The SunGold Butcher’s Guide to Lamb

Lamb is often thought of as a complicated delicacy, one that takes time, extensive knowledge and practice to prepare. We’re here to tell you that’s far from the truth!

Lamb is a delicious, and simple protein to work with. It takes no more time, knowledge or practice to prepare than beef. Plus, our SunGold lamb is known for its mild flavor, so there’s no need to be intimidated! 

Consistent in size and quality, SunGold offers a variety of quality cuts to suit everyone’s palate and budget.

We’ve created this guide (and handy graphic) to show you all the parts of the lamb, and the best ways to cook them with tasty recipes! 


The shoulder of a lamb is taken from the top of the front legs. It’s a juicy cut of meat, full of flavour. It’s also one of the most reasonably priced of all SunGold lamb cuts!

Slow roast or stew to maximize flavour, and create meat that falls right off the bone. Shoulder is also great to cut into cubes for kebabs.

🍖 Our Recommended Recipe: Chipotle Braised Lamb Tacos 



The rack is widely considered the premier protein cut regardless of species. Rack of lamb is fast to cook, and popular for barbecues and quick roasts. 

Rack of lamb can be cooked whole or individually (“lollipop” style), but be careful not to overcook this light and delicate meat. Pair it with a simple dressing for a show-stopping main.

🥩 Our Recommended Recipe: Rack of Lamb for Two with one of SunGold’s 8-Rib Racks


A grilled rack of lamb makes an easy and excellent meal for a dinner party


The loin is taken from the waist or top of the back of the lamb. The loin is tender and also versatile to cook, and is delicious roasted, pan-seared or fried. It’s also a great grilling item, and is often used on the barbeque. 

🍖 Our Recommended Recipe: BBQ Lamb with Mediterranean Compound Butter with  SunGold Pre Cut Lamb Loin Chops



The sirloin (or chump as it is also known) is extremely flavourful, and is widely considered the best value cut on the lamb carcass.The sirloin is the muscle that connects the loin to the back legs. It’s a tender meat that is best grilled or roasted to compliment its mild flavor.

Dried Mushroom and Peppercorn Crusted Sirloin Roast with SunGold Boneless Lamb Sirloin
🥩 Our Recommended Recipe: Dried Mushroom and Peppercorn Crusted Sirloin Roast with SunGold Boneless Lamb Sirloin



The Leg is perhaps the most traditional cut of lamb, and is quite versatile (as a bone in, or boneless roast, or as leg steaks). Like all of our cuts, our legs are known for their mild “grain finished” flavour. 

The shank is also incredibly popular, particularly in the cooler months, and is best served braised. 

🍖 Our Recommended Recipe: Western Style BBQ Sauce for Lamb Steaks with SunGold Lamb Leg


Fore Shank & Hind Shank

The fore and hind shanks are the lower part of a lamb’s legs. They’re a meaty cut made flavourful from the bone. The fore and hind shank flavour is similar to the leg of lamb. Shanks do best braised, or cooked slow and low for dishes like stews.

 🥩 Recommended Recipe: Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks with SunGold Hind shank



The flank of the lamb is the section where the leg meets the loin, aka the abdomen of the lamb. The flank is plump and marbled, but very tender. The flank’s fat serves to keep the meat juicy while cooking. The flank pairs well with herbs like rosemary, thyme and garlic. Try it grilled on the barbecue or quickly roasted in the oven.

🍖 Recommended Recipe: Lamb Flank Steak Gyros with SunGold Lamb Flanks



Lamb neck chops are full of flavour from the fat marbled throughout the meat! It’s best cooked slow to bring out those flavours, so try roasting the neck whole for juicy, tender meat. The neck is also perfect to cube for barbecued kebabs, stews, or curries.

🥩 Recommended Recipe: Red Wine-Braised Lamb Neck with SunGold Neck Chops

Roasted potatoes
Source: Pixabay


Lamb breast’s marble helps to tenderize this cut of meat, so the best way to cook the breast is via a slow roast. Another great way to prepare and cook breast meat is by grinding the meat and making everyone’s favourite meatballs!🥩 Recommended Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs.


A pot of lamb meatballs with yogurt, and mint
Source: Unsplash


There you have it: Lamb is nutritious, delicious, versatile! With all these options, why not add lamb to your diet?

SunGold is Canada’s source for Premium Canadian Grain finished lamb.

Our Favourite Drinks to Pair with Your Favourite Lamb

When pairing your favourite Sungold Meats’ lamb dish, you probably jump to a wine pairing immediately. We can’t say we blame you.

We get it, a nice Cab Sauv never disappoints with a succulent lamb dish. From the herbs to flavour of the tender meat – a full bodied red is a sure fire hit for your dinner guests. But, it’s safe!

Worry not. We’re here to help expand your liquor horizons, and help you create pairings that compliment a few of our favourite Sungold Meats’ recipes.

Ready for a boozy adventure?


Rack of lamb presented on table


How To: Pairing a Beverage to Your Lamb Dish

The success of your pairing is measured by what happens when a sip of your drink interacts with your last bite of food. This is where the magic happens!

