Cuts of Lamb Guide and cooking tips from Morley Butchers

cuts of lamb guide

Click image to view larger version

Different cuts of lamb

Use this guide to the different cuts and joints of lamb to get the best match for the recipe you want to cook or how much you want to spend.

Different parts of the animal are better suited for different recipes and cooking methods. The most tender cuts will be good for frying and grilling others will be at their best when slow cooked by braising or in a stew.

Choosing the right cut

Be aware that many of the cheaper cuts deliver the best flavours. Longer cooking breaks down the denser fibres creating tender meat in a thicker delicious sauce or gravy.

During the animals life different parts of the body will develop in different ways depending on the amount of work they do.This means that individual cuts will have differing proportions of muscle, fat and connective tissues. For example those that have worked the hardest such as (the neck which is constantly moving about as the animal grazes) will build up more fibre and sinew.

Other factors to consider are the provenance of the animal. We select meat from suppliers that have taken care to raise animals that will cook well with great flavour. We use a specialist Lamb supplier in London’s Smithfield Market because lamb quality from different farms and producers varies throughout the year depending on regional conditions that effect the grass on which the animals feed.

If you want to know more about the provenance of our meat please ask us – we are your local experts. Find out more about the Lamb from Morley Butchers here >>

Cuts of Lamb Guide: descriptions and recommended cooking methods

Neck  of Lamb

When cut into thick slices this bony part of the neck ( know sometimes as Scrag End) it is very tasty and good for slow cooking. Also from this section are Neck Fillets – the same muscles but taken off the bone. Stew or braise until tender. Both these cuts are often underrated and as a result inexpensive.

Shoulder of Lamb

Lamb shoulder is usually sold whole or halved on the bone. This part of the animal has worked hard so is better for slow roasting to break down any fibres to be really tender, Shoulder is also sold boned and rolled for roasting or diced for casseroles, curries or stewing. Minced lamb is also taken from this section of the animal.

 Best End Of Lamb Neck (Best End), Rack of Lamb

This section produces some of the most tender cuts of Lamb. Best End is the first eight ribs which are known as “The Rack”. The Rack can be cut in several ways. If the ends of the bones are exposed after the fat has been trimmed away it is termed “French Trimmed”. Two racks roasted together with the bones intertwined are known as a “Guard of Honour”.

A rack of Lamb can also be trimmed and tied into a circle to form a “Crown of Lamb” – a most impressive roast to serve at your table.

 Lamb Cutlets

Cutting between the rib bones produces Lamb Cutlets. Meat from this same section taken off the bone makes a “Valentine Steak”. Both of these are good for pan frying or grilling.

Lamb Loin

This portion provides Loin Chops for grilling or frying, similarly a Barnsley Chop – which is double the size being both sides of the animal. Off the bone this section provides Noisettes or in one piece a Cannon. These are all very tender and will cook quickly. The whole loin, both sides of the Lamb roasted as a piece, is a very splendid joint known as a Saddle of Lamb this is a large joint for 8 or 10 people.

Lamb Chump

At the lower back of the animal where the loin meets the leg is known as the Chump. From here you can get Chump Chops and Chump Steaks. As a whole piece off the bone this is called a Chump Joint. All these are good for grilling and BBQ but can also be delicious if baked slowly in the oven.

Leg of Lamb

Whole, half or boned Leg of Lamb will make a perfect roast. For grilling and frying or the BBQ Leg of lamb is often sold as Leg Steaks, stir fry strips, or cubed for kebabs. A leg of lamb that has been ‘Butterflied”’ is a boned leg opened up into a large flat piece which has a rough butterfly shape. This too can be roasted or grilled.

 Lamb Shank

The lower leg from this section is Lamb Shank. As a harder working part of the animal this needs slow cooking or braising; full of flavour it will become very tender and fall off the bone when cooked in this way. An affordable option (but having found favour with many chefs –  not as cheap as it used to be).

 Lamb Breast

This is the belly area of the Lamb. This is usually sold as a rolled joint for roasting. It is a quite fatty cut but when slow cooked this melts away to leave a tender and very tasty meat. This is one of the best value, least expensive cuts.

Have a look at some of the recent posts on Lamb from the Butchers Blog. There are plenty of ideas, recipes and cooking tips.