Lamb chops with rosemary

Cheap cuts: How to buy lamb

We look at how to make the most of lamb by getting to know the best butchers cuts.

There’s no denying the joy of well-cooked lamb, but cuts like neck, fillet and chops can be fairly expensive. Rather than reserve it as a rare treat, seeking out low-cost cuts will mean you can enjoy it on an everyday basis. Get to know your butcher – they’ll be able to offer far more than pre-packaged supermarket cuts.

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Many inexpensive lamb cuts require very slow cooking to get them really tender, but this means they impart a lot of their unique flavour. Award-winning butcher Brindon Addy suggests adding a little lamb to beef cuts too, to give a variety of textures and flavours.

Shoulder


Actually taken from the bottom half of the lamb, this large cut makes a cheap alternative to leg. Roast whole joints studded with herbs, garlic and anchovies. Sitting the meat on top of sliced ‘boulangere’ style potatoes means you’ll get the most out of the cooking juices too. Alternatively you can cut it into chunks and cook slowly in a stew.

Try it in… 
Slow-roast shoulder of lamb with anchovy & rosemary
Greek lamb with orzo
Braised shoulder of lamb with jewelled stuffing
 

Scrag and middle neck


Two adjoining cuts taken from the top of the lamb, just below the head, these cuts are cheaper than the best end of neck, which is further towards the middle of the animal. These cuts are best when diced and stewed in liquid. Middle neck is available as chops or fillet – look for even-coloured meat with a layer of fat running through it.

Try it in… 
Herby lamb cobbler
Moroccan lamb
Quick lamb biryani
 

Chump


A neat juicy lamb cut taken from the back of the animal. Try grilling, roasting or pan-frying the steaks, with or without the bone intact.

Try it in… 
Marinated lamb steaks in flatbread
 

Breast


A cut taken from the underbelly of the lamb, cook this piece very slowly to render away the fat. Whole breast will still have the rib and bones attached. These can be pulled out once the meat is cooked, or alternatively you can buy a boned and rolled breast, which will normally be stuffed with herbs. Ask your butcher to skin the joint to remove the very top fatty layer of skin. 

Try it in… 
Mustard-crusted breast of lamb

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Do you like to use the cheaper cuts of lamb? How do you like to serve them? Share your suggestions with us below…