Lamb, Deconstructed Pt. 1

Taking a break from the Heritage Breed animals for one night at least.

Lamb is one of the most prized possessions of any butcher. The butcher must be meticulous in presentation, swift with their blade, and confident in their cut. It is delicate in flavor and in design. Here, I show how it moves from hook to case.


The whole lamb. Head at the fore, legs to the rear. A handsaw is used to break the sirloin and legs.

Leg, shank, sirloin

The rear of the lamb. Note the Ohio inspection stamps. Our meat is state inspected, a much more stringent inspection than government.
The cut on the right is removing the shank from the leg. This leaves the sirloin and leg as one piece. The very end of the shank is removed, giving the customer a rear lamb shank for braising.

On the saw

Here, removing the neck. Note the sirloin and legs in the background with shanks removed.


With the neck removed, proceed to removing the front portion, shoulders and foreshanks.


This is perhaps the most delicate portion of deconstruction. Splitting the torso of the lamb. In this section, the much desired rack of lamb and loin reside. A slip of the blade will result in uneven chops. Here you see where the shoulder ends and the rib begins. The initial rack of lamb. I am continually fascinated by the symmetry of anatomy.

Ribs from belly

Continuing with delicate, meticulous operations…removing the belly from the ribs. This is extraordinarily important, as it determines the length of the bones on the rack of lamb, and the amount of fat left at the end of the loin.

Rib from loin

Removing the loin from the rib. More delicate operation, as this determines the size of the rack and loin. Rack right, loin left.

Loin and Rack

The loin left, the rack right. Loin chops from the loin, rack of lamb, rib chops or lollipop chops from the rack. If this were beef: T-bones/porterhouse to the right, standing rib roast, rib steaks, ribeyes from the left. In the background: neck to the left, front quarter (shoulders, shanks, etc.) to the right.

Tomorrow, I will finish the remainder. Shoulders, legs, shanks.


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