Common Cuts of Lamb
Lamb chops are sold in different cuts. Loin chops look like little T-bone steaks and have a generous portion of meat. Pricier rib chops, cut from the rack, have a long bone on the side and are prized for their tenderness. Budget-friendly shoulder chops are larger and a bit chewier and fattier than the other versions.
Best for: Pan-frying, roasting, broiling, and grilling.
Leg of Lamb
Taken from the hindquarters, a leg typically weighs 8 to 10 pounds and feeds 6 to 8 people. (Leftovers are delicious in sandwiches and salads.) For an easier-to-carve option, choose a boneless leg. Cutting a leg open from the middle creates a butterflied leg. This yields thin steaks that lie flat and cook faster, which are ideal for grilling. A butterflied leg can also be rolled and stuffed with a mixture of garlic and herbs.
Best for: Roasting and grilling.
Also sold as square-cut shoulder, this less expensive cut tends to be tougher and a bit chewier than the leg. But if the lamb is young, it will be succulent and tasty after cooking. A boneless shoulder is easier to carve; it can be slow-roasted whole or cut into chunks for stewing.
Best for: Roasting and braising.
This thick cut comes from a large muscle of the leg. It is extremely tender and can be cut into steaks or cubed for kebabs. It can also be roasted whole and served thinly sliced.
Best for: Pan-frying, roasting, and grilling.
Packaged ground lamb will usually contain shoulder meat plus trimmings from other cuts.
Best for: Grilling, pan-frying, and broiling.