Photos by Adam Finkle
We may associate lamb in Utah with the arrival of spring, but here and throughout the world, we savor it year round. With local ranchers and vendors dabbling in herding, lamb in Utah has become a surprising local tradition.
Pasture to Plate
A Utah Tradition
Jamie Gilmore’s family has been raising lamb for generations, but in 2001, he and his wife Linda started marketing Morgan Valley Lamb to Utah’s burgeoning restaurant scene. The sweet organic meat became a chef’s staple and the family story, a media darling.
In 2012, Gilmore’s family decided they wanted to sell the ranch. It looked like the end of the line for lamb.
Then Wes Crandall, owner of another heritage Utah ranch, Jones Creek Beef, stepped in. Crandall’s family used to raise lambs, and he did not want to let another old family business disappear. “I got together with Jamie and offered to run Morgan Valley Lamb as part of Jonas Creek, preserving the brand and the continuing the philosophy of raising all-natural lamb—no hormones, no steroids. Jamie still has a hand in it.”
Lamb fell out of popularity for awhile, says Crandall, but people are rediscovering it in the context of other cuisines.
Morgan Valley supplies lamb for shawarmas and kabobs, lamb belly and lamb bacon (great for the Jewish community), and bratwurst as well as chorizo and sausage with herbes de Provence—even the merguez sausages used in the Machine Gun sandwiches at Bruges Waffles & Frites.
Morganvalleylamb.com. Black Cherry Market and Liberty Heights Fresh sell Morgan Valley lamb and lamb products.
Dining Out: Prime Spots for Lamb in Utah
111 E. Broadway, SLC,
Chef Ryan Lowder gives braised lamb shanks a North African accent with chermoula,pomegranate, pistachio tahini, parsnip, olives and citrus. $27
224 S. 1300 East, SLC,
Lamb tacos at Aristo’s are a backward flip on Greek-style lamb, folding pulled lamb, horiatiki pico, mint and feta in a tortilla. Better order two. $5
255 S. West Temple, SLC,
Lavish double cut lamb chops rubbed with Moroccan spices, sided with tahini-potato puree and preserved peppers. Order two chops for $42 or three for $55.
402 E. Harvey Milk Blvd.,
Little lamb riblets are called paidakia here—grilled and topped with a caper chimichurri and sea salt. $14
Firewood on Main
306 Main Street, Park City,
Chef John Murcko serves a fire-grilled lamb chop on chicory salad extravagantly accompanied by a confit duck leg on cassoulet.
Of course, rosemary is involved. $43
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