Boerum Hill/ Gowanus

Halal, I love you. Won’t you sell me your game?

Photo by Marie Viljoen
Photos by Marie Viljoen

What if you have a hankering for meat and a vegetarian’s budget? You might consider shopping halal. At the Atlantic Avenue butcher shop where I buy leg of lamb, it goes for $4.50/lb., as compared to $6 to $7 a pound at Fairway and $7.99 at Whole Foods last time I checked. There are some differences between halal lamb and the kind you’re probably used to, and we’ll let you decide how you feel about the slaughter practices.

It tastes a bit different as well—halal lamb is completely drained of blood and it hasn’t been aged, so it’s not that super-tender lamb chop you’re going to grill to a pink medium-rare. This is hearty flesh that responds to marinades, barbecuing, and to slow simmering.  Here’s a recipe I came up with…

Butterflied lamb with Yoghurt and Garlic

Have the leg deboned by the butcher, or do it yourself. Rub a cup of creamy Greek yoghurt onto the flesh, along with three finely chopped garlic cloves and about 4 sprigs of oregano. Salt. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, and then put it under a blistering broiler for maybe 8-10 minutes a side. Then it rests.  It is very good on a wood fire, too. Or charcoal. Whatever. After ten minutes of resting slice it and serve with something strong like a fennel-and-potato salad.

Halal Meat Market, 232 Atlantic Ave. between Court Street & Boerum Place, 718-625-2781. See more from Marie Viljoen here.



  1. A terrific-and valuable–piece! I’m amazed that the Halal butchers near where I live (in northern NJ) not only charge much less than the supermaekets for both lamb and beef, the quality is better. I prefer the taste. If I’n in a rish, I’ll just pop the lamb chops into a microwave with a slice of green pepper on top, and they’re delioious in minutes. If I want the meat ground, with no fat, the butcher grinds it in front of my eyes while I wait–so I know exactly what I’m getting. And it’s perfectly fresh! The butcher In go to for lamb (South Paterson Meat Market) raises the animals on his own property in northern NJ.

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