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The Health of It All

Lean Cuts of Lamb

My mother's favorite restaurant is a Turkish place in Mclean, Virginia, called Kazan. This is the place for lamb and they serve some of the leanest most flavorful cuts. The Kazan Lamb Special is fantastic. It is served with fresh yogurt and the most succulent eggplant you will ever eat.

Lamb is easy for you to cook at home and still eat healthy. It has only a little more fat than pork and is very lean—often leaner than beef. A four-ounce serving averages 170 calories and 6 grams of fat. That compares well with beef tenderloin at 180 calories and nine grams of fat.

As with all red meats, look in the butcher's case for leaner cuts. This is easy with lamb because most cuts are only lightly marbled and excess fat is easily trimmed.

Below are sample cuts. For lamb kabobs, I use lean lamb shoulder and trim it well. Well-trimmed rib chops make for fine grilling. Generally two chops are 4 ounces of lean meat.


Rib chops Loin chops Leg of lamb Lamb shoulder
Calories 192 162 145 163
Fat grams 10.4 6.7 5.1 7.7
Sodium mg 82 77 70 79
Saturated Fat grams 3.7 2.4 1.8 2.7
Cholesterol mg 75 75 73 75
Mono-unsaturated Fat grams 4.2 2.7 2.0 3.1
Poly-unsaturated Fat grams 0.95 0.61 0.46 0.70