So, what makes a good or bad pairing? Glad you asked!

If the flavour after the sip of your drink is jarring or even slightly unpleasant, it’s a poor pairing. However, if the flavour leaves you wanting more, you my friend, have a found a fantastic match.


Pairing Wine with your Favourite Lamb Dinner

The best advice for pairing your favourite dish with a drink: What grows together goes together.

When deciding on a pairing, think about the region of the world where your lamb is from. For example, a Canadian Shiraz or Syrah would be a perfect pairing for SunGold lamb recipe, as both the wine and lamb are Canadian.

Another way to look at it: Figure out which region inspired your dish (Indian, Mexican, Greek, etc.), then find a wine, beer or a cocktail to match. Regionality is a great starting point to match your favourite Sungold Meats’ lamb recipe. Move from locale to your plate.

When pairing a lamb dish with a beverage, you need to keep in mind the weight of both the drink and the dish. The weight of the dish must match the weight of the drink. A rich, flavourful dish needs to be balanced with a full-bodied wine or beer, or with a layered cocktail.

“There is magic in that distance between the food and the wine. The ideal match fills that space.” – Derek Todd, sommelier, New York.

A SunGold Meat’s leg of lamb will pair beautifully with a Rioja or a Cab Sauv from Bordeaux. Both options are a great example of the weight of the dish to match the weight of the full-bodied wines.


Pairing Beer: The Basics  

  • Porters are rich, dark, and malty beers, with just enough of a bitter hop bite to suggest strong coffee or pure cocoa beans. They pair well with a Spaghetti and Lamb Meatballs.
  • Stouts have a wonderfully silky texture with an almost savoury flavour. They complement lamb’s earthiness. They pair well with a lamb shank for both weight and flavour profile.
  • Pale Ales offer a great pairing with rich, bold lamb dishes. An example of a great pairing is either a rack of lamb or a lamb loin chop.
  • Amber Ales are a balanced beer with toasted malt and a light fruitiness that pairs well with hearty and spicy dishes, such as a lamb chili. Amber ales work well with fried or salty dishes as well.
  • Brown Ales tend to have caramel and chocolate flavours, allowing them to pair well with heavier red meats and dishes that have been roasted.
  • Wheat Ales are often forgotten in the beer pairings, but they come in handy for pairing a brunch (or lunch) lamb dish that may be either fried or on the spicier side. They often pair well with a Lamb Kabobs with Mango Apple Salad or a lamb sandwich.

Let’s Talk Cocktails

Pairing your favourite cocktail to a dish adds complexity to your meal. The best part of a cocktail pairing is the ability to tweak – or even create – one to perfectly match your dish. With cocktails, you’ll want to match the flavour profiles of your dish. From herbs (rosemary or mint, for example) to the spirit used, you have no shortage of options to choose from.

For example, if you’re pairing roasted leg of lamb with a coffee and chocolate sauce, a Scotch based cocktail would be perfect before, during, or after your meal.

If your lamb dish is stuffed with a rosemary herb mixture, a triple-distilled tequila’s extra smooth finish would compliment the lamb’s eathiness. Rosemary would bring out the oak flavour in tequila. Tequila is also a great match for a dish that uses cucumbers and mint.

The gist? It’s Margarita time.

Vodka is another sure fire match to accompany a lamb dinner and to form the basis of your cocktail. Plus, lamb’s fat content helps to balance out vodka’s alcohol percentage- so don’t feel
too bad about your second round. 😉



Our Top Drink Pairings with Our Favourite Lamb Dishes


Slow Cooker Lamb Goulash

Slow Cooker Lamb Goulash


The beauty of this delicious recipe is in its simplicity. Head on into your local grocer and pick up some Lamb Tonight Shoulder Stew, along with the other ingredients, and pull out the slow cooker.

The magic is hands-off, giving you time to pull together some delicious options for pairing.


The Cocktail: an Old Fashioned

The full-bodied bourbon will hold up well to the full flavour of the goulash. Try switching the bourbon in your cocktail: Basil Hayden’s, Makers’ Mark, or Four Roses. Each bourbon will bring its own flavour profile to the occasion, giving you different experiences with this dish.


The Wine:  Gewürztraminer / Pinot Noir

This may surprise you, but a Gewürztraminer, such as Pfaffenheim Tradition Gewürztraminer, will pair nicely with this dish – light, fruity, not too sweet. If you prefer a red, the fruity Meiomi Pinot Noir  will be right up your ally.


The Beer:  Pale Ale

A pale ale complements the richness of lamb without overpowering the dish. Try pairing a local craft pale ale to elevate the pairing.



Taste of India Curry Lamb Shoulder Chops

Taste of India Curry Lamb Shoulder Chops

With this curry recipe’s kick of spice, it’s the perfect dish to test your pairing skills!


The Cocktail: The Mojito

How can you go wrong with a perfectly muddled mojito? Mint is a natural pair to a curry, so why not enjoy it muddled with some rum and a little spritz?



