Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frenched Rack of Lamb. The Breakdown.

In response to the holidays, I've decided to do a post on Frenching a Rack of Lamb - Here in Austin, Rack of Lamb is hugely popular, for Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I'll admit, I don't care much for Lamb, but I really enjoy how tedious it is to process. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have! 

This is a whole, uncut Lamb Rack - and this is the Loin-end. 

This is the Rib-end, also known as the Large-end.

This first step here is removing the Thoracic Vertebrae. You could certainly cook this piece whole, just like this, but it'd be hard to carve and for most people the eye-appeal just isn't there. So, as a merchandising fiend, I'm going to take this to the next level. 

You could remove all these with one swipe if you wanted to, but I enjoy taking my time with it - especially since I'm doing this at home.

Almost done. Also, cutting away the vertebrae one at a time increases your yield. 

View from the Large-end. 

This yellow, rubbery tissue is inedible and needs to be removed, no matter what animal we're talking about. The only purpose this guy serves is holding the animal's head up - since we've already cut that off, it's useless to us. 

That's more like it!

The bit of cartilage that we're going to remove now is the remainder of the sheep's shoulder blade. 

On an animal this size, you could essentially just pull it out with your fingers, but you run the risk of tearing the meat, also damaging some of the meat you want to leave on the rack. Use the tip of your boning knife to outline the cartilage and then pull it out. 

Nice and clean!

Now to remove the cap. 

This is a piece that pulls away fairly easily, on Lamb, I doubt you'd need a knife until the very end, but each animal is different. 

Cut away with you knife and safe the Cap / Lifter for later. 

Score the top of the rib from eye to eye, all the way down to the bone. 

Cut the meat from the rib off. 

I've changed my methods quite a bit since these pictures were taken, but this way works just fine! Score the length of the bone with your knife to split the tissue that surrounds the rib. 

Start pressing the tissue away from the bone with the tip of your knife. 

Once you've got each bone facing relatively clean, you should be able to pull the meat away pretty easily!

Pull / push / karate chop the meat all the way down until you've reached the line you originally drew from eye to eye, then cut the meat away in a perpendicular fashion. 

Until your rack looks like this!

That's it for this post. Next up will be a Breakdown of a Dry Aged Shortloin into Bone-in Tenderloin steaks. I've posted that before but with some crappy Instagram photos that I was never happy with - I just relocated the original pictures, so once I've made the new post, I'll delete the old one. The post following the Bone-in Tenderloins will be a massive (probably two-part) post on the Best Butcher Contest I was involved with last year - there are hundreds of photos to go through, which is a fairly slow process. Thanks again!



  1. Reece, I'm trying to contact you but am having trouble finding contact information. I'm the manager of Faraday's Kitchen Store in Bee Cave, and we're looking for someone to teach a meat class in June. Basically, how to cut up large pieces of meat into smaller portions for BBQ-ing or grilling. Give me a call at 512-266-5666 x 3, and if I'm not in you can speak with Tony, our store owner. If you're not interested, maybe you have a recommendation as to who might be?

  2. Impressive list! You're giving so much of information. Thanks for the post...keep it up.
    All Beef cuts in Pennsylvania