Lamb meat from younger lambs is also tenderer than meat from older sheep and fatter lambs. A good way to test for doneness is by inserting a fork and gently twisting it; the more it twists easily, the more rare the lamb.
The taste and texture of lamb depending on the age and activity level of the sheep. Young lambs from dairy breeds are usually delicate in flavor and tender enough for quick-cooking methods such as grilling. Older lambs from non-dairy breeds become stronger and gamier in taste and tougher in texture. Some people think lamb has a "gamey" taste, similar to the wild flavor of venison.
Lamb chops or cutlets prepared by dry-heat methods, such as broiling or roasting, tend to be at their best when from young lambs. The meat is tender enough for quick cooking and mild enough in flavor for many tastes. Milk-fed lamb is extremely tender but lacks the "lamb" flavor common to other breeds.
Lamb from older sheep may be cooked as pot roasts or as shanks braised with vegetables. Regardless of age, lamb should always be well done, as even young lambs can be tough as sinew and connective tissue develop.
Lamb is traditionally considered to be a highly prized meat in many cultures, including those of North Africa, the Middle East, India, Greece, France, Italy, and Portugal. Although it has been enjoyed for thousands of years by people all over the world today the first sheep were domesticated between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago.
In Australia, the majority of lambs are slaughtered between four to six months of age as a result of finishing the sheep on pasture before slaughter. However, this is not true for all sheep farming in Australia; some farmers rear their lambs on grain-based supplements before finishing them on grass for an average of three months. "A quality eating lamb will have the appearance of a bright, cherry-red in color and be evenly colored with small flecks of white fat."
Lamb is often basted on the grill with butter, garlic, or other flavorings to add moisture and prevent it from drying out. Lamb can be cooked in a variety of ways including roasting, barbecuing, and braising. Lamb is generally considered to be best when cooked rare or medium-rare; however, even well-done lamb can be tender if handled properly.