In the English-speaking world and beyond, meat cuts can be confusing. The names of different types of meat vary depending on their original language, local dialect or even region.
For example, “lamb chop” is not the same as “lamb shank.” So what are these two cuts and how do you know which one you need?
In this blog post we will demystify the differences between lamb shank and lamb chop. We’ll also explain where they come from on the animal, their taste profiles and how to cook them either indoors or out.
Lamb shank and lamb chop are two popular cuts of lamb that are used in various culinary dishes. While lamb shank is a tougher and larger cut of meat that requires slow cooking to become tender, lamb chop is a smaller and more tender cut that is suitable for quick cooking methods. Lamb shank is known for its rich flavor and meaty texture, while lamb chop is prized for its tenderness and juiciness. Both cuts have their unique culinary applications and are enjoyed by lamb lovers around the world.
Here’s a chart comparing the nutritional value of lamb chop and lamb shank per 100 grams:
Note: Nutritional values may vary depending on the source and preparation method. This chart is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional dietary advice.
What is a Lamb Shank?
A lamb shank is the lower portion of the leg of a lamb. It is the portion of the leg below the knee joint, which is why it is also sometimes called the “lower shank.” A whole lamb shank often weighs around 1.5 to 2 pounds. Lamb shanks are best cooked slow and low.
This helps to break down the connective tissues, making the meat more tender and juicier. Lamb shanks are typically braised or stewed for long periods of time to make them extra tender.
Some people like to add wine or broth to the braising liquid, which gives the lamb shank a rich, flavourful sauce.
What is a Lamb Chop?
A lamb chop is a cut from the loin end of a lamb leg. Lamb chops come from the area where the leg meets the hip bone. Like lamb shanks, lamb chops are best cooked slow and low, but they cook much faster.
The hip bone is close to the surface of the meat, so the chops cook more quickly than a shank and are more tender, as the bone is not as deep. A whole lamb chop often weighs around 2 to 4 ounces.
Lamb chops are best when cooked to a medium or medium rare, as they are loin chops and are therefore very tender. Lamb chops are often served grilled or roasted, but they are also delicious when pan seared, oven roasted or even stir fried.
Differences Between Lamb Shank and Lamb Chop
Here is a quick overview of the differences between lamb shanks and lamb chops. Bone – Lamb shanks have bones in them, whereas lamb chops may or may not. Cooking Time – Lamb chops cook faster than lamb shanks.
Flavour Profile – Lamb chops are more delicate in flavour than lamb shanks. Fattiness – Lamb chops are fattier than lamb shanks. Steakiness – Lamb chops tend to be more steak-like in texture and flavour than lamb shanks.
Where They Come From – Lamb shanks come from the lower portion of the leg, and lamb chops come from the loin end of the leg. Tenderness – Lamb chops are more tender than lamb shanks.
Where Does the Lamb Shank Come From?
The lamb shank comes from the lower portion of the hind leg of the lamb. It is sometimes called the “lower shank.”
Where Does the Lamb Chop Come From?
The lamb chop comes from the loin end of the lamb leg. It is sometimes called a “loin chop.”
Tasting Notes for Lamb Shanks
– Bone: The bones add flavour and make the cooking liquid rich. – Fat: There is moderate marbling in the fat. – Texture: The meat is fibrous and chewy. – Flavour: Lamb shanks are very rich and lamb-like in flavour.
Tasting Notes for Lamb Chops
– Bone: The bone is close to the surface of the meat, so it is not as flavourful as the bones in a lamb shank. – Fat: There is little fat marbling. – Texture: The meat is tender, but it is not as soft and delicate as the meat in lamb shanks. – Flavour: Lamb chops have a delicate, mild flavour.
How to Cook a Lamb Shank (Indoor Option)
– Season the shank and put it in a roasting pan or casserole dish. – Add a splash of liquid such as wine or broth, if desired. – Cover the roasting pan with an ovenproof lid or baking sheet, or put a layer of foil over the top. – Put the shank in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C) for about 2 to 3 hours.
How to Cook a Lamb Shank (Outdoor Option)
– Season the shank and put it in a roasting pan or casserole dish. – Add a splash of liquid such as wine or broth, if desired. – Cover the roasting pan with an ovenproof lid or baking sheet, or put a layer of foil over the top. – Put the shank in a covered grill or a covered barbecue grill for about 2 to 3 hours.
How to Cook a Lamb Chop (Indoor Option)
– Season the lamb chops and pan sear them in a hot pan with a little oil, butter or fat of choice. – Alternatively, roast the lamb chops in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C). – Roast the lamb chops for about 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
How to Cook a Lamb Chop (Outdoor Option)
– Season the lamb chops and grill them over a hot fire. – Alternatively, roast the lamb chops in an oven preheated to 350°F (175°C). – Roast the lamb chops for about 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
How to Store Lamb Shanks and Lamb Chops
– Store lamb shanks in their original packaging. – Store lamb chops in the original packaging or in a sealed plastic bag. If you are storing lamb shanks or chops for multiple days, make sure to put them in the freezer as soon as possible.
Once cuts are frozen, they will last up to 3 months in the freezer, so you can stock up on lamb and make sure you have it on hand when you need it. You can store lamb shanks and chops at room temperature for up to 2 days for seasoning and marinating purposes.