This time it's the turn of tasty lamb. In the video below, butcher Justin Williams shows us how to butcher a whole lamb, breaking down the animal into six edible sections, before dividing each into its various cuts.
Of course, many of us are never going to need or want to break down a whole lamb, but it's helpful to know where all the cuts come from on the animal, so you can make the right buying choices.
Below the video you'll also find a guide to 42 different lamb cuts and how to cook them.
Lamb is butchered in six sections: neck, shoulder, rib, saddle, kidneys (including fat), and legs. The aim is to get an almost 100% yield from the animal, i.e. to use every part of it, including any leftover trim.
The first section to be removed is the neck, perfect for use in soups or stews. It can also be wrapped in herbs and roasted on its own to provide a dish packed with flavour.
After removing the spine, the meat of the rack will be exposed and it’s time to move on to butchering the ribs – lamb usually has eight or nine ribs. Steady and thorough motions with a saw or knife are used to avoid breakage or splinters. The cut is then separated into rack and spare ribs and the spare ribs are prepared to make them even. The rack of lamb is then 'Frenched' to remove the meat from the tip of the bone for presentation purposes – the discarded meat can be used elsewhere. A noisette roast can be prepped using the other side.
Moving further down the animal, it is important to ensure that chops taken from the neck and legs should be the same size to ensure consistent cooking.
Finally, any leftover trim can be used to make tasty Merguez sausage.
Whether you butchered them yourself or bought them from your friendly local butcher, the key to cooking lamb chops is to make them tender and succulent. This handy guide will give you plenty of suggestions, including delicious marinade recipes. Lamb also makes a great meat for the barbecue, especially when paired with Mediterranean flavours, such as in this lamb, zucchini and pepper kebabs recipe. Last but not least, try this comfort food extravaganza to help you get through the winter – delicious lamb chops with parsnip puree and mushrooms.
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