There’s something Japan’s favourite fermented foodstuffs have in common, and you may not have heard of it before.
This part of the animal works hard, so the meat from a lamb’s shoulder is full of flavour. It takes a while to become tender, but this means it’s a great choice for stewing and slow-roasting. The fat renders during slow cooking and coats and flavours the roast, braise or stew. Try a long slow stew with chilli and veggies or Chinese braised lamb shoulder or in a curry, like massaman.
Lamb cutlets or racks are the most expensive cuts of lamb, but are incredibly delicious and tender. They are taken from the ribs of the lamb can be cooked individually or as a whole rack. These are a fantastic barbecued and taste delicious when marinated. Try char siu lam cutlets or Sichuan spiced lamb rack.
These are mini T-bone steaks cut from the waist of the lamb. On one side of the chop is the lamb loin and on the other side is the fillet. Just like cutlets, they’re great for grilling or barbecuing, but due to their higher fat content, can also be used in soups and broths.
The rump comes from the back of the lamb. This cut is lean, tender and full of flavour – just be careful not to overcook as it will become tough if left to dry out. Rump is perfect for stir-frying. Try it in one of your favourite noodle dishes and you won’t go back.
Like the shoulders, the legs of a lamb work hard, which means that this cut has a good, strong flavour. Leg of lamb is great roasted whole on the bone, or boned and barbecued. It’s a fairly lean muscle, so take care not to overcook it, or else it could end up quite dry. Probably the cut most synonymous with the Australian Sunday roast, it’s also fantastic when cubed and sliced. Try some yakitori style lamb skewers, use leg in your favourite stew if shoulder is too fatty or even stir-fry.
Lamb shank is a super-simple, cheaper cut that goes a long way. Taken from the lower part of the back legs, there is a lot of collagen in the shank, which, when cooked slowly, gives the meat a lovely soft, melting texture, making this another cut that’s perfect for stews and slow-cooking. They’re next level in curries as well. You’re next massaman will be the richest and best of your life if you throw some lamb shanks in there. A slow braise with Chinese spices is also incredibly delicious.
Lamb ribs are meatier than their pork counterparts, but not as huge an intimidating as beef ribs. They’re fantastic marinated and grilled, or slow braised (think pork ribs at yum cha). Like all meat on the bone, they’re full of flavour and a fantastic entrée.
As the name suggest, lamb tenderloin is very tender with a velvety texture. They are much smaller than beef tenderloins and therefore quick to cook. They can be roasted whole or sliced into medallions for a variety of dishes. Each tenderloin is usually a good portion for one person. Like rump, it can be used in stir-fries or marinated and cooked whole, so try your favourite Asian flavours and substitute in the tenderloin.