Nutritional and cutting characteristics of sheep meat

Lamb meat is classified in red or white depending on the age of the animal and its diet. The meat of adult animals, pascual and ovine major, has a red color more intense than that of young animals, suckling lamb or ternasco, which is more rosacea. The reddish coloration of the meats is due to the content of myoglobin, an iron-containing pigment found in the muscle fibers.


Lamb is one of the animals with the highest percentage of fat concentrated in some of its parts, mainly in the form of saturated fat – Cholesterol. In young specimens, most fat is around the viscera and under the skin, so that it can be easily removed. This reduces the intake of saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. This does not happen in the case of the older sheep, because much of the fat is inside the muscle fibers and can not be eliminated. As for proteins, lamb meat is an important source of them and also its quality is very good. Of its vitamins stand out those of group B, especially B2 and B12, and to a lesser extent, B1 and B3. Vitamin B2 or, intervenes in the defenses and in the production of red blood cells. Vitamin B12, which is found only in foods of animal origin, is involved in the formation of hemoglobin and its deficiency can cause a type of anemia and nervous system disorders. As for minerals, lamb meat is a good source of iron, a type of iron that is easily absorbed. This nutrient is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and an adequate supply of it prevents iron deficiency anemia. Also important are the contribution of phosphorus, sodium and zinc. Phosphorus, involved in the nervous system and muscle activity, and zinc, has antioxidant action and intervenes in the development of sexual organs, sense of taste and smell.
Its consumption is advisable for healthy people of any age as long as the quantity and frequency with which this meat is taken is moderate. Lamb meat has interesting nutritional qualities, however it has a high fat content. It is for this reason that when there is excess weight, or problems of cholesterol or elevated triglycerides have to control their consumption and try to choose parts with less fat like the leg. If other types of pieces such as ribs are consumed, it is necessary to remove visible fat and cook them with low fat: baked, grilled or grilled.


Cutting sheep and goats is very simple, especially in the case of lambs, which are divided into leg, rib and shoulder, including the latter the neck. In addition, the lamb’s canal includes the kidneys.
The types of cut of the ovine meat are very easy to remember, the main ones are those that we can see in the image superior: Head, neck, chest, chops (needle, center and kidney), rib, skirt, chair, (Or gigot) and handyman.
Cutting of goats is similar to ovine The distribution by categories of these cuts are:

Extra Category

  • Chops: In the chops we find three parts, the ones of needle, the ones near the neck, those of the center, also known like chops of palo and that are the most appreciated, and those of the kidney, that are close to the low back and not  have ribs. They are ideal for broiling, frying, grilling.
  • Rib: In the lower part of the loin is the rib, it is the boneless meat of the chops that are also usually roasted, fried, grilled, etc.
  • Noisette: From boned and boned loin, with skirt and ribs part, cuts are taken as exquisite medallions for frying or grilling.

Category 1

  • Leg: They are the legs back, they are made whole, to fillets, boned … it is a cut very prized for different types of culinary elaborations, from roasts to stews.
  • Chair: This is one of the most appreciated cuts, whole as well as boned and chopped, is ideal for roasts. Sometimes it accompanies the leg, and there is a cut that is known as baron which is composed of both legs and chair. It should also be noted that the cut that collects both legs is called Double. It is known by the name of Chop to a cut of the chair, ideal for grilling or grilling.

Category 2

  • Paletilla: The front legs are the shoulders, smaller than the legs, very tasty and juicy, with a higher proportion of fat, which provides a very tender meat, excellent for roasting whole, although you can also cut and make exquisite stews with it.
  • Brazuelo: Lean meat, with fat and gelatinous texture, is prepared in stews, pucheros, stews and broth

Category 3

  • Head: It is composed mainly by offal, which are especially appreciated if they come from young animals, brains, tongue …
  • Neck: The neck or neck is a very economical and very appropriate cut to make stews, stews, bottoms … provides an exquisite flavor to the whole and is very juicy and tender.
  • Skirt: The skirt covers the wall of the abdomen, between the legs and under the spine, fibrous and with gelatinous pearl, it is an ideal cut for cooking.
  • Handyman: They can be boned or boned (we will never forget those that Fatima prepares for us). They can be made in sauce, battered, stewed, etc.
  • Chest: The chest is also very tasty, is between the neck and the skirt retaining a significant proportion of fat, is ideal to make a ragus or stew.


  • Asadura: Lungs, liver and heart, usually prepare encebollados, fried, stews …
  • Gizzards: Gizzards designate the gland known as ‘thymus’, are tender and tasty, ideal to batter, fry, saute or stew.
  • Liver: Very appreciated for different elaborations, from stews and fillings, to pâtés. It has great nutritive value and is easy to digest
  • Kidneys: Also very prized for making stews.
  • Callos or revoltillo: As we know, it is the stomach of the animal. It is prepared in casseroles and sometimes with the little hands with the bone.
  • Handyman: they are commercialized peeled and they prepare stews in sauce
  • Crickets or Classes: The testicles of lamb are usually made with batter and fried.
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Montse Gonzalez