Fried chicken should be eaten off the bone. Following is the classic way to break down a whole chicken into boney pieces that can be dredged and deep-fried. Traditionally there is a lot of cutting through the bones, which is fun but can leave little shards in the meat. I’ve cleaned up the method somewhat by separating at the joints where possible. Even so, I wouldn’t cut this way if I were feeding small children.
We start by removing the legs at the hip. Bend the leg backwards to expose the joint, then cut with a knife.
To separate the thigh and drumstick, bend the knee against it’s will until it snaps, then cut through the joint. These are the … Continue reading.
Having removed the scrag when breaking the lamb into primals, the components remaining on the lamb front are the shoulder, the breast, and the shank.
I love having ground lamb in my kitchen, so usually I bone out on entire lamb shoulder just to run it through the meat grinder. The other half is broken in a bone-in shoulder roast, a boneless breast ideal for stuffing and rolling, and a shank, one of the world’s supreme braising cuts.
Here is half of the lamb front, with the fell still attached.
We remove the fell to expose the fat cap.
Here is the inside of the front, showing the backbone on the top, the first six ribs, and the breastbone … Continue reading.
The loin primal is divided into two sections. The forward part, from the thoracic section of the spine, contains ribs, and is usually trimmed to make rack of lamb. The back part, from the lumbar section, contains no ribs, and is usually broken into lamb chops.
Dividing the Loin Primal into the Rib and Loin Subprimals
This is the whole loin primal, with the fell still attached.
Here is the underside of the loin primal. You can see the rib section on the left, and the loin subprimal on the right.
We divide the two by cutting after the last rib bone, then cleaving through the backbone.
How to make a Frenched Rack of Lamb
Frenched lamb rack … Continue reading.
This post is about preparing a whole lamb leg for a classic roasted leg of lamb, or gigot. This is the whole leg, straight from the animal.
First remove the tail bone, which you can see running along the top of the leg primal. On the forward end of the tailbone (to the left in the picture below) is the connection to the pelvis. Since lambs are so young, you should be able to easily break this adhesion.
The leg, tailbone removed:
Next remove the pelvis. This is a complicated little bone. Follow it as closely as you can, making small, exploratory cuts with a boning knife.
Now we can turn the leg over and remove the fell, … Continue reading.
This is a whole lamb from Tangle Ridge Ranch. Notice that, unlike pork and beef, the lamb has not been cut in two down the spine. The carcass is easy to handle (typically 40-60 lbs, maybe a bit smaller for grass-finished varieties like Tangle Ridge). It’s traditionally broken into four primals:
- loin, and
Removing the front. The first primal to be removed is the front, which is separated from the rest of the animal by cutting between the sixth and seventh ribs. You can count the ribs by putting your hand inside the cavity. Slide a knife between the sixth and seventh ribs and cut all the way up to the backbone, and all the … Continue reading.
Why buy whole animals and practice meat cutting at home?
It’s the cheapest way to get the highest quality, local meat into your kitchen.
It’s also a rewarding hobby, and if you’re sincerely interested in food and cooking, it’s the best way to learn the different cuts of meat, where they come from, and how they’re best prepared.
Buying whole animals is easy: find a producer that you trust, call them up, and they’ll most likely deliver the animal to your door. This post is about how to process that animal once it’s at your house. It covers basic safety principles, the equipment you’ll need, and some tips on managing time and space.
Temperature and Food Safety
Meat needs to … Continue reading.
…a “break” from tradition…
Rabbits are not traditionally butchered by neatly separating the joints, as you would a chicken. They are broken into forequarters (shoulder-foreleg), hindquarters (hip-hindleg), and a saddle (backbone, with surrounding loins, tenderloins, and belly) by cleaving right through the bones. In a rustic preparation, all these parts, with bones, would be thrown into a stew.
Chefs often bitch about the tedium of cutting rabbit, “especially since there’s practically no meat on them.” Their words. Not mine.
The problem with cleaving is that you’re bound to splinter the bones. I’ve bitten down on a fragment of rabbit bone in restaurants more than once. Taking the time to properly butcher the rabbit by cutting through the joints and not … Continue reading.