Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whole Mutton. The Breakdown.

This last week, before class, I was able to get a couple mutton broken down and figured I'd take some pictures - I'm going to do the same next week for Beef, which I'm very excited about!

These guys weigh in right around 100 lbs, they've been aged about two weeks so all the fat has become very dense and the animal has become very easy to work with.

The animal is a bit too big to split whole on the size of saw the school has, so I decided to split the animal in half another way - between the 12th and 13th rib on both sides - going between the ribs ensures you wont run into any bone until the spine. Pro-tip - use a knife that gives you a bit of leverage - either a 10 inch or a 12 inch breaker would be perfect. 

After the meat is cut away, take a hand saw and cut through what little bone is solid.

A look inside the Rib and Shoulder section. 

To split the Mutton, line up the spine, backside-down, with the saw blade aiming at nothing but bone, your margin of error on this step is VERY slight. 

The next step is cutting off the Naval, Brisket and Foreshank - Draw a line from the top of the Brisket to the bottom of the Loin-side of the ribs. 

Cut straight through - the Shank will barely be hanging on and the Riblets can be split further or sold whole. 

Now for the Shoulder - You can usually get two Arm Chops (1" thick) by cutting perpendicular to the ribs. Then turn it around and cut with the rib until the muscle groupings begin to taper off - usually four chops will come out nicely, bringing the total to 6. 

You can identify the Arm Chops in the top left by the round bone surrounded by lean meat - The Shoulder Chops will resemble the 7 Bone Chuck Roasts your grandma used to cook for you. 

The rib section is really quite simple - that is if you're not going to french them, which we'll cover another time. Take off the chine bone far enough to be able to cut though the ribs with a knife...

You'll usually find these sold as two-rib chops. 

Now for the back half. Pull the Flanks out of the way and cut through as much of the Top Rounds as you can until you hit the center of the hip bone (aitch). Again, you're trying to cut this thing exactly in half - make sure you can see what you're working with!

As you can see, I cut into the meat-side of the loin on the quarter to the left, not a huge deal but not perfect. 

At the end of the aitch bone, cut through the loin, all through the meat and through the flank, separating the Loin from the Sirloin

If you've seen a Leg of Lamb sold as "semi-boneless' but still has bone (femur, shank) in it and wondered why, here it is - The aitch bone is a very oddly shape and makes carving this side of the leg would be very hard to carve - though the femur and the shank are easy to carve around.
The Sirloin is the section to the bottom-left of the femur bone - this is the area of the leg where the femur connects with the pelvis. 

Now for the loin - clear away the flank and square up your primal - cut at each vertebrae through as much of the meat as you can until only bone remains. 

And buzz through the bone on the band saw. The reason I do it this way is because the meat itself is very tender and the saw will only chew it up - attention to detail, I guess.

Stay tuned - should have a beef post around this time next week. 

1 comment:

  1. seems like a lot of grey matter...sure yer not chiseling up the brain of a bonehead?