Different Cuts of Lamb Meat
To become familiar with the types of cuts of meat, their qualities, and techniques utilized in properly preparing them is to truly reap the benefits of purchasing subprimal cuts of lamb from a meat market. In doing so, you may even develop a preference and deeper appreciation for the varieties and complexities of each cut.
The Five Primal Cuts of Lamb and Each of Their Subprimal Cuts
The shoulder primal cut includes the neck, upper front leg, shoulder blade, and ribs one through five. Though tough from usage, the shoulder cut is very flavorful and cooks well using moist heat. Some subprimal cuts of lamb that are sourced from the shoulder include neck slices, stew meat, ground lamb, blade roast, blade chop/roast, arm chop/roast, kebab meat, and Saratoga roll.
The breast primal cut comes from the lower front half of the lamb. While quite fatty, it is very flavorful and is best cooked low and slow or as a roast. Subprimal cuts of lamb that come from the breast include spareribs, riblets, Denver ribs, foreshank, and ground lamb.
The rib is cut from the side of the lamb, between the shoulder and loin. It includes ribs six through twelve and is very tender and mild in flavor, making it one of the more expensive primal cuts. From the rib you’ll get rack of lamb, crown roast, and rib chops, all of which are best cooked using dry heat methods like grilling, broiling, or roasting.
The loin is cut from the back of the lamb, from the thirteenth ribs to the hip, and contains the most expensive, tender, and highly prized meat. It is recommended to serve cuts from the loin medium rare or medium, as the meat is fairly lean and prone to drying out if not cooked with care. Cuts of meat that come from the loin include loin roast, loin eye roast, saddle of lamb, loin chop, medallions, tenderloin, and flank.
Large, lean, and tender, the leg of lamb is quite versatile in use, as it can be used whole or subdivided into smaller sections. Some market-ready cuts of the leg of lamb include sirloin roast, leg chop, shank roast, center leg roast, leg steak, and kebab meat. The leg can also be prepared with the bone attached or removed. It is recommended to cook meat from the leg using dry heat.