This large muscle is full of rich and sweet meat. It can be presented whole, as a roast, or cut into steak-sized chops or diced for stew meat. Lamb shoulder meat has quite a bit of marbling, giving it flavor but also toughness and chew, so this is a cut that requires long cooking methods.
The main rib section of the lamb, the rack is made up 16 ribs, also called chops. Although it’s made up of two sections, each of 8 ribs, it is mostly sold halved. When sold whole, it’s called a double rack of lamb.
The back haunches of the lamb, presented bone in or boneless, the leg of lamb is a delicious classic cut. Sold whole or halved (the upper thigh), this is a large, flavorful cut that is very versatile. A bone in leg of lamb is usually more flavorful. Butterflied, it can be stuffed and rerolled.
From the bottom of the lamb, the belly, comes the breast cut. It has a lot of fat and therefore a lot of chew, so lamb breast needs slow, long cooking to break down the toughness. Usually presented as a rolled joint, perfect for roasting.
From the lower portion of the leg, the shank is usually a hard-working muscle and requires long cooking times that breaks the tough meat into tender bites. The most commonly used is the foreshank.