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Lamb Shank Is Voted New Zealand’s Favourite Lamb Cut
Published by in Industry News · 25 May 2020
Tags: NZBeefandLamb
The humble lamb shank has officially been voted New Zealand’s favourite lamb cut in the Great Kiwi Lamb-Off which was run in celebration of National Lamb Day, which took place yesterday. Following seven hotly contested rounds – which received a whopping 22,000 votes – the shank was awarded the coveted title.

In the final, shanks received roughly two thirds of the vote against lamb legs to be officially crowned the winner of the Great Kiwi Lamb-Off.  

CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Rod Slater – who is a butcher by trade – noted that the shank hasn’t always been held in such high regard.

“In my day, the shank was given away as dog tucker but over the years its popularity has grown so much that it is now New Zealand’s favourite lamb cut. It’s quite the turn around.”

The rise in popularity of the shank can be attributed to chefs and restaurants who have profiled the cut on their menus. Michael Coughlin, a Beef + Lamb Platinum Ambassador Chef who now works as brand ambassador for Provenance Lamb, said that chefs have really put the cut on the map.

“The elevation of the lamb shank has been driven by chefs who have sought out new and creative ways to utilise the whole carcass. Nose-to-tail eating is very much at the heart of the New Zealand food service industry which has seen the shank become a mainstay on many menus up and down the country.

“With the impact of Covid-19 being fully felt by the hospitality sector, we are seeing chefs move to showcase cuts that are suitable for takeaways. The shank very much falls into this category, so if there is ever a time to go and sample the amazing array of lamb shanks on offer it is now.”

The Great Kiwi Lamb-Off saw eight lamb cuts compete for the crown of New Zealand’s favourite. These cuts included legs, cutlets, mince, chops, rump, ribs and fillet along with the eventual winner the shank.


Red wine and mint Lamb shanks


  • 4 Quality Mark lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt (1/2 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 500g baby carrots, washed and green parts removed.

To Serve
  • Mint, to garnish
  • Potato & Kumara Mash
  • Seasonal Greens

Turn your slow cooker to low.

Heat a frying pan to moderate-high heat on the stove-top and add half the olive oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown, turning often to brown all sides. Set lamb aside.

Add remaining measure of oil to the fry pan and add the onions and garlic, stirring for about 15 seconds, or until fragrant. Immediately add the wine, and boil for 1 minute. Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey and half the chopped mint and bring to a gentle simmer then remove from the heat.

Transfer lamb to the slow cooker and pour the sauce over it. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours or high for approx 4 hours, or until the meat tender and easily pulled from the bone. Approx 2 hours before the end of cooking add the baby carrots and stir through the sauce.

Carefully remove the shanks with tongs and set on serving platter. Simmer the sauce rapidly on the stovetop until reduced to about 1½ cups. Skim off fat with a large spoon. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. You can also thicken the sauce with a flour paste if required.

Serve shanks on-top creamy potato and kumara mash with a generous side of seasonal greens and the slow cooked carrots. Garnish the lamb shanks with the chopped mint and the sauce.

Oven method: Follow the method as above and using an oven-proof casserole dish cook at 140°C fan bake for 3½-4 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling from the bone.

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