Lamb is a very popular and versatile meat to work with. But a lot of people get a bit confused when it comes to what cut of lamb is which. So we really wanted to try to help that, here is a break down of lamb cuts :
Lamb is commonly divided into five sections (known as primal cuts) for butchering, then into smaller retail cuts for sale. Though the meat comes from a young animal, not all cuts are lean or tender enough to make the most of a grill’s dry heat.
Leaner tenderloin and rib cuts, as well as butterflied legs, grill to perfection over direct heat. Tougher and more hardworking cuts, such as those from the shoulder, require longer cooking over indirect heat.
Blade chop, shoulder roast
Cuts from the shoulder have more marbling than any other section. Since these tough cuts only become tender with long, slow, moist cooking, they aren’t great choices for the grill.
An exception is the blade chop, which is tender enough for grill cooking— especially when cut closer to the rib.
Rib chop, rack of lamb, crown roast
Rib chops, with their diminutive size and delicate nugget of tenderloin, cook up quickly and effortlessly over direct heat on a grill.
The chops, available individually or in a rack, are often sold “frenched,” with the fat and sinew removed from the bones above the eye of the meat.
Meat from this section is en-robed in a layer of fat that keeps it nice and juicy throughout any type of cooking method.
Loin chop, loin roast, lamb tenderloin
Loin cuts are excellent grilled and are usually more affordable than rib cuts. They contain less marbling and are generally leaner than lamb from the shoulder and rib. Because of their generous size, loin roasts are trickiest on the grill: low and slow cooking over indirect heat is the best method.
Sirloin roast, sirloin chop, whole leg, half leg, leg steak, shank
The leg, with its lean and flavorful meat, is among the most satisfying cuts for grilling. To promote even cooking over direct heat, purchase a butterflied leg (one that is cut so that it lays flat) or have the butcher butterfly a leg for you.
Bone-in legs require more time to cook, making them a better choice for oven roasting or slow, indirect heat. Lamb leg steaks, with their uniform thickness, are another good option for the grill.
BREAST & FORELEG
Foreshank, hindshank, breast
The shanks are lean and tough cuts of meat that require slow, moist cooking for tenderness, so you don’t often see them on the grill.
Roasting and braising make the most of their high collagen content, yielding rich, falling-apart meat. The breast is a good-value cut, sold either bone-in or boneless, that is also best cooked over long periods with moist heat.