How to cook lamb chops
Find all the information you need to cook the perfect lamb chops and steaks, from cooking temperatures to flavour combinations and our best ever recipes.
Lamb chops and steaks should be cooked over a high heat, quickly, and can be quick-roasted, too, depending on how thick they are. Barbecuing, griddling, pan-frying and grilling are all methods that suit chops with an aim to getting lots of colour on the meat and any exposed fat sizzling until brown.
Chops are quick to cook and easy to portion but they differ depending on which part of the lamb they come from.
Lamb chops and steaks
Rack of lamb – This is a trimmed rack of six chops that can either be roasted whole and carved into chops, or cut into cutlets (see below) that can then be quick-cooked.
Lamb cutlets – Taken from the rack of lamb, these neat chops can come with a layer of fat surrounding the eye of the meat that extends to the bone, or they can be French-trimmed to expose the bone. These can be simply pan-fried, griddled or quickly barbecued and sometimes find their way into a casserole.
Lamb lollipops – This is a well-trimmed cutlet that has had the eye of the meat batted out.
Loin chops – Cut from the saddle, these meaty chops have a T-shaped bone in the middle which is so thick the meat is quickly roasted.
Barnsley chops – A double loin chop (see above). A single Barnsley chop is the perfect portion for one.
Chump/rump chops – A boneless slice of the chump, these are very good value and can be pan-fried or barbecued like a steak.
Leg steaks – A cross-section of the leg, these steaks can vary in size and normally have a piece of bone in the middle that the marrow can be eaten out of once cooked. A great steak to barbecue.
Lamb chops and steaks take well to being marinated. Here are some classic flavours from around the world to include in marinades and rubs, either all together or in different combinations:
British – capers, rosemary and/or thyme, or served with redcurrant jelly or mint sauce
Mediterranean – garlic, olives, anchovies, lemon, basil
North African – cinnamon, saffron, chilli, cumin
Indian – cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, ginger, lime, cumin, curry paste, garam marsala, yogurt
Ovens perform differently and barbecuing or pan-frying lamb often involves guesswork. The only way to tell how well it’s cooked is with a digital cooking thermometer.
50C – very rare
55C – medium rare
60C – medium (pink)
65C – medium well
72C – well done
Lamb, hogget, mutton and goat
‘Lamb’ is meat from an animal that’s under a year old, hogget is an older lamb (1-2 years) and mutton is the meat from a fully-grown sheep (2 years +). British goat meat is becoming more readily available and is generally sold at the same age as lamb. Chops and steak from lamb, hogget, mutton and goat are interchangeable, but hogget and mutton have a stronger, more developed flavour and the meat from goat is a bit richer than lamb.
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