The Wine: Zinfandel

Zinfandel’s bold fruitiness is reminiscent of homemade jam, which cushions a spicy lamb dish beautifully. A favourite Zinfandel to pair: Ravenswood Old Vines Zinfandel.


The Beer: Pilsner / Amber Ale

The lightness of the Pilsner is a great pairing to the Indian spices this dish embodies. Another great pairing with the spiciness of this dish would be the toasted malt of an Amber Ale.



Lamb & Quinoa Power Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Lamb & Quinoa Power Bowl with Tahini Dressing


We’ve included this light, refreshing bowl as a reminder lamb dishes don’t always need to be heavy! As a bonus, this dish can be served either hot or cold, depending on what you’re in the mood for.


The Cocktail: Greek Red Wine Sangria

We’ve enlisted one of Canada’s top bartenders for this amazing cocktail. Tarquin Melnyk, based in Vancouver, BC, combined the bright, fresh flavours of citrus and mint with a Greek red wine, fortified with Metaxa.

Greek Red Wine Sangria

The Wine: Syrah / Pinot Gris

A light-bodied Pinot Gris with a light citrusy flavour profile will be a sure hit with this mediterranean dish.

A Syrah’s full-bodied dark fruit flavours make this a match made in heaven. With the Syrah, you’ll have a punch of flavour that tapers off to a spicy, peppery note to make lamb the star of the dish.


The Beer: Wheat Beer

Erdinger Weissbeir allows the bowl’s citrus notes to come alive on your palate. Light, crisp, citrus notes in the beer leave out the heavy hops from a darker ale or stout. The sparkling, lively taste of this wheat beer allows the dish to be the star.



Pairing Your Dinner Should be Fun!

It’s important to remember the perfect pairing for your lamb dish will also be what’s perfect for your palette. Food and beverage pairing is all about listening to what your nose, and mouth tell you.

5 Lamb Recipes Begging to Hit the Grill

Man grilling over open flame grill

With Spring’s glorious return, our hectic schedules fill up fast. When you want to spend as much time as possible in the open air, what better place to call your kitchen than the great outdoors? Nothing compares to a charbroiled meal kissed by the flames of the BBQ.

If you’ve been with us a while, you know we have a fantastic collection of recipes to inspire your lamb dinners. As we’re serious about whole animal butchery, this list helps you uncover new lamb cuts alongside the most rewarding ways of preparing them.

We’ve also included a couple recipes from our Lamb Tonight product line that only require you preheat the grill and go!  

There’s always a bit of Hoorah! when you cook on the BBQ, as you the feel warmth of the open flames on your skin. This collection of recipes is here for those moments.

It’s grill season – are you ready?




1. Lamb Burgers With Smoked Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Lamb burger and fries


These deluxe Lamb Tonight burgers are perfect for a quick and filling dinner. The caramelized onions are cooked in foil packets on the grill for a simple burger topping. The best part? This flavoursome recipe is as easy to clean up as it is flavourful.

You can scoop up our Lamb Tonight burgers at your local Safeway, Sobey’s or Co-Op.


2. Grilled Safon Rack of Lamb

Grilled Safon Rack of Lamb


Ready to give your rack of lamb a spring makeover? This recipe needs a little extra love (you’ve got to marinate the meat overnight), but we promise it won’t disappoint. Saffron lends itself well to lamb’s flavor, and you can kick your meal up a notch by pairing it with with some potatoes, roasted red peppers and a crip white wine.


3. BBQ Lamb With Mediterranean Compound Butter

BBQ Lamb With Mediterranean Compound Butter


The best way to elevate any meal and impress your backyard guests? Compound butter. While the term may sound complex, it’s actually really simple. Plus, you can whip up a bunch, and save fridge or freezer for a quick flavour booster for your next open flamed feast.

Ready to get grilling? Check out the step by step video recipe here.

Recipe created with our luscious lamb loin.


4. Spicy BBQ Leg of Lamb

Spicy BBQ Leg of Lamb


This BBQ Leg of Lamb recipe (from our boy, Jamie) is the perfect mix of smoky heat and summer flavours. With each bite, your guests will dip their lamb leg into a minty lemon yogurt sauce that will leave them wanting more! Add a side of seasonal charbroiled veg, and you’re plate will come to life.


5. Lamb Kabobs with Mango Apple Salad

Lamb Kabobs with Mango Apple Salad


Here’s another recipe from our Lamb Tonight line that will provide you with a quick and delicious meal. These lamb kabobs (which only take about 4-5 minutes on the grill) create a summery treat when paired with mango, green apple and fresh basil. This color this plate creates screams spring BBQ!

Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two: Gourmet Lamb


New Zealand lamb chops, herb potatoes, and organic raspberry jam

Photo credit: @justcavallimilano


You had the best of intentions. Weeks ago, you were going to call your favourite restaurant to book a table for two. You wanted to surprise your significant other with a romantic dinner with their favourite dish – lamb.

Alas, the days have flown by. Your favourite restaurant is full up. And, you have nowhere to go on Valentine’s Day.

