Like beef, lamb has a few cuts, each with its own culinary purpose. While some cuts are versatile, others require a specific cooking method. The top round of lamb has a rich flavor and is quite tender. It's ideal for grilling, roasting or pan-roasting. But, top round is newer to the market, so not all stores carry it. If you're having trouble finding it or you're not a fan of lamb, you have alternatives.
Leg of Lamb
A leg of lamb is much larger than top round. It's typically sold in 5 to 9 pound packages, while the round comes in 1- to 2-pound cuts. But, the leg contains the juicy sirloin and shank. Use a boneless leg of lamb instead of a top round for easier cooking and carving. Leg of lamb can be grilled and roasted similar to top round. Legs of lamb should be cooked to rare or medium-rare, which means that they should reach an internal temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 135 F to prevent drying out.
Beef Top Round Roast
Beef top round roasts are tender and yield a distinct flavor. These are lean, similar to lamb meat, but won't dry as quickly as other cuts of beef. Beef top round roasts can be grilled, pan roasted or roasted in the oven similar to lamb. Both lamb roasts and beef top round roasts taste best when cooked rare to medium-rare, or when they meet an internal temperature ranging from 120 F to 135 F.
Pork Loin Roast
Pork loin roasts are the most tender portions of the pig, but they're also the leanest. Unlike lamb, pork must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F, which is considered well-done. But, a pork loin roast is very tender and soaks up flavorings well, similar to a lamb top roast. Pork loin roast can be seared on the grill, but it's best when fully cooked by oven roasting.
Lamb loin roasts can be pricey but yield a very tender, flavorful roast. Boneless lamb loin roasts are referred to as loin rolls or boneless loin roasts. These can substitute a lamb top roast but require longer cooking times. Season the lamb loin similar to the top round. Lamb loins taste best when oven-roasted but can be pan-roasted and grilled, too. Cook lamb loins similar to leg of lamb, aiming for rare to medium-rare internal temperature when done.
- The Good Housekeeping Cookbook; Susan Westmoreland
- Saveur: A Guide to Lamb Cuts
- Real Simple: Lamb
- The Cook's Thesaurus: Lamb Loin Cuts
- What's Cooking America: Internal Temperature Cooking Chart
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