Despite its fairly small size, lamb yields six sections of edible cuts of meat, making it a highly versatile ingredient.
From stews and kebabs to chops and roasts, lamb can serve several purposes. People are often hesitant to prepare lamb because it isn’t typically used in everyday cooking. Besides, most people don’t know how to cook lamb cuts.
Let’s demystify this amazing meat. In this article, we’ll look at different types of lamb cuts and how to best prepare them.
If you're looking for more information about what to look for when buying lamb, read our Tips for Finding the Best Tasting Lamb.
6 Different Cuts of Lamb and How to Cook Them
Lamb is a lean protein full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. It’s special enough to cook for a celebratory meal yet affordable and easy enough for everyday fare.
Not sure how to select and prepare delicious lamb dishes? Here are six different cuts of lamb and how to cook them.
1. Lamb Chops or Rack of Lamb
Although lamb chops are the priciest cuts of lamb, these cutlets are worth every penny. They come from the ribs and are one of the most tender cuts of meat.
When cooked individually (usually on the grill), they’re called “lamb chops.” When cooked as a whole, they’re called “rack of lamb.” These cuts can be French trimmed, removing meat from the ends of the bones for a show-stopping presentation.
Lamb chops and racks of lamb are surprisingly easy to prepare, allowing people to cook a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of their homes.
Marinate the meat in a garlic-herb paste for about an hour. Roast it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until it’s done to your liking (medium rare takes about 25 minutes).
Keep in mind that this meat is best served slightly pink (between 125 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit). Let the meat rest awhile, give it a quick squeeze of lemon juice, and serve.
2. Lamb Shoulder
The shoulder is a hard-working muscle, so this meat is extremely flavorful. It’s also a little tough, so it has to cook longer to become tender. Once it does, it falls apart with a fork. This makes lamb shoulder a great option for slow-roasting and stews.
To get the most flavor out of this cut, cook lamb shoulder on the bone.
For a slow-cooked shoulder roast, create an herb rub using rosemary, sea salt, garlic, black pepper, and olive oil. Slice into the skin of the cut and massage the rub all over the meat. Rest it atop onion wedges, pour in some liquid, and cook in the oven on high until the skin turns a golden color. Reduce heat to low and cook for four to five hours until done.
Because of its long cooking time, you might wrap the shoulder in foil to help keep in its moisture. Remove the foil for the final half-hour of cooking so the skin can get nice and crispy.
3. Lamb Loin Chops
Cut from the lamb’s waist, loin chops are tender, lean, and readily available at most grocery butcher counters. One side of the chop is a fillet, and the other side is the lamb loin. These cuts are often called T-bone chops because of the signature T-shaped bone found in the center of the meat.
They are also easy to prepare. Simply season the meat with a dry rub of your favorite blend of spices. Or, marinate it anywhere from four to six hours. Broil in the oven, grill over an open flame, or fry the chops in a pan. Create a roasting joint by gathering loin chops into a single piece, then bone and roll them.
4. Bone-In Leg of Lamb
Similar to the shoulder, leg lambs are hard-working muscles, so they’re packed with flavor. It’s lean meat, so it takes extra care not to overcook it and dry it out. Cook bone-in for maximum flavor and a beautiful presentation.
While leg of lamb can be slow-cooked or boned and grilled, it’s the best cut of lamb for roasting.
Cover it with a mixture of garlic, herb oil, and a touch of mustard. Roast it in the oven and then cook it on a barbecue for a fantastic smoky flavor. Whether you’re entertaining a small group or simply want to cook a delicious meal for your family, bone-in leg of lamb is fairly easy to prepare and always yields tasty results.
5. Lamb Shank
When you buy lamb shank, you get a lot of meat for little cost.
Available in hindshanks and foreshanks, this meat is cut from the back of the lower legs where collagen resides. This creates a melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone texture when cooked, so it’s perfect for slow-cooking and stews.
Braised lamb shank is a popular dish you can make with little effort. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides in a pot for about eight minutes. Remove shanks and add carrots, onions, and garlic to the pot. Sauté about 10 minutes until golden brown. Add wine, tomatoes, and broth and season with thyme and rosemary. Put the shanks back into the pot and submerge them in the liquid. Simmer covered for about two hours until the meat is tender.
This is a great meal when you’re expecting company. The prep work is done ahead of time, and the meal cooks itself while you spend time with guests. Everyone is sure to enjoy this delicious dish.
This cut is taken from the back of the lamb and is tender, lean, and flavorful. Be careful not to overcook this meat. It becomes tough when dried out.
Lamb rump is excellent when fried whole in a pan on the stove and finished in the oven for the final minutes of cooking. When you cut into it, it should have a soft pink center. You can also cut rump into bone-in chops and cook them on the grill. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this tasty cut.
Perfectly Cook a Sonoma County Rack of Lamb
Now that you know how to cook lamb cuts, the tough decision is choosing which one to buy. Holy Grail Steak Co. makes it easy. Our Sonoma County 8-bone rack of lamb is rich, tender, and currently on sale. We carefully package all of our quality meats to protect and preserve them until they reach your doorstep. You can depend on us for expertly trimmed, perfectly aged meat every time.
Order your Sonoma County rack of lamb today!