How to Cut a Leg of Lamb Into Shank and Butt Portions

Updated April 17, 2017

Lamb is the most tender sheep meat according to the University of Minnesota. Butchered within the first year of its life, a lamb has fatty and flavourful dark meat. The animal's meat is divided into three sections: tough front, tender whole loin and leg meat, which is second toughest. When cut into shank and butt portions, the leg can make several meals though it is best cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. With a sharp knife and a steady hand, you can section out a leg of lamb for your own use.

Place the leg of lamb on the cutting board, skin side against the board.

Measure the middle of the upper leg bone, and make a small incision to mark the spot.

Saw through the meat and bone where the incision was made. Rinse both sides of the cut to remove any fragments of bone. Set the upper thigh portion aside.

Find the tough tendons that surround the ball socket of the upper thigh and lower leg and cut through them. Take one shank, the upper-half portion of the leg and set it aside.

Lay a large sheet of butcher paper on the counter, waxed side up. Place the lower-leg shank on one side of the paper. Wrap it up, folding the sides in and cutting off any excess paper. Repeat this step with the upper shank and butt portion.

Tie all the wrapped portions securely with butcher twine and refrigerate them. If freezing, cover securely with cling film before wrapping in butcher paper.


Retain all the bones to make lamb stock.


Be careful when handling sharp knives and saws.

Things You'll Need

  • Leg of lamb
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp butcher bone saw
  • Sharp butcher knife
  • Butcher paper
  • Twine
  • Cling film (optional)
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About the Author

Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.