Now, you could call up another restaurant and be tied to their fixed menu full of aphrodisiacs eaten around a crowded table.

Or, you pull up your sleeves, turn on the oven, and set the table.


Lamb – The Fancy Protein


When trying to impress your loved one, you have the option of many delicious proteins. Then, there is SunGold Meats’ lamb. Expensive to order in a restaurant, yet so elegantly satisfying to prepare at home.

The delicious aromas will fill your house as its fat renders at the bottom of the pan, waiting to be reduced into the most velvety, flavoursome sauce.

Set the table with your best dishes. Adorn it with a beautiful centrepiece bouquet. Pop the cork on your favourite wine.

And, let’s get cooking.

Lamb Loin with Caramelized Onions and Rhubarb Compote


Did someone say caramelized onions? and rhubarb? All right. Dish …

Thankfully, the Cerea brothers graciously have.

Photo credit & Recipe:


We haven’t strayed far from the sous vide method used in the previous recipe, after all, we are going for gourmet dishes made in the comfort of our home. This recipe happens to be Michelin Star worthy.

Juicy lamb loin paired with tangy rhubarb and sweet caramelized onions. Is your guest going to be held to just one serving – is the question.

The recipe itself seems adequately manageable, with the sous vide portion adding an element of skill. Ok, maybe the plating will be the showcase of skill in this recipe.

This recipe would be fantastic paired with a smooth Zinfandel. All in all, the hour and a half to prepare this amazing dish will garnish you rave reviews.


Fillet, Shoulder, and Belly of Lamb with Kale Compote, Glazed Roscoff Onion and Lamb Jus


Another Michelin Star dish for you to dazzle your loved one with. This dish is taking everything up a notch … or three … by relishing the beauty of a lamb fillet, lamb shoulder, and the belly of lamb.


Photo credit & Recipe:


Three amazingly flavourful cuts of lamb blessing your plate. Take out the good dishes for this amazing recipe.

It’s best to start the recipe the day before your big date night, the curing, the confiting, and the braising will all-in-all take about 5 hours.

Chef Alyn Williams’ dish is masterful. The flavours beautifully layered.


Pressure-cooked braised lamb fore shank, parsnip bubble, and squeak with smoked bacon sauce


We’re sticking with Chef Alyn Williams for another recipe. This one isn’t as challenging, but, trust us, it won’t disappoint.


Photo credit & Recipe:

What’s not to love about this recipe? Truly. And the best part, aside from a bit of searing, the pressure cooker does most of the hard work.

Smoked bacon sauce to accompany succulent lamb shanks. Parsnips to add a touch of glamour to the plate.

Dang-nab-it. Pair this plate with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy.


Assiette of lamb with garlic purée


This recipe will push limits. Featuring the underused but surprisingly mild and tender lamb’s tongue to deliver a dish to wow any guest.

Photo credit & recipe:


A challenging recipe that contrasts the textural elegance of the lamb’s tongue with the soft braised lamb’s neck and the tenderness of the roasted loin.

You’ll want to prepare the lamb’s neck the day before, so you can enjoy your company without extra dinner duties.

The plating may be tricky for each of these delectable recipes. Master that, and you’ll be cancelling all your restaurant dates in the future.

Why You Should Be Having “Lamb Tonight” … Tonight!

Sometimes, you want to have a five-star dining experience when you come from work …but without the price tag, the Uber ride or the hours of time spent preparing your meal at home. That’s why SunGold’s Lamb Tonight products all come pre-seasoned and pre-marinated.

All you need is a bottle of vino and an oven.

What about preservatives?

Fortunately, we don’t like chemical preservatives in our food either – and if we wouldn’t eat it, we don’t want you to either. SunGold products only use ingredients you can read and say (and would probably add to your own meals at home)!

For example, ‘Our Favourite Lamb Burger’ is the perfect fusion of complementing herbs and spices gently blended into tender, juicy, fresh Canadian lamb. It’s ingredients are:

  • Lamb
  • Spices: basil, black pepper, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • Dehydrated vegetables: tomato, onion, garlic, red bell peppers
  • Canola oil

… and that’s it! Simple, right?

Or, how about our Kofta Ground Lamb Kabobs? These delicious skewers combine mild lamb with Old World flavours to create an authentic lamb experience at home for family or guests. These kabobs contain:

  • Lamb
  • Water
  • Spices: allspice, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, rosemary extract
  • Salt
  • Dehydrated vegetables: onion, garlic, parsley

Check out each of our Lamb Tonight products online and read through the ingredient listings. We have nothing to hide!


Bringing clean eats to a whole new level

Lamb, by itself, is a healthy protein option. In fact, it’s considered what’s known as a nutritionally complete protein and is an exceptionally good source of zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, phosphorus, and iron.

