Five major cuts of a butchered lamb provide all the remaining retail cuts. Those five are the shoulders, rack, legs, loin and breast. A lamb rib comes from a section of the body that butchers call the rack. There are nine ribs on each side of a lamb rack, and they span the lamb’s back, directly behind its shoulders.
To get the ribs, butchers usually make a cut along the middle of the rack and separate it into two halves. Each half contains a thin bone attached to a round muscle, or chop, on the opposite end. When lamb ribs arrive at a retail meat market, the butcher usually packages each half of the whole rack separately. One then can buy all or part of half of a rack.
A lamb rib roast traditionally combines two halves of a rack. A regular lamb rib roast combines two halves of a lamb rack by arranging the ribs and chops into the shape of a log or roast. The ribs face in opposing directions.
To create a standing rack of lamb, retail butchers separate the ribs from the two halves of a rack of lamb. They make cuts through the meat attached to each rib and create nine chops of equal size. They arrange the chops from the two rack halves in a circular pattern, with the ribs pointing up. They then tie the two rack sections with butcher’s twine with the lamb rib bones facing the inside.
A lamb rib roast is ready to cook when it leaves the grocery store. Once seasoned, one places the roast in a shallow pan and cooks the rack for 15 to 30 minutes, until the thickest part of the rack reaches an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit (62.7° Celsius). The roast should be allowed to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Sheep are the world’s oldest-known domesticated food animals. Historical records show that humans have used them for food for at least 9,000 years. The earliest records suggest that domestication of sheep began in the Middle East.
Lambs are young sheep that are slaughtered for food before they reach 1 year of age. A lamb slaughtered within six to eight weeks of birth is called a baby lamb. Lambs marked as "spring lamb" are traditionally slaughtered between March and October, normally within five months of birth. The flavor of young lamb is milder than that of an adult lamb. Spring lambs and baby lambs are only fed milk during their life span, a practice that keeps the meat tender.