Key Differences Between Each Type Of Lamb Chop

If you’re hoping to use lamb as the choice of meat for your next family meal, or maybe if you just want a bit of a switch up from regular chicken and pork, it’s always a good idea to get a good understanding of each type of lamb chop along with how they taste since they can vary quite a lot. 

Key Differences Between Each Type Of Lamb Chop

Many people agree that lamb chops have a much more rich and distinct flavor than many of its other meat competitors and since just a few pieces are more than enough to keep you and your guest’s satisfied thanks to just how naturally flavorful lamb is, it’s always worth finding out which chops would be best suited for your situation. 

Here is everything you need to know about each kind of lamb chop, including their differences, and how each should be prepared. 

Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Chop?

Lamb chops come from young domesticated sheep who are usually no more than a year old, however while this is done to get as much flavor out of the meat as possible, it does also mean that the chops can seem a little smaller than some might expect with the average person usually being served 2 to 3 chops at a time. 

What this does mean is because the quantity is limited, and since each cut can differ quite massively in texture and taste, it’s always vital to choose the right chop to ensure you won’t need to go back to the store to keep you and your guests satisfied when it’s time to tuck in. 

Many people also like to savor the taste of lamb since it is usually considered much more of a luxurious meat when compared to chicken and pork, so it can always be important to choose the right cut since lamb can often be a lot more expensive than other kinds of meat. 

Different Types Of Lamb Cuts

Depending on the type of meal that you plan on serving, the amount of meat you actually get with each kind of chop can be massively different with some being more suited to bigger feasts while others are perfect for smaller meals with just one or two people. 

Different Types Of Lamb Cuts

Their cooking times can also differ greatly, so to make sure you pick up the chops that are ideal for your situation, here are the main differences between each. 

Chump Chops

Chump chops weren’t always a very popular type of lamb chop, however, in recent years they have been gaining more and more attention since people have begun appreciating their extremely rich flavor along with their texture which is a lot more tender than the more popular shoulder chops.

Chump chops come from the rump area of the lamb between the loin and the leg which gives them a good amount of juicy internal fat along with a layer of healthy fat on the outside. 

These chops are known to be plump and generally very lean, putting them on the healthier side compared to some of the other variations of lamb chops. 

Part of the beauty of chump chops isn’t just the sheer amount of meat you get with each chop, it’s also the fact that they can be cooked up in little to no time, usually taking no more than 15 minutes since they benefit from being cooked quickly and on high heat. 

Cook the chops on the grill, or griddle or pan-fry them on each side for 6-8 minutes until the meat turns to a darker shade of brown and the texture looks much more firm.

Chump chops are usually served alongside rosemary and thyme to enhance the natural flavors even more and ensure everyone who tastes it is more than satisfied with their meal. 

Lamb Loin Chops

Succulent, tender, and with a thin fat covering the edges similar to chump chops, lamb loin chops come from between the ribs and the hip of the animal, and are known for having a slightly sweet flavor that can be evened out if you feel like adding a little more salt to the meat. 

The texture is also incredibly tender, making loin chops easy to bite into and tear apart rather than the meat ever coming out too chewy.

This tenderness does also give you a huge amount of variety when it comes to cooking them, giving you the option of either baking, broiling, frying (see also our favorite paleo air fryer recipes), or grilling them. 

With each loin chop usually being around 1 inch in thickness, this gives them a decent amount of meat for everyone to enjoy with 2 chops usually being enough to make up a meal. 

You don’t only need to serve the chops this way however, if you want the meat to be even easier to tear apart, you can ask your butcher to cut them down a little if you ever feel that you would like to serve 3 or 4 slices on each plate instead. 

While they can be cooked in a variety of different ways, the most popular and easy way to heat them up is in the oven where they can be cooked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drizzle both sides of the chops with salt and black pepper and proceed by putting them in the oven once it’s heated up. 

The general rule of thumb is to cook the chops for at least 10 minutes for rare, 14 minutes for medium, and 20 minutes for well done.

Once they’re ready, you can serve them in any way you like, though a popular choice is to serve them with some creamy mashed potato and a few veggies to create a nutrient-dense meal packed with flavor. 

Lamb Shoulder Chops

Shoulder chops have a much tougher texture than loin or chump since the cut itself comes from a working muscle, however it’s still soft enough to cut apart with relative ease as long as you prepare it correctly.

This does also mean that lamb shoulder chops tend to be a lot more flavorful than other cuts and since they are also a lot bigger than other chops, each chop is packed full of that rich meaty flavor that so many of us can’t get enough of. 

Shoulder chops do contain high amounts of fat however, which is why it’s usually advised to slowly cook them to help break down the meat to make it as tender as possible while also massively reducing the fat content. 

Despite being the biggest lamb cut, shoulder chops are actually often the cheapest type of lamb chop you can buy along with the neck cut.

This is primarily because shoulder chops are not seen to be as much of a luxury as others such as leg chops, however they still contain a massive amount of flavor on their own and are perfect when you have a few mouths to feed at once and want to leave everyone satisfied. 

