Lamb is divided into large sections called primal cuts, which you can see in the chart above. These large cuts are then broken down further into individual retail cuts that you buy at the supermarket or butcher's shop.

Unlike beef, which is divided into sides, lamb is first divided into sections called the foresaddle and hindsaddle, which are then broken down further into their main primal cuts.

Lamb Shoulder:

As a rule, lamb is fairly tender, which means that most cuts of lamb can be cooked using dry heat — even when the corresponding cut of beef or pork might not. One example of this is the lamb shoulder.

The lamb shoulder is often roasted — in which case it is usually boned and rolled; it can be stuffed, as well. Lamb shoulder is also sometimes cut into chops, though these chops are not as desirable as rib or loin chops. Lamb shoulder can also be cooked with moist heat.

Lamb Rib:

Sometimes called the "hotel rack," the lamb rib primal cut is where we get lamb rib chops , lamb crown roast and rack of lamb . Depending on the size of the ribs, a lamb chop may actually have two ribs on it.

Lamb Breast:

Lamb breast contains a lot of cartilage and other connective tissues, making it one of the few lamb primal cuts that needs to be cooked with moist heat. Lamb breast can also be used for making ground lamb.

Lamb Neck:

Another tougher cut with a lot of cartilage, the lamb neck is best used for making lamb stew.

Lamb Shanks:

The shanks are the lower section of the animal's leg, and they're extremely tough and full of connective tissue. (Note also that lamb has a foreshank and a hindshank, which come from the foresaddle and hindsaddle, respectively.) The lamb shank is the source of a particularly succulent dish, braised lamb shanks. Lamb shanks can also be braised in a crockpot.

Lamb Loin:

The lamb loin is where we get the lamb loin roast and lamb loin chops, both tender cuts that are best prepared using dry-heat. The entire lamb loin can also be cooked on the grill.

Lamb Sirloin:

The lamb sirloin is sometimes considered part of the leg primal cut, but it can also be prepared separately. In this case it is frequently cut into chops or steaks.

Lamb Flank:

Lamb flank can be tough unless cooked with moist heat, so braising is best. Lamb flank can also be used for making ground lamb.

Lamb Leg:

The leg of lamb can be cut into leg chops, though more frequently it is prepared whole. Roasted leg of lamb is one of the most common preparations, although braised leg of lamb is also popular in some cuisines.