Which one of these lamb meat parts has lowest fat -because I don't like the taste of fat-, (shanks, loin or shoulder) ?

3 Answers 3


There are lean cuts from lamb - but you need to be very selective and expect to pay a premium.

Both are cut from the back of the lamb and if you look at a cross-section you can see two roundish sections, a larger and a smaller one:

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The smaller is the filet - in a lamb, it’s very thin, more like a finger or two. The second is the actual loin.

They are also sold whole as longish strips or if you can’t get them, you can get a piece of the lamb back / saddle and butcher it yourself.

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The key is that while you often get a chop, cutlet or back roast that’s essentially the whole piece and if you roast it whole it’s kind of self-basting thanks to the outer layer fat, the loin itself is comparatively lean and can be separated cleanly. The remaining meat is somewhere between 4% and 6% fat, according to my research. That’s so lean that you really have to be careful or you end up with a dry meat. If done correctly, it’s incredibly tender and juicy and has very little to none of the “lamb fat” flavor.

Shoulder and leg are fattier to begin with and the meat is more marbled. You can’t remove the fat prior to roasting and it will always “seep into” the dish.

  • how many kg are back/saddle and how kg are loin? I searched (lamb meat parts) diagram images but didn't find one with this three parts together
    – huab
    Jun 29, 2021 at 5:50
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    @huab random example: steaksandgame.com/lamb-loin-boneless-1549 - no endorsement whatsoever, just the first Google result that popped up. This chart is quite useful imho.
    – Stephie
    Jun 29, 2021 at 6:14
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    While a saddle can have up to 3kg/6lb, the trimmed loin is usually just half a pound or less, depending. My butcher sells them in individual portions of between 150 and 170g.
    – Stephie
    Jun 29, 2021 at 6:20

As someone who also hates fatty meat, with lamb honestly it doesn't matter.
It's very fatty meat, all cuts.

My local supermarket's "low fat" lamb is still 20% fat. They don't tell you what the rest is.

The trick is to cook it for a long time - 4 hours or so, or all day in a slow cooker. The fat doesn't magically disappear, but it gets rendered down into something far more tasty [& incidentally, if you're like me, a whole lot less 'gribbly' to chew;) Far more palatable. Cook it long enough & you really can't tell the fat was there.

That's how any good 'curry restaurant' manages to make lamb curries that taste great & don't feel 'fatty'.

  • 1
    Disagree - while most cuts are fatty, there are exceptions and starting with the loin is the way to go.
    – Stephie
    Jun 28, 2021 at 19:33
  • @Stephie - I've never seen lamb loin (though I suppose intellectually I should know it exists). tbh, I hate the taste of lamb fat so much I will only ever make curries with it - as that just 'fixes' the issue for me, after many hours cooking.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 29, 2021 at 6:29
  • Although my parents kept sheep, I am the only two-legged family member who loves lamb. Hubby gets digestive problems and the kids don’t like it either. So it’s usually just an individual serving for me once a year tops, and never a whole roast or stew. On these rare occasions I will splurge on loin or lollipop chops. I can understand your point of course.
    – Stephie
    Jun 29, 2021 at 8:14

To add to the already good answer, you are not escaping fat when you eat lamb. It is also an incredible rich fat. Especially the fat around the ribs. This is why currying your lamb is usually a good thing as it just tempers the richness so as to make it palatable. Unfortunately though if you have a constitution that cannot handle rich food then lamb is just simply not going to be good for you.

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