Lamb shoulder chops need to be cooked on medium to high heat for a decent amount of time to make sure the meat is thoroughly broken down, therefore the easiest way to cook them is to crank up the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and after seasoning them with any spices and herbs, place them in the oven for 3 hours, and they will be ready to serve. 

Lamb Rib Chops

While many of us are used to seeing a rack of ribs which are made up of two or more chops being joined together, you can also get singular chops from the rib area of the animal which are usually seen as the most high-end type of lamb chop you can eat

While these chops are incredibly small, meaning you will have to serve a few at one time for each person around the dinner table, they are also extremely tender while containing an incredibly rich flavor that is a little more potent than most other chops.

While they retain most of the flavor when served normally, a lot of the time chops that come from a rib cut are usually ‘French Timmed’ where all the fat and meat covering the rib will be removed.

While this does look incredible when it’s presented on the plate, it does mean that you get even less meat on the bone while also limiting the flavor by a decent amount due to the juices being removed. 

Unfortunately, if you do like the sound of trying out a few lamb rib chops for yourself, they are often considered a luxury and are therefore mostly served in gourmet restaurants.

However if you do manage to get your hands on them, they are usually served best after being pan-fried for just a few minutes to make them as tender as possible while also raising the taste and flavor of the fat to make each bite incredibly juicy. 

Butterfly Chops

If you want the maximum amount of meaty flavor possible out of a lamb chop, while they may be a little overshadowed by their counterparts, butterfly chops are packed full of juiciness and are a lot more satisfying to bite into since they are also extremely tender.

Another feature that makes butterfly chops stand out is their appearance.

Since these chops are essentially rib chops that are still joined to the backbone, they have a very unique appearance that looks like a slightly thinner T-bone. 

Since they are a little thinner and contain a little less meat than some bigger cuts, butterfly chops can be cooked up in little to no time, with the quickest method being over the stove.

Simply heat a pan up over medium heat, then cook the chops, making sure to turn them over once or twice. 

This should only take around 5 minutes and you will know when the chops are done as soon as their appearance changes from pink to a deep brown.

Because butterfly chops are usually considered a little too thin in the meat department for some, it’s often best to serve them alongside a filling side dish to make sure everyone gets their fill.

Some ideas include baked potatoes, cauliflower gratin, or even a crunchy mixture of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. 

Which Type Of Lamb Chop Should I Use?

This really depends on how many people you intend to feed, along with how much you’re willing to spend. The biggest cut, and the one you’re going to be able to feed the most people with for a reasonable price, are the shoulder chops.

Which Type Of Lamb Chop Should I Use?

These might not have the incredibly rich flavor that some of the more expensive cuts have, however, they do still have that familiar meaty taste that still makes them a joy to bite into. 

If you do choose shoulder chops, you should also be prepared to put aside a few hours so that you can cook them thoroughly.

This is incredibly important during the preparation phase since if it’s not cooked for too long, a shoulder chop comes out extremely tough, making it hard to tear apart and overall pretty unsatisfying.

If you therefore don’t mind spending a little time slowly cooking the meat, then a shoulder chop is the perfect choice for feeding multiple people at once, however if you don’t have this time to spare, then pork loin chops may be a little more basic but are still packed full of flavor and can be picked up for a similarly reasonable price. 

With them often being ready in less than an hour, and with a good amount of meat on the bone to where you should only need to serve 2 to 3 at a time, loin chops are another excellent choice for feeding several people but also as part of a solo dish when garnished with herbs and spices alongside being served with a creamy side dish. 

Butterfly, chump, and rib chops tend to be a little more expensive and will often be much harder to find in stores, however they definitely should not be ignored since all three provide enough meat to still be satisfying and they can also all be cooked up in less than an hour.

Therefore if you don’t mind spending a bit more for a rich cut that will feed one or two people at once, these three chops are more worth your money. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Barnsley Chops The Same As Butterfly Chops?

While they can often be mistaken for one another, Barnsley chops are exactly the same as butterfly chops. The reason for this name is that years ago, farmers in Barnsley were known around the area to serve large and unusually shaped chops in the market. 

The name itself stuck when a stranger at the market supposedly asked for “A big chop, a real chop. You know, a Barnsley chop”. 

Butterfly chops are also sometimes referred to as a ‘saddle chop’ since they are cut from across the saddle area of the animal. 

Which Lamb Chop Is The Smallest?

Lamb rib chops tend to be the smallest in appearance and also in meat quantity since they are cut down from the ribs and when served from restaurants, are usually ‘French Trimmed’ so you get a lot less meat than other cuts, despite it being incredibly delicious. 

Rib chops are therefore more suited for when you want a delicious meal to yourself that you can eat alongside a few side ingredients, rather than feeding multiple people at once. 


While there are a decent amount of lamb chops you can use as part of a meal to give it that deep and rich meaty flavor, because they all differ in quality and quantity, it’s never a bad idea to learn about their differences so that you can make an informed decision when preparing your next big meal.

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