Many cuisines worldwide incorporate lamb meat into some of their most famous dishes. There’s a world of meat to a lamb beyond rib chops or the leg. Every part of the animal, from the neck to the ankles, yields cuts of meat suitable for cooking.
Parts from Anywhere on the Lamb, and the Neck
Treasure Valley Sheep Producers in Boise, Idaho, offers consumers a chart, approved by the American Lamb Board, that shows the meat-producing sections of a lamb carcass (see Resources). Cuts that can come from any part of the animal are cubed lamb for stew, cubed steak, lamb patties, and ground lamb. Neck slices come from the neck area.
The shoulder section of a lamb extends from just below the neck to just in front of the front leg. Meat cuts from this part of the animal include the boneless shoulder, square shoulder, and cushion shoulder roasts, boneless blade chops, bone-in blade chops, arm chops and cubed lamb shoulder for kabobs.
The rib portion of a lamb starts right behind the front leg and extends about halfway down the body. From this part, butchers cut rib roasts, crown roasts and rib chops. The butcher may "French" the latter by scraping away the meat and fat from the lower end of the rib bone.
The loin extends from just behind the rib section to a little before the hip joint. Cuts from this portion include loin chops, double boneless loin chops, boneless double loin roast and the loin roast.
The sirloin is a narrow section of the animal that reaches from the end of the loin to just about the tailbone. Sirloin chops, boneless sirloin roast and sirloin roast all come from this area.
The leg section produces many different cuts, including leg center slices (steaks), the combination leg, which includes all the leg from hip to the ankle; the center leg; rolled boneless leg roast; the sirloin half of the leg; the French-style leg, which includes all of the leg with a “Frenched” ankle bone; the French-style leg with the sirloin cut off; the shank, or lower, half of leg; and what is called the American-style leg, which lacks the ankle bone. The foreshank and hindshank cuts are the lower bones of the front and back legs.
The breast of the lamb lies below the rib section and behind the front leg. Cuts from this area include the breast, rolled breast, stuffed breast, riblets, boneless riblets, spareribs and stuffed chops.
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