers in the meat into a solid state by using heat. This process is called denaturing, and it makes the meat tough and dry.
According to the USDA, to make lamb (or mutton) “rare,” the meat must be cooked to no lower than 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
This temperature will kill off any bacteria that cause foodborne illness and ensure that the meat is safe to eat. However, it will not cook out the gaminess of gamey meats such as venison.
The color of meat has nothing to do with the doneness of meat. A good steak will have a dark brown crust on the outside, but it should be bright red inside.
Lamb and pork are usually pink or red, but that doesn’t mean they are rare. When you cook lamb or pork to the point of being reddish all the way through, it is overcooked.
It’s also worth noting that lamb is a type of red meat that contains high saturated fat and cholesterol levels. This is especially true when the lamb is cooked well or above medium-rare.
What Is The Difference Between Rare, Medium, And Well Done?
Did you know that the meat you’re eating can be rare, medium, or well done? It’s true. Most people don’t realize that the temperatures at which the meat is cooked are not universal. So, how do you know what temperature to cook your meat at?
The simple answer is that you need to learn to use a meat thermometer. If you don’t, every time you make steak or a burger for someone, you run a risk of getting it wrong. The worst part is, people will tell you about it!
The three different cooking temperatures for meat are often a source of confusion. Many people have heard that rare is red, the medium is pink, and well done is brown, but they are confused when they look at their meat and see something in between.
The fact is that the color has only a little to do with how done the meat is. The natural way to tell if your steak is done is by touch, sight, and smell. The color of the meat indicates that the muscle fibers have started to break down, and the juices are starting to leak out.
This is a good thing, but only if you like the taste of well-done meat. The best way to test for doneness without cutting into your steak is to use the “touch test.” Press on the steak with your finger:
- When you press on a rare steak, it will feel soft and squishy.
- When you press on a medium-rare steak, it will still be firm, giving slightly to pressure.
- When you press on a well-done steak, it will feel hard.
Rare is a steak with a reddish-pink color and a bloody center. Medium-rare is more cooked than rare but still pink in the middle. Medium is cooked through but still a little bit red in the middle. Well done is thoroughly cooked through and brown throughout.
Fibers that haven’t been solidified in rare lamb meat ensure they’re tender and juicy.
The best way to ensure thoroughly cooked lamb is to use a meat thermometer and cook until the temperature reaches 145 degrees for medium-rare.
When you’re cooking an entire roast, take it out when the internal temperature reaches 115 degrees because it will continue to cook as it rests. So, there is no need to worry about eating undercooked lamb if you follow these simple guidelines.
People think that the best way to cook a lamb is by roasting or slow cooking it. But is this the case? No! Roasted and slow-cooked lamb is prone to drying out. The best way is to spit-roast the lamb.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Lamb Rare?
A delicious, juicy, rare steak is the perfect way to end a long day. But there’s more to eating rare meat than just flavor. With all the health benefits of eating lamb rare, it is a shame when people opt for the well-done version. Lamb is a healthy food, and it tastes great too.
Here are some of the health benefits of eating lamb rare:
One of the most popular arguments for eating meat is that it’s healthier cooked thoroughly. However, the opposite may be true: some experts suggest that rare meat has more nutrients and can help you avoid cancer.
The disease-fighting power comes from a cap on the surface of cells called a telomere. The longer your telomeres are, the longer you can live.
Researchers found that when you eat red meat well done, it also cooks the telomeres on your cells. That causes inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease and cancer.
Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease
Studies have indicated that rare meat contains less saturated fat and cholesterol than cooked meat. Lamb is very lean meat that can be high in cholesterol if you cook it too long. Lamb is best when eaten rare; there will be less fat if you eat it rarely done.
The fat levels in lamb drop even further if cooked with the skin on, making it tastier.
High In Protein
Lamb is one of the top sources of protein out there. Cooking the lamb rare will keep more nutrition than cooking it at a higher temperature. This means that if you eat it rarely done, you will get more protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B, which are essential for a healthy diet.
An Alternative To Other Red Meat
Lamb is an excellent alternative for people who want to eat red meat but worry about its unhealthy effect on cancer.
If you love lamb and want to enjoy it without fearing the harmful fat content, try eating it rare or medium-rare. Research suggests that rare or medium-rare lamb contains lesser fat than typically cooked lamb.
A rare lamb is better than a well-done lamb. If you’re cooking a leg of lamb, consider using a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches a safe internal temperature.
We hope this article has given you some great insight into the health benefits of eating rare lamb and why you shouldn’t avoid it. Lamb is an excellent source of protein, zinc, iron, and B vitamins, and we encourage everyone to try cooking lamb rare to reap the benefits!