What Is Lamb Mince?

Terrie Brockmann

Lamb mince is minced or ground lamb. In many countries where raising sheep is a fundamental agricultural industry, many dishes include minced lamb or minced mutton. Cooks often choose minced meat because it has several advantages over other cuts of meat. One of the advantages is versatility, and there are several ways to cook lamb mince, including baking, grilling, and broiling. Some examples of dishes that traditionally require minced lamb are moussaka, shepherd's pie, and dolmas.

Breadcrumbs may be added as an ingredient to lamb mince.
Breadcrumbs may be added as an ingredient to lamb mince.

There are numerous benefits of using minced lamb for meals. Generally, people grind or mince the smallest pieces of meat and fat during the butchering process, making it a very economical food. Other advantages are that a cook can thoroughly blend seasonings into the minced meat and easily mix it with other minced meats. Cooks can mold the minced lamb into various shapes or wrap it around other ingredients. Some dishes, like dolmas, featured lamb mince wrapped in grape leaves.

Lamb mince is commonly featured in shepherd's pie.
Lamb mince is commonly featured in shepherd's pie.

Food experts categorize lamb as a red meat like pork, beef, and veal. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using minced lamb within one to two days and following all safe cooking rules, such as not thawing it at room temperature. The agency advices cooking lamb mince within three to four days. The recommendation for frozen lamb is to use it within three to four months. Although the agency advises that 145°F (about 63°C) is appropriate for lamb roasts and chops, it recommends a higher internal temperature — 160°F (about 71°C) — for minced products.

One of the most popular minced lamb dishes is moussaka. It is a Greek dish of baked minced lamb layered with eggplant, diced or chopped onions, and tomato sauce. Some cooks add other ingredients, such as potatoes, cheese, and breadcrumbs. As with many recipes, cooks generally rely on recipes that have been handed down through the generations.

A simpler dish is lamburgers. As with the moussaka, different cooks have favorite recipes for making the burgers with minced lamb. Many people use pure lamb mince, but others add ingredients, such as seasonings, breadcrumbs, or died vegetables. The lamburgers may be grilled, pan fried, or baked. One advantage of using the minced meat is that it is easy to combine two types of meat in the burgers.

Often meatloaf is a combination of minced meats. The minced lamb has a delicate flavor, and strongly flavored meats can overpower it. Generally, cooks do not combine lamb with stronger meats, such as spicy sausages. Lamb is a lean meat, and some recipes require adding fat to the dish. In many cuisines, cooks and butchers incorporate tail fat into the lamb mince as they grind the meat chunks.

Lamb mince is harvested from sheep.
Lamb mince is harvested from sheep.

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