Butchers Guide

Butcher's Guide: Lamb

Butcher's Guide: Lamb

We’ve pulled together this guide to help you understand more about the different cuts of Northumbrian Lamb available and what cooking method each cut is best suited to. 




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.

To maximise the flavour, cook lamb shoulder on the bone so the meat simply falls apart when pulled with a fork. Shoulder is for a perfect Sunday traditional lunch or roast in fragrant spices for a more feisty dish. 



Lamb chops or cutlets are the most tender cuts of lamb, but are incredibly delicious. They are taken from the ribs of the lamb and cooked individually, normally over a grill or a barbecue.

When a number of them are left together and cooked as a whole, they’re called a rack of lamb. Chops and racks can be French trimmed for you by one of our Butchers, where the meat is scraped from the ends of the rib bones, which looks super-impressive on a plate. 


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 chops, they’re great for grilling or barbecuing. 

A few loin chops kept together in one piece, then boned and rolled, make a lovely little roasting joint - just ask our team! 


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. 

It is delicious pan-fried whole, finished in the oven for a few minutes, then sliced to reveal its blushing pink centre. Or, it can be cut into chops on the bone then grilled or pan-fried.


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.

 Rub it all over with a herb oil, some garlic and even a little mustard, if you like, roast in the oven, then finish off on the barbecue to get a great gnarly smoked flavour. This is a great one for a weekend spent with family, or when entertaining a big group at Easter! 


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. 


Lamb neck can be cooked slowly on a low heat, yet unlike the shoulder, it can also be treated like a steak and cooked quickly over a high heat until pink. It goes well with a whole load of flavours and is delicious served with a great mash when cooked low and slow. It works really well as a stewing meat for a curry and is a great cut of meat to make Kebabs with, too.


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Choose your BBQ

Choose your BBQ

There are many, many different types and styles of BBQ grills, as well as prices and of course it all depends on what you want to and how proficient a BBQ’er you, so what’s the easiest way to choose;


Disposable BBQ’s

We’ve never been a big fan of disposable BBQ’s, especially after widescale moorland fires last year. Essentially the simplest form of BBQ, the disposable, is an aluminium tray filed with charcoal and covered with wire mesh. Although seemingly a good idea, they can be both flimsy and dangerous. It’s difficult to cook food properly, they are absolutely not environmentally friendly and take hundreds of years to decompose and they can be a potential fire hazard unless disposed of safely.

Our view: 

0/10, "Ditch the Disposable!"


Portable BBQ’s

Much more environmentally friendly. Mainly bucket or round style charcoal grills, costing as little as £10, they may have a limited life, but are much better than disposables and can be safely cooked on and moved.


Our view

7/10, "A good choice for BBQ'ing away from home!"


Charcoal or Gas Tray Grills

The most basic form of BBQ, these grills consist of a ‘tin tray on legs’ with a separate, detachable hood or not, no cooking height variation and powered either by a single gas burner or charcoal.



Our view

6/10, “A good entry choice!"


Larger Tray or Kettle Grills

The majority of charcoal and gas grills fall into this category. Most will have adjustable grill heights with gas grills being 2 or 3 burners and some will have a ‘hinged’ hood. We say go for the hooded versions.



Our view

7/10, “If you're moving up in the Barbi world, a good choice!"


Barrel BBQs

Originally based on a ‘halved’ oil drum, these Barrel BBQs are only available in charcoal format and are great for large scale grilling, or if you want to remain true to ethos of pure BBQ, although they equally need more management.

Our view

9/10, “A perfect choice if you know what you’re doing, BBQ-wise”


Multi-burner Gas Grills

Great for grill management, offering maximum control and many will come with a separate griddle and gas hob, all will have hinged lids or hoods. The minimum number of burners is 3, the maximum 6-8!



Our view

9/10, “A great, but expensive choice allowing maximum flexibility & control!"

Drum or Egg Grills

Although slightly odd-looking, these drums or egg-shaped BBQs are now becoming more popular and come in either charcoal or gas variants and can be used as a grill, BBQ or smoker.



Our view

7/10, “Reasonably forgiving, allows more flexibility, so if you want to be different A great, but expensive choice allowing lots of flexibility & control!"


Dual-fuel Grills

Still relatively rare, a new type of BBQ is the dual-fuel grill which combines the best of both gas and charcoal in one grill. Our view is good, but arguably, not really necessary, and expensive;

Our view

5/10, “Reasonably expensive and ensure you get a grill with equal cooking space but does allow increased & control!"

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