What is a lamb shank and how is it cooked?

What is the best way to cook lamb shank?

Lamb shank is a popular meat to cook with and enjoy in a wide range of cuisines and cultures around the world. When cooked right the juiciness and tenderness of the meat pairs well with various flavours and side dishes to create the perfect family meal. However, not everyone knows about the different cuts of lamb and how to best prepare it to reach its full potential, which is why we’ve put together this guide. Hopefully those who are new to lamb can take away some key information and get their creative juices flowing to prepare beautiful dishes with lamb shank.

So, what exactly is lamb shank?

Unlike other meat examples where the name is fairly self-explanatory, not much is given away with the term lamb shank. The shank refers to the bottom part of the leg just under the knee and is often renowned for having the most flavour out of any lamb cut. This is because of the connective tissue and collagen that makes up the muscle, but the caveat with that is it needs to be prepared in a specific way or the result will be tough and chewy lamb that isn’t very enjoyable.

What is the best way to cook lamb shank?

The key to getting the perfect flavour and texture with lamb shank is to cook it slowly over a low heat for a longer period of time. You will know that the shank is cooked right when it simply falls off the bone with no effort needed. Stewing or braising the meat is the best way to achieve this as you can stop the meat from drying out with the liquid and the long cooking time on the low heat gives the meat enough opportunity to break down the toughness and become amazingly soft and tender. If you want to get as much flavour depth as possible, make sure to brown the meat first before you stew or braise it.

What is the difference between lamb shank and leg of lamb?

Both of these cuts come from the leg of a lamb, so it is easy to get them mixed up if you’re looking for a specific type of meat. Even though they both come from the leg they are in fact quite different. The lamb shank comes from a different part of the leg than a leg of lamb and often doesn’t have as much meat. The leg of lamb is a large, tender cut, resembling a sirloin or flank and is great for oven roasting. It doesn’t have the toughness of the shank, but equally if you’re looking for the perfect meat for stewing or braising, you’ll want to go for the shank over the leg.

Taste and recipes

Lamb shanks have a stronger gamey flavour in comparison to other cuts which tend to maintain a more subtle taste. The unique taste of lamb shank leaves plenty of room for cooks to get creative with flavour pairings and sides, which has led to the development of a wide range of exciting recipes with lamb shank at the heart. The large majority of lamb shank recipes will use a slow-cooking method whether that is stewing or braising. Popular sides that you will often see with lamb shank include things like mashed potato, carrots, onion, beans, and much more.


Looking for fresh and affordable lamb shank that can be delivered fast and straight to your door? The Village Butcher can help. We have the highest quality cuts of meat to suit your eating habits whether you’re a keen cook or someone who likes to keep it simple. You can find everything you need from us including flavour-packed rubs and sauces. Explore our wide range of products and recipes and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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