|An entire lamb, ready for the freezer.|
Therefore, L is for Lamb.
I don't have any land of my own (a fact that I bemoan often) so I cannot raise my own large livestock animals for food. This, perhaps, makes me a bit too keen sometimes, when a good deal on meat crops up (like getting fresh killed lamb for under $3/kg). When the opportunity arose for me to try my hand at cutting up a whole lamb carcass, I leaped eagerly at the chance. Understand, I had never dealt with the carcass of a large animal before. I had done rabbits and chickens, and while they are a similar process, they are small and easily handled, and NOTHING like trying to take apart a whole lamb!
|The whole carcass awaits my attention|
Once I had agreed to the delivery of the carcass, I did the usual, and hit Google for any information I could find on cutting up a whole lamb. I had a few days to prepare, and I really, really needed to be prepared for this. Right off the bat, I ran to my father-in-law and begged the use of his hacksaw- I knew that I didn't have anything that would let me cut through the bones. I called a friend, and borrowed her Chinese cleaver as well, and then I sharpened both my utility knife and the flexible bladed boning knife. Sharp objects aside, I also cleaned my kitchen, because who wouldn't?
When the lamb finally arrived in fine style, I kind of fussed around with cleaning it up a bit. I cut away the abdominal wall muscle, and pulled out the kidneys and the kidney fat (this is called leaf fat, and very good for cooking when rendered into tallow!) Once I'd done that, the next step I had to address was cutting it into more manageable pieces. First term of the day to learn: "Primal Cuts".
|Haunches, before cutting.|
|"Frenched" cutlets on the left, and loin chops on the right.|
|The whole loin, with the ribs frenched, ready to cut into |
|Lamb shoulders, waiting to be processed.|
|Lamb cutlets and loin chops.|
Of course, I advocate using as much of the animal as you can, so many of the bones were used for making bone broth, but I did give away a lot of them to a person's dogs as a nice raw bone toy to amuse them. (Note- never give your dogs cooked bones. They can shatter when the dog is gnawing, and the pieces can cause internal injury if swallowed). Any extra meat I got off the bones was ground up into mince, and used for lamb and herb sausage patties.
Although I was exhausted, and could barely flex my hands afterward (this whole process took me about two to three hours!) I was extremely pleased with myself when I was finally able to bag up all that wonderful meat and get it into the freezer. Not only did I provide us with plenty of food for a few weeks, I learned a new skill set, and that is most valuable in its own right!
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Hang about, and see what I have in store for tomorrow!