Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Lamb Cuts

lambNeck Shoulder Shank Breast Shank Leg Chump Loin Best End of Neck
Learn more about different cuts by finding the parts of the lamb!

NECK

Organic Neck Cut of Lamb

The “scraggy end” conjures an idea of something being scrawny, weedy and unattractive. The neck of lamb is sometimes called the Scrag End, but when cut into thick slices, is very tasty and good for slow cooking. Like oxtail, neck meat has plenty of collagen, a natural compound in red meat that lends a silky, tender richness to stews, braises and other slow cooked dishes. Cooking the meat on the bone only enhances the flavour. Neck of lamb is excellent in familiar dishes such as Scotch Broth, Rogan Josh and Lancashire Hotpot.

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SHOULDER

Shoulder Cut of Lamb

Jamie Oliver describes lamb shoulder meat as “amazing, however you cook it.” It would be almost impossible to mention the classic melt-in-the-mouth roast shoulder joint in a sentence and not also mention mint sauce. This part of the animal has worked hard with constant movement from grazing and so the meat is more fibrous and sinewy than found in other cuts. Slow roasting breaks down the fibres and makes the meat so tender as to fall off the bone. The cut is usually sold whole or halved on the bone, but is ideal diced for casseroles and curries. Minced lamb is also from this section of the animal.

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BEST END OF NECK

Best End of Neck

In contrast to Scrag End, Best End seems to hold promise of something good and without doubt this section of the animal produces some of the most tender cuts. Best End is the first eight ribs, which are also known as the rack. It is truly an impressive sight and only surpassed when two racks are placed together with bones interlocking – the Guard of Honour. A lamb cutlet is a single bone rib and ideal for the BBQ. Mint sauce might be synonymous with lamb but so is BBQ sauce!

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LOIN

Loin Cut of Lamb

When both sides of lamb loin are roasted as one piece, it is a highly rated joint known as Saddle of Lamb. As that term implies, this cut is from the top of the animal and provides supremely tender and tasty meat. Chops from the loin are the most tender of all lamb chops. When loin of lamb is wrapped in a layer of fat and sliced the medallions are known as Noisettes.

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CHUMP

Chump Cut of Lamb

For chump - think rump. This is the lamb's rear end, the point where the leg and loin meet. The thought of eating rear end might be somewhat off-putting , but chump is amazingly tasty. It is  a versatile cut that can be roasted, fried, braised or barbecued. It has a slight covering of fat, which keeps the meat moist and tender. A chump steak might sound like an awful name, but it has a small part of leg bone running though it, which ensures maximum flavour. Similarly, chump chops are to lamb what rump is to beef – prime meat.

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LEG

Leg Cut of Lamb

Did you know that in a poll of the nation's most loved food, the Sunday roast was beaten only by fish and chips. Leg of lamb is the perfect roast – the ultimate British family meal with roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, gravy and mint sauce. Leg of lamb means one of the back haunches. For health conscious meat eaters, the meat from our grass fed animals (as opposed to grain fed) benefits from its higher content omega-3 fatty acids, is lean, rich and flavourful.

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SHANK

Shank Cut of Lamb

The majority of lamb shanks sold are from the front legs (fore shanks), which are smaller than the meatier hind shanks. As is true of all meat, the harder working parts of an animal tend to need longer, slower cooking, but this allows the connective tissue to melt and produce the leanest, succulent and tender meat. 

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BREAST

Breast Cut of Lamb

From the lamb's belly, breast is usually sold as a rolled joint for roasting. It is quite fatty, scraggy, tough meat, but an inexpensive, value for money cut. Long, slow braising, roasting or stewing renders meltingly tender, tasty meat with a crisp skin.

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