Dine & Drink: After Taste of Vail, get inspired to cook lamb (video) | VailDaily.com

Dine & Drink: After Taste of Vail, get inspired to cook lamb (video)

For 14 years, the Lamb Cook Off and Apres Ski Tasting has been a crowd pleaser during the Taste of Vail. Nearly two-dozen restaurants featured lamb dishes highlighting global flavors and trends, from chargrilled lamb rogan josh to roasted lamb banh mi to a smokey lamb ramen bowl.

Sweet Basil took home top honors with their Oaxacan lamb barbacoa, mezcal salsa borracha, Navajo fry bread and watercress. Beano's Cabin earned the people's choice award for their lamb cheesesteak sandwich.

If any of those dishes inspired you to cook with lamb, here are a few tips from the American Lamb Board, which sponsored the cook-off event.

According to the American Lamb Board's website, here are a few handling and storage tips. Fresh or thawed lamb roasts and chops can be used within 3-5 days. Fresh or thawed ground lamb and stew meat should be used within 1-2 days. Lamb can be thawed in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. If thawing in cold water or the microwave, lamb must be used right away.

Some cooking basics to follow include bringing lamb to room temperature before cooking and allow the lamb to rest after cooking. The internal temperature of cooked meat will rise, so you'll want to remove it from the oven or grill and pull your lamb from the heat whenever it is 10 degrees lower than your desired doneness. Invest in a meat thermometer so you can take out the guesswork. Do not cut into the meat to check for doneness.

With the warmer weather heading our way this spring and summer, try grilling lamb. Preheat gas or charcoal grills to a medium high heat. It's best to keep the grill lid off for cuts that cook quickly, such as chops, so you can monitor doneness.

Recommended Stories For You

You don't have to stick with the traditional lamb and mint jelly combination, lamb pairs well with many spices like thyme, oregano, basil and cinnamon.

View today's video to learn more about the pasture to plate process and how the American Lamb Board enjoys doing the Taste of Vail event. For more information and recipe ideas, visit http://www.americanlamb.com.