This fact sheet was developed by students enrolled in Purdue's ANSC 442 Sheep Management course in Spring 2000, as a semester project. These fact sheets provide useful information on various topics related to sheep. View the list of fact sheets.


Lamb Cuts and What to do With Them

Overview

This site was prepared for the average, inexperienced, ovine connoisseur. We have covered information on basic lamb cuts, quality grading, and have provided some links to various recipe sites for your eating pleasure.

Basic Lamb Cuts

There are four primal cuts: the shoulder, rack, loin, and leg.

The carcass is also broken down into several subprimal cuts which include: the neck, foreshank, breast/brisket, and flank.

 

Shoulder Cuts:

 

This is an arm chop. It is best prepared by broiling or grilling.

 

This is a shoulder chop. It is best prepared by broiling or grilling.

 

This is a square cut shoulder. It is best prepared by roasting.

 
Rack cuts:

 

This is a rib roast. It is best prepared by roasting.

 

This is a rib chop. It is best prepared by broiling or grilling.

 

These are riblets. They are best prepared by broiling or grilling.

 
Loin cuts:

 

This is a loin chop. It is best prepared by broiling or grilling.

 

This is a loin roast. It is best prepared by roasting.

 
Leg cut:

 

This is the leg of lamb. It is best prepared by roasting.

 

Quality Grading

The United States Department of Agriculture has determined a set of standards based on meat carcass grades and yields. These standards are used by meat purchasers, federal, local, and state agencies as well as hospitals, schools, state institutions, the Department of Defense, and consumers to help determine lamb quality, nutrition and palatability.

The USDA inspects each lamb carcass and gives it a grade based on palatability or quality, leanness, conformation or muscular development, marbling, and flank streaking. Prime, Choice, Good, and Utility are the four grades that a carcass could receive. It does not matter what sex the lamb is.

Prime refers to the best cut of carcass being well muscled, with minimum fat streaking range requirements in the flank being small to abundant, and lean flesh.

Choice refers to a carcass that is slightly muscled, with minimum fat streaking range requirements in the flank being trace to abundant, and the carcass has a minimum amount of external fat covering.

Good refers to slightly thin muscled. Carcass is thin with tapering legs with slightly narrow thin backs. The degree of flank streaking is practically devoid to modest.

Utility refers to the low end of the scale. An ovine carcass given a utility grade has the characteristics that are lower that the minimum requirements of Good.

Yield grades are not used commercially, but they can provide additional information. Five yield grades can be assigned to a carcass based on fat percentage, with 1 being the leanest to 5 representing the fattest. The yield grade can be computed by measuring the fat thickness over the ribeye muscle, amount of kidney pelvic fat, external fat, and leg conformation grade.

For more information, see the USDA web page at www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/mgc/history.htm.

Recipe Links

Browse an extensive collection of lamb recipes available from Berkeley.

Browse an extensive collection of lamb recipes from Stephanie de Silva.

Browse through a varied collection of lamb recipes from various authors.

Check out this site of Nepalian lamb recipes.

Here are a few lamb recipes from a meat marketing company in New Zeland.

Try this site to search for a wide variety of lamb-based recipes from various cooking magazines.

Browse through the recipe book of Horizon Meats in New Zealand.

Check out this site of lamb recipes provided by Foodcomm International.

Here are a few more recipes provided by Horizon Foods.

Search here for many varied lamb recipes.

Check out this site for a few more recipes.

This highly informative, very educational, wonderfully deserving of 50 points website was created by:
Bernadette Caito
Diane Kaeser
Nick Meier