But that’s not where it ends. Research has shown that adding spices to your diet provide numerous health benefits including:

  1. Eating food with spice regularly lowers mortality by 14% (according to a study by Harvard and the China National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention).
  2. Spices like cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and peppers raise your metabolic resting rate and slow down your appetite.
  3. Spices combat inflammation. So do ingredients like ginger and garlic – that work to treat a range of conditions like arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and even headaches and nausea.
  4. Spices like cumin and turmeric are known to have powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.  

“Herbs and spices make food tastier while boosting your health,” says Monica Moreno, an adjunct professor of nutrition at the University of Miami and a dietitian for the Miami Marlins. “You should be cooking with herbs and spices regularly — and, if possible, using several at a time.”

Lamb Tonight products make it easy for you to fulfill your protein quota for the day while getting a delicious serving of herbs and spice.


Ethically sourced lamb

SunGold works with local farmers across Western Canada to provide high-quality, Canadian-raised lamb meat to our customers. The sustainability of the industry is of utmost importance to us and our producer community. To help consumers of SunGold’s products connect with the people that carefully raise our lamb we are collecting stories to showcase our farming community. Feel free to connect with any of our farmers or the SunGold team at any time!  

SunGold products, including our delicious Lamb Tonight dinners, are available at your local Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, Calgary Co-Op, and Federated Co-Op.

Whole Animal Butchery: What, Why, and Where

If you’re even a little bit conscious about what you eat, where it comes from, or how it gets to your table, you’re probably familiar with the latest clean-eating buzzwords: “organic”, “non-GMO”, “sugar-free”, “superfoods”, “probiotics”, “whole-grain”… and so on and so forth. With so much to read and learn, it can be tricky to distil what’s really important.

That’s what inspired us to share one of the simplest, yet most widely unknown processes to consider when you’re choosing fuel for your body: the art of butchering.

Where your food comes from and what happens before it gets to your plate is just as important as what you’re consuming, and taking the butchery process into account when you’re planning meals can help you be a more mindful consumer.


What we’re talking about is called whole animal butchering. This is an approach that cuts down on waste and hones in on the craft of butchering an animal, taking care to use every part to the best of its potential.

The diagram below shows the cuts of sections of lamb that correspond to the cuts of meat available after butchering:

SunGold | Chalkboard illustration of lamb cuts

(Bonus, this great little diagram is available on Etsy so you can show off just how much you love lamb.)

Looks familiar, right? The whole animal butchery process includes traditional cuts, but also yields cuts of meat consumers may not be familiar with. Unusual cuts bring with them an element of delight and excitement, which elevates dinnertime and opens up new recipe ideas and opportunities to create dishes that are memorable and unique.

Some of the cuts that come from a whole animal butchery process include what’s called “offals” – the organs and fancy meats including livers, hearts, and even heads.

That said, you can also expect to see expertly cut racks, legs, and loins that have gone through a careful butchery process so that once cooked, they are as delicious as they possibly can be. Each part can serve its own purpose, and using a whole animal technique involves understanding the value of the animal in its entirety, rather than just its individual parts.


Here’s why we do it.

The fact of the matter is, a small family-owned butcher shop will never quite compare to a large-scale meat plant when it comes to the use of whole animal butchery (no matter how romantic a tiny, local shop might feel). This is due to the operational efficiency principles that plants like SunGold employ; it just doesn’t make sense from a business sense to waste any parts of the animal.

At SunGold, we’ve taken even greater strides to reduce any wasted product over the last few years.

Lamb meat plays a major role in many traditional diets, of which dishes often include parts like the lungs, testicles, head, heart and more. By offering these cuts to the Canadian market, we are embracing the cultural diversity in our country and catering to their dietary needs. We also understand and greatly appreciate the cost and effort that our farmers put into raising each of the animals that comes to us. Utilizing whole animal butchery is beneficial to our consumers, our sources, and and our distributors.

When you choose to buy from a conscientious specialty meat plant like SunGold, you are directly contributing to sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry. Your personal choices as a consumer do create a positive impact on the environment, and will also encourages people within your network to reconsider their eating habits.


At SunGold, accounting for the whole animal in our butchery process matters to us. When you buy our meats for your family and friends, you know you’re getting a hearty meal that was raised with care and butchered with consideration. We take pride in bringing you wholesome meats that are sourced ethically and sustainably so you can feel good about bringing them home.

SunGold is a leading supplier of lamb in North America.

From our carefully cut offals to our Lamb Tonight range, we use a whole animal approach to butchering, and we’re so excited to be able to share it with you.

Halal Meat in Canada

Halal Meat in Canada | SunGold Specialty Meats

The use of halal meat processing in western countries is often mired in controversy. Preconceived notions combined with a lack of knowledge surrounding the concept of “halal” can create a wealth of misunderstandings that more often than not, have a negative impact on our communities as a whole.

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Halal means “permissible” in Arabic, and originates from religious rules set out in the books of the Islamic faith: the Qu’ran and the Hadith. It can refer to any aspect of life referenced by the teachings of Islam and is not isolated to meat alone.

