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, May 24. 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.