Cooking a roast lamb on the Weber BBQ is somewhat of a national pass time in Australia and New Zealand countries for entertaining.
Its beautiful flavors and juicy, tender meat makes lamb a popular choice when deciding what to feed your guests at small social gatherings.
What are your choices when deciding what is the best cut of lamb for roasting?
- Best end of neck
As you can see, each of these cuts isn’t the same and may need slightly different preparation methods.
Each cut may also be better for some groups than others. It can be quite overwhelming when making the correct decision to match the occasion.
Hopefully, the following breakdown will give you a better understanding, so you can make a more informed decision when deciding the best cut of lamb for roasting.
Leg of Lamb
As one of the more active parts of the lamb, the legs work hard, resulting in a cut of meat with a strong flavor.
Leg of lamb is best when roasted whole on the bone in the bbq or weber.
When cooked correctly, it will be flavorful, juicy, and tender.
I avoid cooking lamb in an oven because I find it to be a little drier.
Since this is a cut of meat that’s relatively lean, try to avoid overcooking it, or the outcome could be a dry and tough leg of lamb.
One great way to roast a leg of lamb is to rub it with herb-infused oil, a little garlic, rosemary, and even some mustard.
Roast in the oven and then finish on the barbeque to get a smoky flavor. A leg of lamb works well for a family meal or if you have a larger group to entertain.
Pair this dish with some fresh vegetables on the side.
If you’re the lucky owner of a Weber Q BBQ then you can check out my Weber Q Roast Lamb recipe, where I combine rosemary and garlic to make an awesome dinner that’s perfect for your family and friends.
Like the legs, the lamb’s shoulder also works hard; thus, it’s more flavorful due to the high muscle content.
However, the shoulder meat takes a little more time to become tender, so it’s best used to stew and roast slowly, which break down the meat into its most flavorful form.
Cook the shoulder with the bone in so that the meat will fall off with a fork. Slow-cooked shoulder with roasted vegetables is an excellent dish for a Sunday lunch.
Similar to the leg, rubbing the shoulder with a herb rub is best. Slash the skin and massage the rub into all areas of the meat.
To add additional flavor, place the shoulder on top of onion wedges and add a braising liquid.
Cook on a high temperature to sear the meat and then turn to a low temperature for 4-5 hours, depending on the shoulder’s weight.
Slow-cooked roasted lamb is also an excellent dish for a crowd or when looking for something to cook for the family but don’t have much time.
Best End of Neck
The neck is available at most grocery stores and butchers. It’s often left connected to the shoulder, but the butcher will separate it for you.
The lamb neck is a universal protein that can be prepped and cooked in various ways, but the trade-off can be expensive than other lamb cuts.
Cooking is similar to how you would cook a steak. It’s a flavorful dish and a great alternative to beefsteak when looking for another option.
If looking for other methods, you can also add lamb neck to stews and curries. It works well as kebabs if you’re barbequing, so there’s no limit to this cut as it’s one of the more versatile options.
The saddle of a lamb is from the loin area in the lumbar region.
It’s made up of the loin on either side of the animal. You can find this cut with the bone-in or with it removed, and it’s often rolled up into a joint that’s easy to carve.
Saddle of lamb is one of the more expensive lamb cuts and is the best lamb cut for roasting.
It typically serves 8-10 people and is a perfect choice for special occasions.
Consider boning and stuffing the cut and then tie before roasting. The butcher will usually even do this for you before picking up.
Loin also comes from the waist of the lamb.
You can find similar cuts known as loin chops, which can be prepared much as you would prepare other chops.
You can also keep the loin in one piece and then bone it and roll it to make a roasting joint.
Lamb loin is a moderate-fat cut of meat, so it’s an excellent choice for roasting and works well with being marinated as well as stuffed.
The chump may be a cut that you’re not familiar with, but the chump is a cut that comes from a bone-in leg.
The chump is removed by cutting at an angle across the leg. With this cut, the butt tenderloin is retained.
With very little meat wasted, this smaller cut of meat won’t make a huge meal, but it’s ideal for a couple.
It’s also a relatively inexpensive cut and with great flavors, making the chump an excellent choice for a low-cost meal.
The lamb breast is another value cut of lamb.
It’s one of the fattiest cuts of meat, so it can end up being tough if not cooked correctly.
However, this cut of meat is often underused and undervalued. If treating as you would a pork belly cut, you’ll be happy with the results.
The layer of fat on the lamb adds to the flavor and helps the meat tenderize as it cooks slowly.
The lamb breast typically serves about four people making it an excellent option for small families.
Browning, then roasting at a low temperature produces excellent results.
The breast has a natural flavor but can handle a number of more robust flavor additives, so consider adding lemon and garlic oil mix to drizzle over the breast as it cooks slowly.
Shopping for Lamb Cuts
When shopping for lamb as well as any other type of meat, fresher is best.
Check the dates on the packaging and look for meats that are rosy pink or red.
Meats that are fine-grained and have firm fat work well for roasting and baking.
If you’re not sure about which cut or preparation method is best for your needs, talk to an experienced butcher.
It’s well worth visiting a butcher shop to get expert advice, especially if you don’t often cook lamb.
If you’re looking for a more detailed guide when it comes to choosing the right cut of lamb, Jamie Oliver wrote a fantastic guide.