Lamb destined for the market is first divided into large primal or wholesale cuts that are then cut into individual retail cuts. Some cuts may not be commonly available and can be purchased from a butcher.
Meat from the shoulder, which is flavorful and moderately fatty, yields chops, cubes of stewing and kebab meat, and ground lamb, as well as rolled boneless roasts. The rib section, with its rich, tender meat, yields lamb chops for sautéing, broiling, or grilling, as well as the whole rib roast known as rack of lamb. The fatty, flavorful meat from the breast, with its many tiny rib bones, is cooked whole by braising or roasting; it is also cut up and braised as lamb riblets or is boned and ground. The whole rib roast known as rack of lamb consists of very tender, uncut lamb chops. Most racks have seven ribs. Larger or smaller racks can be ordered from a butcher.Very tender loin meat is the source of tenderloin and loin chops for broiling, grilling, or sautéing, as well as whole roasts. The saddle contains the sirloin, which is roasted whole or cut into chops or steaks for grilling, broiling, or sautéing. Firm, flavorful leg meat is roasted whole or boned, or cut into boneless cubes for kebabs or stew. The small, lean foreshank is usually braised as an individual-serving cut. The hindshank is cut into thick crosswise slices for braising or into boneless stew meat.Meat from the neck section and flank, rich in flavor but tough, is most commonly sold ground.Lamb bones can be used to prepare lamb stock, a richly flavored liquid made by simmering the bones in water with onions and other vegetables, and herbs.