Preparing animals for halal slaughter means placing a great importance on the humane treatment of the animal beforehand. For example, water must always be offered to the animal before slaughter and it should not be slaughtered when hungry. The knife should be hidden from the animal, and slaughtering done out of sight of the other animals. Animals should be killed in a comfortable way, and any unnecessary suffering avoided. Finally, the animal must be slaughtered with the use of a sharp knife that cuts due to sharpness rather than pressure, and it must be re-sharpened after every slaughter. Skinning or cutting of any part of the animal is not allowed before the animal is completely dead.

“[Halal] means you make sure the knife is sharp and that when you do the slaughter, you do the job as quick as you can so you do not torture that animal. At the same time, what you are doing, is you are thanking your lord for allowing you take a life from another living creature for your own sustaining”, Yusuf Abdulrehman, the owner of Halal Meat Centre & Specialty Foods in Winnipeg, tells CountryGuide in an interview last year.

Halal slaughter is a very conscientious method of meat preparation that adds an extra layer of care, hygiene and cognizance to the process.

At SunGold Meats, we ensure each animal is gently restrained and carefully stunned before slaughter in order to prevent any pain or discomfort for the animal. Immediately prior to slaughter we use electrical stunning which produces instantaneous, painless unconsciousness inducing a grand mal epileptic seizure. Highly trained staff monitor stunning effectiveness of every lamb.

We are inspected twice per year by Halal certification authorities and according to feedback, are considered among the best in humane management. We firmly believe that our Halal accreditation and the dedicated focus it brings to humane slaughter provides us with a more humane, respectful and mindful process. Temple Grandin is a leading expert in the area of animal welfare and a great resource for meat plants such as ours. We refer to her research and recommendations, particularly in the area of humane handling and slaughter.

Why is halal certification important?

Because Canada is a proudly diverse and inclusive nation, it is very important to allow groups of different religious faiths to follow their lifestyle choices and be aware of any dietary restrictions they might have. In this sense, halal certification is similar to any type of food certification and audit system. Kosher, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, or halal, whatever the case might be, it’s important to help Canadian consumers make informed decisions about their food.

Halal Certification | SunGold Meats
Photo Credit: White Creek Ranch Photography,

“We were looking at how to grow our business, asking how were we going to strengthen our business and researching the food service and retail landscape… consumers’ requirements, consumers’ taste, consumers’ interests,” says Miles Kliner, SunGold’s general manager. “So in a nutshell, when you do all that research you put together that information… one thing that was very apparent, is that the [demographics] of our country [are] changing and growing, and there is an opportunity to serve that market.”

It should also be noted there is a growing number of Canadian consumers who are not Muslim that are opting for Halal products. According to Canadian Grocer Magazine, “the concept of halal has extended far beyond a religious choice, also attracting consumers who are environmentally conscious (and) health conscious.” Fast-food chains like KFC, Popeyes and Nandos have all started adding halal options to their menus, while The Halal Guys, a fast-food franchise that began as a food cart in Manhattan, has already opened a location in Toronto last year.  

A second important reason lies in international trade. The global halal food trade is estimated at least $1.75 trillion annually, creating a highly lucrative opportunity for the Canadian meat industry. If companies like SunGold Meats, one of Canada’s largest lamb and goat processors, want to export to these rapidly growing markets, it is increasingly important to ensure our products are halal certified.

How do Canadian companies become halal-certified?

There are several different agencies in Canada that provide halal certification. However, the process is largely the same.

In order to become Halal-certified in Canada, an audit of the production facility is conducted to review the production process for products, evaluate ingredients, and assess the sanitation aspects of the production lines. Once registered and certified, the certifying body authorizes the use of the their halal symbol on product labels.

SunGold Meats works with ISNA® Canada (Islamic Society of North America). Since 1988, ISNA® Canada has been providing Halal Certification Services (HCS) to the Muslim communities in North America and around the world. All SunGold products are halal-certified and display the ISNA Halal logo.

Want to learn more about SunGold Meats and our work in the Canadian lamb industry? Send us an email at or use this form! We’d love to hear from you.

This is Why Your Supermarket Needs More Lamb

This is Why Your Supermarket Needs More Lamb | SunGold

The retail landscape has, and always will be, a competitive one regardless of your industry. One way to navigate the changing marketplace is to return to the basics. It can be said that people shop at a specific location for one or more of the following three reasons:

  • proximity
  • price
  • products

A preferred retailer is either easy to get to, has the best price, or has specific products that their customers want.

The lamb market

Right now, lamb is usually not top of mind for most retailers or the bulk of consumers. For many of the retailers we work with at SunGold, lamb sales currently account for 2-4% of the meat department’s business.

However, this is changing.

There are two important reasons to take another good look at the lamb segment in retail. Firstly, it offers solid points of differentiation for a retailer. Secondly, it is primed and ready to capitalize on consumer trends for new experiences.

The best customers have lamb on their shopping list

In the battle with proximity, price, or product, it is often just the products that a category manager has effective control over. Lamb is a meat with a higher price point and is often sought out by customers that don’t mind spending more on quality products. Feedback from our retail base indicates that when a customer’s shopping basket contains lamb, it also contains other up-market items throughout the store, resulting in a higher overall spend.

