Cuts and Serving - California Lamb

Cuts and Serving

Our Kitchen

Cuts of Lamb

Lamb is quite versatile. Some cuts are great for roasting, some are best slow cooked, and others are fabulous on the grill! Learn more about your favorite cuts and how to best prepare them!

wood grilled lamb

Leg or Sirloin

Made from the hind legs, lamb sirloin (or leg of lamb) is a delicious cut that’s both lean and packed with flavor. While you might be worried that “lean” is code for “tough,” that really doesn’t have to be the case. The key is to pump the brakes, slow down, and take the right approach for your specific cut and dish. You can purchase it without the shank bone (American style), or with the bone (French style), cooked as either a tied roast or opened wide with the “butterflied” approach. There’s not a drastic difference here, but you get a little more flavor with the bone left in. No matter which style you prefer, we recommend a slow roast, followed by a rest period of 15-20 minutes so that those exquisite juices will saturate the meat rather than your cutting board.

Ideal Cooking Style: Slow roast
Affordability: $$
Wood Grilled Lamb & Asparagus
Lamb Sirloin Crostini
Rosemary Roasted Leg of Lamb

sous vide lamb chops

The Loin

Delicious, elegant, and tender, lamb loin (sometimes called “the saddle”) is a popular cut. You have options too, whether you prefer a boneless loin chop, loin roast, or the classic T-bone lamb chop, readily available at most local meat counters. This may be an exceptional cut, but don’t let that intimidate you. Preparation is simple, as long as you watch your cook time/duration carefully. It’s easy to overdo it! Aim for a nice, pink medium.

Ideal Cooking Style: Grill, broil, or pan fry
Affordability: $$$
Grilled Sonoma Lamb Loin Chops
Lamb Chops with Fresh Fruit Salsa
Lamb Loin Chops with Minty Pea Puree

bourbon bbq ribs

Ribs & Racks

Lamb ribs are incredibly versatile. When the chop is left attached to the bone, you have the prized Rib Rack or Rib Chop. This portion comes from the upper section of the rib cage, and are delicious and tender and can be cooked similarly to pork spare ribs. Lamb Ribs, located further down the rib cage, are best cooked low and slow for tenderness. Ribs can also be Frenched which is where a few inches of meat is removed from the end of the bones to create a beautiful presentation. A Crown Roast is formed by curving and tying two Frenched racks together to form a crown. And Lamb Lollipops are single chops cut from the rack roast and make a great appetizer or stunning entree.

Ideal Cooking Style: Start slow, cooking with an oven or grill, rendering down the fat and connective tissues. Finish with a flash of high heat, adding that sweet BBQ crunch on the exterior. Try a glaze for extra flavor!
Affordability: $$$
Grilled Rack of Lamb with Fig Vinaigrette Recipe
BBQ Bourbon Grilled Lamb Ribs
Smoked Memphis-Style American Lamb Riblets
Lamb Ribs with Honey-Balsamic Glaze
Grilled Lamb Lollipops with Salsa Verde

lamb tacos recipe


The shoulder chop, also called blade and arm chop, is a flavor-packed cut from (you guessed it!) the shoulder of the lamb. One benefit to this particular portion is that you don’t have to dedicate a huge amount of time to cooking, like you do for other cuts that need a low-and-slow approach. You can treat the shoulder much like you would a good steak: use a rub, use a marinade, or keep it simple with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then cook to taste.

Ideal Cooking Style: While you can slow roast if you’d like, you can also shorten the cook time by pan frying or grilling. Let the meat come to room temperature, grill or fry a few minutes per side, and then let it rest before cutting. Go for a medium to medium-rare for the most tender results.
Affordability: $$
One Pot Lamb Shoulder Chops with Rice
Mexican Style Pulled Lamb
Grilled Lamb BBQ Sandwich
Grilled Steakhouse Lamb Pizza

instant pot lamb shanks

Lamb Shank

Looking for a budget-friendly cut of lamb that’s seriously delicious? The lamb shank, found on the lower part of the back legs, is a real winner. It has a high level of collagen (tougher connective tissue), but that doesn’t have to be an issue if you use the right preparation techniques. In fact, time plus heat plus collagen can yield some incredible flavors.

Ideal Cooking Style: Slow cooking, stews, and braising.
Affordability: $
Instant Pot Lamb Shanks with Red Wine
Zinfandel Braised Lamb Shanks
Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Sauce

Ground Lamb

Mild and delicious, ground lamb is a medley of different cuts (shoulder, shanks, fattier breast, flank, etc.) and is mostly sold in grocery stores as an 80/20 blend. You can treat it just like a regular hamburger, or accentuate its unique attributes by introducing non-traditional burger flavors. Think mint, feta, Tzatziki, and more bold Mediterranean vibes. Ground lamb also works beautifully in Shepherd’s Pie, meatballs, meatloaf, or any other favorite recipes that typically call for ground beef.

Ideal Cooking Style: Treat it like beef, grilling patties to taste (we recommend medium).
Affordability: $
Lamb Meatballs
Lamb Burgers with Arugula Pesto
Classic Shepherd’s Pie

Great ways to serve California Lamb

California lamb, with its delicate flavor and succulent texture, is a versatile meat both in terms of the number of cuts available and its affinity to a wide range of flavors. Its wonderfully mild flavor is enhanced by a myriad of herbs, spices and marinades. This makes it a perfect fit for today’s trend toward more flavorful and healthful ethnic dishes.

  • Serve medium rare for the meat’s best and most delicate, succulent qualities.
  • When it comes to outdoor grilling season, lamb is a perfect choice whether you are preparing a quick weekday meal or entertaining family and friends.
  • California lamb makes great kebabs. Just divide one of the less expensive cuts such as sirloin or shoulder into 1-inch cubes and coat with a favorite marinade. Let it stand in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours to add a flavor boost to every bite. Then thread onto skewers with red bell pepper, red onion, and fresh mushrooms. A couscous salad will complete the meal.
  • A boneless butterflied leg of lamb, or even a whole leg, because of the variation in thickness of the meat will provide different degrees of doneness for a crowd with different preferences.
  • For a robust flavor of the Mediterranean, marinate a butterflied lamb leg in olive oil seasoned with fresh lemon juice, crushed garlic, and fresh rosemary. Salt and pepper before grilling.
  • For an Asian flavor, baste the lamb with hoisin sauce while grilling.
  • Slice cooked lamb very thin and serve in soft flour tortillas with shredded scallions and cucumber for a new take on Chinese crispy pancakes.
  • Marinate lamb cutlets in herbs and red wine, grill and served tapas style accompanied by kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, grilled slices of eggplant, and crumbled feta cheese.
  • A savory fresh peach salsa makes grilled lamb steaks very special.
  • For a gourmet burger, salt and pepper ground lamb and add minced garlic, onion, bell pepper and parsley. Grill until no pink shows in center (medium rare 145°F). Serve on focaccia rolls brushed with olive oil or aioli sauce and top with crumbled feta cheese, sliced tomatoes and red onions!