Cooking meat you are not familiar with can be intimidating, but it shouldn't be, it should be exciting to try new things. I would like to start by telling everyone, that although I grew up showing sheep, I don't grow up eating sheep. I can honestly say that I never remember having lamb until I was in my mid-20s, I'm now in my early 30s and it is literally the number 1 meat I eat. That is partly because it is what I sell, but I also really like it and have learned how to cook it. So, I wanted to share the tips I have learned.
Before you prepare.
The first tip I always share with customers applies not only to lamb but all meat processed in a farm-to-table setting. It is best to let your red meat, lamb, beef, bison, get to room temperature before you start preparing it. What I usually do if we are going to be cooking lamb chops is set them on the counter first thing in the morning and right after lunch I will place them in the marinade and leave them on the counter to soak until it is time to cook that evening.
Before you cook.
Not everything requires soaking or needs marinating, but if I'm making chops, roast, stew meat I like to let it soak a little. Personally, I love vinegar and that reflects in my cooking, so my marinade recipe has white vinegar, Bentley's Batch 5 Bloody Mary Mix (which is a bbq sauce-based Bloody Mary mix), and Defaid Emporium Pepper Sauce (more vinegar). I have been told by some that it takes away the flavor of the meat, and to those people, I roll my eyes. Live is short, cook it like you like it.
Cooking Ground Meat
If you are going to brown ground meat, first off know if you are only used to eating beef other meats have different smells when they are cooking. I say that because some people have a hard time with a different smell than they are used to. The second thing when cooking ground lamb, get rid of the grease. Lamb fat cooks very differently than beef fat. So it is best to brown the meat until all of the meat is a light brown color on the outside and then pour it all into a bowl or on a plate with some paper towels, wipe out the bottom of the pan, and put the meat back in the pan. This is some of that, what's your preference thing, I like really crispy ground meat, if you don't like the edges slightly burnt don't cook it like that.
The #1 Rule
When you are cooking anything new things, remember if you mess up the first time that doesn't mean you don't like it. I have many people come in the store and tell me they had lamb once and they didn't like it. My response to that is I have had some really bad steaks before and I still like a really good steak. Personally, I did not grow up eating lamb, so it took me a little bit to learn some of these little tips and tricks. Now lamb is the primary meat I eat.
I hope this helps you have some wonderful lambventurous meals!