Lamb Customers | SunGold

Our research in both U.S. and Canadian markets has shown that the lamb category represents an opportunity for retailers to differentiate. Our commitment to providing products that match consumer values has given our retail partners success in the marketplace. The results can be shown through our category sales with a national Canadian retailer placed in comparison to the average US category share.

SunGold Sales | Canadian Lamb Retailer

However, these graphs also reveal certain areas for growth in multiple categories in both markets.

As a leading lamb supplier, we work with some of the best lamb retailers in the world and have observed that maintaining a first class lamb category that is also value-aligned is advantageous to bringing in customers that intentionally seek out a premium shopping experience. We strongly suggest that category managers analyze the spending behaviour of customers who purchase lamb; it is likely very worthwhile to attract more visits from this segment.

Lamb: not just any other red meat

People enjoy new experiences – especially those that are wrapped in familiar packages. For ice-cream lovers today, there is a world of new gelato and frozen yogurt flavours to try. For those that love pizza, the food industry has concocted a number of different “pizza-esque” variations made of every kind of food. However, for the meat lover, the standard meat counter can often leave one wanting.

For the basic meat counter filled with the three most common proteins – beef, pork, and chicken, lamb is the perfect opportunity to provide a new value-add product for your customers. Lamb makes for a great eating experience and is one of the healthiest red-meat options available. A smaller industry size compared to the big 3 is also an advantage among consumers who want to know where their lamb came from, whether the animals were raised ethically, and if they were processed humanely.

Offering a diverse selection of high quality meats like lamb will appeal to the meat lover that likes to BBQ, impress friends, or have quality food experiences at home. They seek variety, new experiences, and enjoy discovering new foods to try. Everyone has a go-to store that they rely on for a great meat selection.

Beyond the BBQ

The experience of eating a great meat doesn’t start and end on your plate. It occurs at every touchpoint before and after the purchase including the grocery store, the meat aisle, product selection, cooking, and then finally eating. Therefore,  it is essential for both SunGold and our retail partners to do their respective parts to ensure that each and every touchpoint is a delight for the meat-loving customer.

SunGold is a leading supplier of lamb in North America.

SunGold is committed to providing the cuts, portions, and quality of meat that consumers desire. Retailers, for their part, will display a variety of lamb products, a fair price range, continuously stocked product, and knowledgeable staff – all leading to a satisfied repeat customer. In this way, regardless of each retailer’s strength (proximity, price, or product), their meat department sales flourish, customers are pleased, and the global lamb market continues to grow.

Why Mediterranean? Here Are Some Benefits to the Famed Diet

Mediterranean Diet Benefits | SunGold Meats

Ah yes, the famed Mediterranean diet. Why do so many people sing this diet praises?

Well, picture this: bright vegetables from the local markets; a mix of fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, and wild marjoram; the blending flavours of pure olive oil, saffron, garlic, olives, and figs with some oven-fresh pita…  all coming together in one tasty experience.

The beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean are known for their bright sunshine, blue waters, antique-looking buildings, and lively atmosphere — the legacy of a 2000-year old civilization brought together in a melange of modern bustle and excitement. But there’s more to soak up in the Mediterranean than just the sights.

The Mediterranean diet has been firmly established as one of the healthiest in the world, linked to lowered blood pressure, a reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy body weight, and promoting a longer lifespan. The diet includes a lot of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grain bread and brown rice.

One of the most important parts of this diet is the use of healthy fats. Olive oil, for example, is a monounsaturated fat used daily and in significant amounts across the countries in the Mediterranean region, drizzled generously over salads, into hummus, across pasta, and much more. Healthy polyunsaturated fats are found in the regular use of nuts, seeds, and the oily fish found just as regularly in Mediterranean cuisine.

But the Mediterranean diet isn’t just about plants and seeds!

It also offers a healthy assortment of meat dishes that happen to be packed with delicious flavour and an amazing nutritional profile. Unsurprisingly, lamb is the preferred choice of animal protein in the Mediterranean region. Over the years, they’ve found that lamb elevates the eating experience, adding a flavour enhancement to otherwise plant-based meals and salads.

Lamb has fewer calories and less saturated fat than beef. It’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids — the same healthy fats typically found in cold-water fish, proven to reduce inflammation, encourage brain health, prevent heart disease, and even provide protection from cancer.

Lamb is also rich in a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid that reduces blood pressure, prevents ulcerative colitis, alleviates the symptoms of type-2 diabetes and protects cell membranes from free radicals. Oleic acid is also known to help increase the burning of fat and for accelerating the rates of complete fat oxidation in muscle cells.

In addition, lamb is an excellent source of vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin B3, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and CLA. CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, has been associated with a great number of health benefits, including boosts to the immune system, healthy bone mass, reduced inflammation, healthy bone mass, weight loss, and improved blood sugar regulation.

According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, “adherence to a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern would make a significant contribution to increasing food sustainability, as well as increasing the health benefits that are well-documented for this type of diet.”

