Ultimate Guide to Lamb Cuts

lamb cuts

Lamb is a very common meat consumed the world over so I thought I’d share the different lamb cuts.

In the Middle East lamb has a different flavor that it does in the States and it has less fat in its meat.

One main reason for this is that in the States lambs tails are cut off at an early age.

The tail, if left on the animal, is where a lot of fat is stored.

So if they have no tail, fat is stored in other places.

And therefore the meat will have an extra layer of fat and taste different than lambs with tails.

How to Spot Great Quality Lamb

This is not always an easy process so ask questions about what you are purchasing.

Where was the lamb raised, you can even research the particular farm, it’s a good idea to get the facts.

You will also want to know if the lamb cuts that you are about to buy have been frozen.

To begin with, look for meat that has a healthy red color to it, you don’t want it to be bloody or very pale looking.

Thereby using a local butcher you can trust is also a helpful thing when buying meat of any kind.

Just about all the meat on a lamb will be tender, but hopefully this guide will be helpful for choosing what you like.

Different Lamb Cuts

lamb cuts


The shank which is cut from the lower part of the back legs is a piece that is very well suited to very slow cooking.

Best For: Slow Cooking

How to Cook: It becomes a very tender and delicious piece of lamb when given a lot of cooking time.

Recipe Idea: Rosemary Braised Lamb Shank cooked with red wine served on mashed potatoes.

lamb cuts


The legs will be a harder worked piece of meat giving it a stronger and tasty flavor.

Best For: Cooking Whole

How to Cook: Rub with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper, wrap in foil and bake in the oven.

Recipe Idea: Slow Roast Leg of Lamb.

lamb cuts


The rump comes from the back of the lamb and is very tender, but don’t overcook and dry out.

Best For: Grilled or Pan Fried.

How to Cook: Cut into chops, marinate, pan fry or grill.

Recipe Idea: Sake Marinated Lamb Rump

lamb cuts


The loin is right behind the ribs at the waist of the animal and is a very tender cut of meat.

Best For: Great on the barbecue or grilled indoors.

How to Cook: Either cook singly as chops or keep a few chops together and roast.

Recipe Idea: Garlic & Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops


This cut refers to the lamb ribs, and are an amazingly tender part of the lamb.

Best For: Roasting

How to Cook: Roast the entire rack in the oven for wonderful results..

Recipe Idea: Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb


The lamb breast comes from the belly of the lamb, and as a result is an inexpensive cut of meat.

Best For: Stuffing, and roasting in the oven.

How to Cook: Cut an opening between the skin and the ribs and stuff with ground meat and rice. Or just roll, tie, and roast.

Recipe Idea: Rolled Breast of lamb.


The lamb shoulder comes from the upper part of the leg, and therefore is a very flavorful part of the lamb.

Best For: Cooking slowly, and for stews.

How to Cook: Rub down with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, wrap in foil, and slow cook in the oven.

Recipe Idea: Slow-Cooked Lamb with Sherry & Paprika


The lamb neck is an inexpensive cut of meat, with a fair amount of bone. A good butcher will take it off the bone for you. 

Best For: Cubed for marinated shish kebabs. 

How to Cook: I like cooking the neck pieces on the barbecue, but the neck with bone can be good for stew meat.

Recipe Idea: Slow Cooked Lamb Neck Curry


The individual chop comes from the ribs, and is very popular done on the grill 

Best For: Grilling on the barbecue.

How to Cook: Marinate overnight for best results, and grill on the barbecue.

Recipe Idea: Spiced Lamb Chops with Roasted Eggplant

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