Medium rare lamb is safe to eat. According to USDA, lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) and no less. If your medium rare steak is cooked to this temperature, this is just fine.
This is because any meat that is undercooked can harbor harmful bacteria. Cooking meat properly kills the bacteria and parasites that cause food poisoning, which hospitalizes 128,000 Americans each year.
Lamb is often underrated but incredibly delicious meat that you can incorporate into your meal plan. It has a distinct and delicious taste that is very different from beef, pork, and chicken, and there are tons of cuts you can experiment with.
In this article, I will discuss lamb, how to prepare lamb and if eating medium rare lamb is safe for you.
What is the lamb?
A lamb is a sheep that is a year old or younger. When it is between one and two years old, it is known as a yearling. The meat gotten from them is called lamb meat.
Being rich in high-quality protein and many vitamins and minerals, lamb can be an excellent component of a healthy diet. According to USDA, 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of roasted lamb provides the following nutrients;
- Calories: 258
- Water: 57%
- Protein: 25.6g
- Carbs: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Fat: 16.5g
Can you eat lamb medium rare?
It is safe to eat lamb medium rare. The risks of getting sick are low because bacteria are mostly concentrated at the surface rather than inside. The method of cooking ensures that these bacteria are destroyed before eating.
Consuming lamb rare can be dangerous, and this is because it has been linked with Toxoplasma gondii, a type of parasitic illness. But medium rare is just fine.
As earlier mentioned, it is recommended to cook your lamb meat to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) when whole and 165°F (74°C) when ground.
When the lamb has been cooked to this internal temperature, it is safe to assume the bacteria on the surface and the parasites inside it have been killed.
Thus, the lamb is safe for human consumption, especially for the eater with a weakened immune system.
Best method for cooking a rack of lamb medium rare
The method of cooking the rack of lamb is firstly roasting it for 15 minutes, then using a foil to cover the lamb loosely and continue to roast the lamb.
Roast until the thermometer inserted in the center of meat in a diagonal manner provides 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At 120℉ temperature from inside, also cook it for more than 5 to 10 minutes.
The United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) recommends using a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of steaks and roasts.
Dangers of eating undercooked lamb?
1. Food-borne illnesses
Eating undercooked lamb can cause Listeria monocytogenes, an infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria.
2. Can cause trichinosis
Trichinosis is caused by a parasitic roundworm in the raw and insufficiently heated flesh of various types of animals. It is caused by eating or drinking something that has been contaminated by the roundworm’s larvae.
Pro tips for preparing your lamb
1. Use a digital meat thermometer
As a meat lover, a great tool to have is a meat thermometer. This tool will make sure you cook your lamb to the recommended temperature.
These thermometers are the key to cooking lamb, pork, chicken, and steak perfectly. The internal temperatures for different cooked levels of lamb are;
- Rare lamb should be cooked to 125 degrees
- Medium rare lamb should be cooked to 145 degrees
- Medium lamb should be cooked to 150 degrees
- Medium well lamb should be cooked to 155 degrees
- Well done lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees and above.
2. Try brining your lamb
A great way to add more flavor to your lamb is to brine the meat for around 30 – 60 minutes before cooking it.
Brining is a process of using water and salt to help meat absorb more moisture into them, which prevents it from drying out once cooked. This process boosts the flavor, mostly for the thinner cuts.
You make sure you allow your brine solution cool properly before adding your lamb into the solution. If you add it when it is still hot, the outside part of the lam will seize up, This is not a great for the texture.
3. Season the lamb before cooking
If you do not have time to make a brine for your lamb meat, you can still enhance the flavor by seasoning the lamb with a good amount of salt.
Salt awakens your taste buds so that we can taste all the subtle flavors of the lamb you are cooking. You also want to rub your lamb chop in a little olive oil before adding your salt to help it stick.
Lamb is typically a leaner kind of meat, so adding a little extra fat can help with the crisping process and let the seasoning stick better. Feel free to add some pepper too.
SEE: Top Red Meat Animals
4. Try making a marinade
A marinade is a liquid you soak different foods in, generally meats. This is to give them more flavor and to tenderize the texture since lamb can be a leaner cut of meat, which makes it a little more prone to drying out as it cooks.
Marinating is a great way to add extra flavor and maintain a moist and juicy texture, regardless of the cut of lamb you are using. You can use your favorite vinegar, pineapple juice, citrus juice, or wine, and then add salt, garlic, spices, sugars, and herbs.
When brining your meat, you don’t need a marinade and vice versa. Although, if you do brine your chops, you could make a yummy little dry rub out of some herbs and spices for a little burst of flavor.
How do you know if the lamb is undercooked?
Firmly press several sections of the meat. If the lamb meat tenders easily but is firm, it is probably medium-rare. Firmer texture and feel indicate better-cooked meat.
Is lamb better rare or medium rare?
Medium rare is a safer option as it is cooked to a safer degree.
Is it safe to eat undercooked lamb?
Eating undercooked meat is dangerous. You expose yourself to bacteria and parasites if you do so.
What are the popular lamb dishes?
Popular lamb dishes include rack of lamb with red wine sauce, lamb chops, lamb kebabs, and roast leg of lamb.
Conclusion: Can you eat lamb medium rare?
You can eat medium rare lamb and it is healthy meat. The risk of getting sick is low because the bacteria is mostly concentrated at the surface rather than the inside. Cooking ensures these bacteria are destroyed before eating.
You should avoid rare and undercooked lamb as it might be unhealthy. Especially for children, nursing mothers, and the elderly, as it weakens their immune system.
I hope you enjoyed this article, you should also see the difference between goat and lamb.
Thank you for reading this article.