Following this diet is not only good for you and your body, but it’s projected to help the world itself.

Eaten fire roasted and seasoned with flavourful spices, piled up on a skewer, or served up in a hearty stew — there’s no way you won’t fall in love with the Mediterranean favourite once you’ve had a taste.

In fact, here’s a Greek-style Osso Bucco recipe you can try tonight!

There’s another good reason lamb is one of the go-to meats in the beautiful, white walled kitchens along the Mediterranean Sea: lamb is absolutely delicious!

If you live in Canada and want to give the esteemed Mediterranean diet a shot, opt for some fresh, Canadian lamb. At SunGold Specialty Meats, we operate a federally inspected, HACCP certified, Halal certified, full-service meat processing plant in Innisfail, Alberta. As a world-class meat provider, we specialize in processing lamb and goat, and work hard to provide high-quality products for niche-oriented domestic and international markets.

Find our products at any of our retailing locations!

Thinking About Going Paleo? Read This First!

Whether you’re ready to make the switch to Paleo, planning a BBQ with a Paleo friend, or you’re just here to find out what a Paleo diet is – you’re in the right place.

So, what is it?

First thing’s first: a Paleo diet, like most diets, is defined by groups of food you’ll want to include and avoid in your diet.

Paleo diets include:

  • Fruits
  • Eggs
  • Veggies
  • Lean meats
  • Seafood
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Healthy fats

Avoid these things:

  • Dairy
  • Processed foods and sugar
  • Legumes
  • Starches
  • Salt
  • Alcohol

The groupings are actually based on the foods our ancient ancestors used to eat, as far back as the Paleolithic era (about 3 million years ago). At that time, humans ate a balanced diet of lean meat, healthy fats, and fibrous vegetables.

>> Read our blog post on the history of the human diet here. <<

Conversely, the foods on the avoid list are items that would not have been readily available to early human communities. Several studies (like this one) have shown that a return to a paleo-based diet is the most natural and healthy option for humans.

Paleo | Lamb Steak | SunGold

You’re probably wondering what the fuss around all this is about. We’ve come a long way in modernization and technology, and potato chips (and beer) are delicious, so why make the switch?

1. There’s no counting

Unlike other diets, there’s no counting calories or points. There’s also no such thing as cheating because the food you’ll be eating is Paleo or not, plain and simple. So there’s no guilt, and it’s easy to stay on track. Going Paleo adds to an overall healthy lifestyle and it’s an approach to food that’s designed to be something you stick with, not something you do in a hurry to lose five pounds.

2. It easily eliminates a lot of things you already know to avoid

Carbs. Junk food. Fast food. You already know they’re unhealthy, and going Paleo wipes them out of your diet completely. You aren’t going to have to worry about eating the whole tub of ice cream because you won’t be buying it in the first place.

Clean eating comes easy when you have clear dividers of foods that fit your diet and foods that don’t.

3. You’ll have more energy

Avoiding refined sugar means you’re also going to be avoiding spikes in your blood glucose levels, which means no more sugar jitters and intense crashing.

NOTE: If you’re diabetic, be sure to check with your doctor to determine if going Paleo is right for you.

4. You’re going to snack a lot less

Sure, it’s true. Fresh, lean, healthy food often comes with a higher price tag than fast food alternatives. What you might not have considered, however, is that you’ll be saving money in the long run because the high-protein, low carb meals will keep you fuller for longer and they’ll protect you from bank-breaking health disorders.

Paleo means less snacking, less cravings, and less drive-thru trips that hurt your health and your wallet. Simple.

We hear your “buts”:

We know – change is hard. Anyone who claims differently is probably lying. We can imagine what you’re thinking:

  •       “But I want to be able to make quick and easy dinners!”
  •       “But making fresh food at home takes so much work!”
  •       “But my family has a lot of favourite meals we enjoy together that aren’t Paleo!”

We hear you – and all these concerns are perfectly valid. But switching to a Paleo diet doesn’t have to happen all at once.

Starting Paleo, the easy way:

Try cutting out a few foods at a time to increase your chances of success. Cut out added sugar first (admittedly, a tough one but a solid place to start). Then, eventually make your way through the “avoid” list. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to implement small changes over time than it is to implement a big change all at once.

You’re also going to want to start paying closer attention to what you eat regularly and start thinking about Paleo alternatives you can substitute in. Lamb (like Lamb Tonight) is a great alternative to higher fat meats. It has less marbling than most beef, so it’s naturally leaner. Racks of lamb and lamb chops are delicious family-favourites and are also very easy to substitute into recipes to give your classic favourites a Paleo twist.

For example, sub in some zucchini noodles and our Italian-style lamb meatballs with your favourite spaghetti sauce, and you’re left with a tasty Paleo meal that’s not a huge departure from pasta night, but is making your body happier with every bite.

The best part?

This is just one of the products from our Lamb Tonight line that was specifically designed to create easy dinners for busy families, and it’s full of the good stuff – like lean lamb and natural seasoning.