The best cuts of lamb

Do you know your loin chop from your noisette? Do you know what the best cut of lamb is for the recipes you want to cook? Take a look at our rundown of the best cuts of lamb . . .

What are the best cuts of lamb?

Firstly, we would always recommend that you know where your meat is coming from. By that, we mean, where it is has travelled from to get to your plate. Locally sourced means it hasn’t travelled for miles and will help you do your bit for climate control.

Moreover, it’s also important that the meat you buy is free-range – this means the animal has been born and reared outside, where it can graze and forage as nature intended. Have a chat to us about the meat we provide.

Lamb is a fabulous meat for roasting, grilling, and barbecuing. It is quite fatty which helps ensure it is moist and succulent after cooking. But what cut is best when it comes to lamb? Let’s take a look at each cut of lamb, and how best to cook it . . .

Roasted whole shoulder, with potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes
Roasted whole shoulder, with potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes

Shoulder

Full of flavour, the shoulder is great for slow-cooking and roasting. Because a shoulder works hard, it can take a while to become tender but, is absolutely delicious. A slow roast will make sure the meat is lovely and tender, it just falls off the bone. You can buy both boned and on-the-bone.

Take a look at this delicious recipe for roasted shoulder of lamb with garlic and rosemary. Mouth-wateringly delicious!

Racks of Lamb on the BBQ Grill Grate Browned with Herbs
Racks of Lamb on the BBQ

Chop or Rack

Cutlets or chops can be quite expensive but are so tender and tasty. They are just right for the grill or barbeque as they don’t need to be cooked slowly. You can buy them as individual chops or as a rack. These are delicious, and definitely crowd pleasers at a BBQ. They are also very tasty roasted and always best served pink!

Loin chop

The loin chop comes from around the waist area and is a little T-bone steak. Like the chop or rack, they are tender and work well on the BBQ or under the grill. You can quick cook them. When boned and rolled, they are perfect for roasting. Here is a fab but quick recipe for cooking loin chops in the oven.

Lamb rump with Borlotti beans
Lamb rump with Borlotti beans

Rump

This is a lean and very tender cut. Flavourful and delicious, there is no need to add strong flavours – a touch of salt and pepper does the job. You do need to be careful not to overcook it though, as it can become quite dry and tough. Keep it tender by serving pink. This recipe for lamb rump steaks with red wine jus and mashed celeriac shows that this cut of lamb really doesn’t need strong flavouring to be absolutely divine.

Leg

This cut really does have a good strong flavour and makes a wonderful roast, especially on the bone. Alternatively, you can buy it boned for the BBQ. Like the rump, if it is overcooked it becomes dry. But, it can be a great cut for entertaining. Take a look at this Jamie Oliver recipe for spicy barbequed leg of lamb. Nice and simple to cook but a dish that is sure to be gobbled up and thoroughly enjoyed!

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce
Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks in Red Wine Sauce

Lamb shank

This cheaper cut really does go a long way. And, when cooked slowly, produces melt-in-the-mouth meat. It comes from the lower part of the back legs and, because it has a lot of collagens, this cut is just right for stews and slow cooking. Or keep it on the bone and create a dish that feels decadent but is quite cheap to do. We love this recipe from Mary Berry!

Neck

This is a versatile cut and cheap to buy because it can be cooked either slowly or quickly over a high heat. Either way, it is tasty and tender. It’s a great meat to make homemade kebabs with. You get the best of both worlds with this recipe – a takeaway-style kebab but, you know exactly what meat and spices have gone in to make it so tasty!

Lamb cannon/saddle

This is the lamb equivalent to filet steak and fab for roasting. When the butcher prepares it, all of the excess fat is removed. But, there is normally a strip of fat added for basting to keep it succulent and tender. It’s a great cut to roast as it doesn’t need long in the oven. It is so-called because when it is rolled, it looks just like a cannon. If both sides of the loin are left connected, this cut is called lamb saddle. This recipe is wonderful for a date night dish or if you are entertaining.

delicious lamb noisettes with pesto, beans and carrots
Delicious lamb noisettes with pesto, beans and carrots

Noisette

Noisettes are wonderful for quick roasts. Great roasted whole, or cut into medallions and fried. Noisette means ‘little nut’ in French and, when you see them, you can see why. If you are looking for something that’s a little different, noisettes are the cut to go for. This recipe for Italian-style noisettes is great for entertaining.

If you have any questions about which cuts of lamb to use for which recipes, or you need some inspiration, we would be more than happy to help. Just pop into the shop or drop us a line.