What Is a Barnsley Chop?

A Barnsley lamb chop with potatoes carrots and broccolini
Elaine Lemm

"Barnsley chop" is a name for a particular lamb chop cut. It is named after the town of Barnsley, which is located in Yorkshire in the North of England. Essentially a double loin lamb chop sliced from the saddle roast, it's a larger cut of meat that can be grilled or pan-fried. You'll rarely find it in supermarkets as it's typically a special cut only found in butcher shops.

What Is a Barnsley Chop?

A Barnsley chop is a cross-section taken from right across the lamb's loin. This produces a double-sided chop with a bone in the middle and a little fillet underneath. Since it's cut across the saddle, it's sometimes referred to as a saddle chop.

Depending on the size of the animal, the chop can weigh between 1/2-pound (226 grams) and 1 1/2-pounds (680 grams); 250-gram Barnsley chops are common in the U.K. Some can be even larger, though these big cuts may actually be mutton, not lamb. The meat is very tender and the bone and fat add to its flavor.

Origins

Many claim the honor of the Barnsley chop's origins. It is believed to have originated at Brooklands Hotel in Barnsley, where it is still served. They are adamant that they are the originators, but some claim the Kings Head pub in Barnsley is the place. None the less, the chop is typically dated to the mid-1800s as a hearty meal for farmers.

The Barnsley chop has also been elevated in recent years. Some of this recognition was the result of renowned Chef James Mackenzie featuring it on the menu at the Michelin-starred Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton near Beverley. In that dish, Mackenzie served it with a nettle sauce.

How to Cook

Pan-frying then finishing the Barnsley chop in the oven is a preferred cooking method. It does require a longer cooking time than an ordinary lamb chop. However, just like the latter, the cooking time remains short. The chop must also be rested once cooked to soften the meat.

Often left relatively pure with simple seasonings, it is delicious when served with a little gravy and fresh vegetables on the side. It's also common to find Barnsley chops served as part of a mixed grill of meats, but this is only for serious carnivores.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C/Gas 5).
  2. Heat a heavy-based frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil.
  3. Lay the chop on a board and season with a little salt and pepper.
  4. Place the chop into the heated oil and cook for three minutes on one side, then turn over and cook for the same time on the other side.
  5. Using a pair of tongs lift the chop and place the fat edge on to the pan and cook for a minute or so. Place the chop on a baking sheet.
  6. Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven and cook for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove the chop from the oven, cover with foil and leave in a warm place to rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve on hot plates.