Welcome to the Forum Larry, glad that you found us!!
In answer to your questions. . .
A: A lamb shoulder roast is usually 6-7 pounds. Due to the difficulty in carving these most butchers will bone them and sell them as a Rolled Shoulder Roast. Others will precut the shoulder into chops and then retie the shoulder to resemble the original roast. After you roast the shoulder all you need to do is cut the strings used to hold the roast together and serve. The drawback to this is the roast will tend to dry out during cooking.
B: Leg of Lamb has many variations:
1) "Frenched" where the shank is deboned at the knee joint and the shank meat is then tucked into a pocket cut into the leg.
2) Whole leg of lamb which is the whole leg including the hock (leg portion above the knee joint.
3) Leg of lamb (Traditional) shank above the knee has been removed
4) Center Leg roast which is made up from the sirloin, butt and shank
5) Boneless Leg of Lamb this cut is traditionally sold to Restaurants
A traditional Leg of Lamb can weigh anywhere from 8-12 pounds depending on the age of the lamb at the time of slaughter.
C: Only the hind legs are used for Leg of Lamb.
I hope this helps answers your questions. How are you planning to do you lamb? We also have a "Lamb" Thread under the heading "Smoking Meats (and other things).
Have fun with the forum and don't be afraid to ask your questions. We're on this forum to help each other out and to give encouragement.
I have also never cooked lamb. It is a food that neither my wife or I had growing up so we do not prepared it either. I've eaten it at a restaurant and it wasn't very good, but have heard that lamb is better than that and the restaurant may have been serving meat from and older animal.
Welcome to the group! I'm glad you found us! Just settle in and prepare to enjoy sharing a lot of useful information.
EarlD seems to have covered everything as far as the different cuts. As far as sausage recipes go, I'm afraid I can't be much help. At the moment, I don't own a meat grinder (at least not yet, however I have dropped a few hints for the Christmas wish list). Therefore, I have no personal experience in making my own sausage. ShaneHoltz and others have posted many times on the subject and have posted a good deal of info on the subject. Also, Ranger72 posted an excellent recipe for roast lamb in the thread titled "Smoke roasted lamb."
I am a big fan of Lamb, and have enjoyed it prepared many different ways, either grilled over direct flame or roasted in the oven. I am still experimenting with lamb in the smoker, but rest assured that once I discover the perfect "home run" recipe, I will share it here.
Best of luck with your new hobby. We all look forward to sharing in your experiences in the thin blue smoke!
Hi, Larry and welcome! For a wealth of sausage recipes I would suggest the following site: www.stuffers.com
There is a recipe for Moroccan Lamb Sausage there that seems to be a good one. Here are a few suggestions.
Run the lamb through a 1/8 plate first then mix all the other ingredients with the lamb meat and then run it all through the grinder again on the same plate and stuff it into casings at the same time. Twist off at about five inches and I would suggest no nore than a 32/35mm casing.
If you want to prepare your sausage meat without casings I would suggest the following: Per pound of meat I would add about 1/2 half cup bread crumbs and 1 large egg. Prepare a day ahead and refrigerate overnight. Form into oval patties about 3/4 inch thick, brush with olive oil and grill about three minutes per side. Bear in mind that there is very little fat in this recipe and that you must not over cook the patties or the cased sausage. Hope this has helped you!
Larry, I forgot to mention in my earlier post that a whole lamb hanging weight is between 75-90 pounds. As a general rule you can figure that approx. 10-15% of the hanging weight will be tossed as waste. A completely boned lamb will have as much as 30-40%.
Another idea for case-less sausage (Good post BTW, SIR Monty :D ) is to roll you sausage in plastic wrap at whatever diameter and length that you want; tie off the ends of the plastic wrap and parboil the sausage for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the pan, allow to cool and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to cook remove the plastic wrap and smoke, broil or grill.
NOTE: This method is best used for sausage that has a very low fat content. Meat with a higher fat content will fall apart when you unwrap them as the fat content has been rendered out.
Thanks for the compliment, "Mr. Magnificent"! :D From what I have garnered from your posts you are truly knowledgeable in the area of meat and a good word from you is worth a thousand compliments from the "crowd".
With a little luck I will be processing a few lambs of my own next fall!