Of pigs, lambs and everything in between the head and shoulder

What is lamb neck? I keep reading about lamb neck and pork neck, it seems very trendy right now.

Is it literally the neck part, where the spine and nerves connect to the brain?

The neck bone is connected to the head bone


It’s the muscle group that supports the spine in the neck. It’s usually deboned. It’s heavily marbled and resembles pork shoulder a bit. I find it more tender.
For pork, the cut is sometimes labeled coppa. As you’d guess, the Italian cured meat called coppa is just cured pork neck.


Poet F-in’ Laureate :clap:


In terms of flavor and richness, it’s quite close to shoulder. Any chef that gets whole animals has to figure out something to do with it. It has a couple of distinctive huge white tendons that occasionally let me identify the cut after it’s been braised and deboned.

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Coppa is a muscle at the top of the shoulder, just above the neck. The Italian practice of separating individual muscles from the shoulder and legs is pretty different from what American butchers do.


My understanding is that pork neck and pork collars are taken from exactly the same part of the pig, though the butchery may be somewhat different.

Dork. :slight_smile:

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I believe pork collar is an American term for coppa and some people call it pork neck, but the actual pork neck is above the shoulder. It’s the literal neck, with a roundish cross-section. When you finish picking the meat off, kind of like you do with ossobuco, you have a lot of bones.

I’ve also had “pork neck” dishes that from the texture were clearly jowl (guanciale).

Coppa or collar is what I consider the neck. The shoulder primal cut often includes the meat of the neck.

What you’re talking about is what I would refer to and find labeled as pork neck bones. They’re meaty and bony.

It all depends on how the animal is butchered. In the end, the meat is key and I believe we are referring to the same muscle groups.

I’m less familiar with lamb neck, though every preparation I’ve ever had was boneless. For lamb, that cut could very well originally have vertebrae and some spinal cord! I’m ignorant re: lamb neck.

Pork neck, in the US at least, seems to have a different nomenclature than lamb.

These meat cuts can get really confusing since names and techniques differ from place to place.

The photo above is clearly an actual whole lamb neck, as in the thing that connects the head to the shoulders.

Take a look at a pig some time. You tell me where the shoulder ends and the neck begins.

As for lamb, sure, as I said. Not much idea about the norms and practices there.

It must be the next or old new thing.

The shoulder begins at the sixth rib.

Wrong side, dood.

Indeed. Jet lag. I usually know the difference between a rib and a vertebra.

Here’s a guide to breaking down a lamb that shows the neck:

At least in American butchery, the shoulder primal is separated from the head at the Atlas joint, so the neck results from breaking down the shoulder primal. Allan Suddaby does an excellent job of distinguishing the coppa from the neck proper:


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Bavel’s lamb neck shawarma, which sparked this discussion:


I’m not squeamish for the most part, but I think certain body parts ought be left for the dogs.

Get your spinal tap fix at ep & lp, bestia, chi spacca, etc. It’s not a trend.


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I think it’s a trend in the sense that when I first had it at Incanto 10-12 years ago no one had heard of it and now it’s relatively common, as is the closely related phenomenon of restaurants getting whole animals, breaking them down, and using all the parts.