Time Out Melbourne

Praise the carnivore lords: loin chops, cutlets and riblets all come from the same wonderful, magical beast. But just how do we get at them?

Step 1. Start with a whole lamb that has been gutted, cleaned and hung. You’ll need a sharp butcher’s knife – at least a six-inch blade – a cleaver and, depending on how serious you are, a butcher’s band saw.   Step 2. Find where the hind legs join and cut the lamb in half from an inch above that point, through the lowest vertebrae. Place hind legs cut-side down and separate. Start at the tail and cut away from the spine. At the hip, separate ball from socket; repeat on other leg.
Step 3. Between the pelvis and the rib cage is the loin. Remove the spine completely to create a boneless, rolled loin, or create loin chops by sawing the spine in half, lengthways, and cutting 2-3cm segments horizontally away from the spine out towards the edge of the skin. Or divide the loin further into back straps and fillet, both of which peel away from the fatty tissue.   Step 4. The lower eight ribs make up a rack of lamb, or cutlets. Cut away the spine and then, with the rack skin-side up, find where the fat meets the rib bones. Cut the skin away from the bone, exposing the bottom few centimetres of the ribs, and turn the rack over. Slice the fat from between the ribs till you have clean bones. Leave as is or slice between the ribs for cutlets.
Step 5. Stand the forequarters spine-down and slice the meat away from the top five ribs. Follow the bone and separate the tendons around the shoulder joint and gently remove the triangular shoulder blade leaving you with the meaty lamb shoulder.   Step 6. Once you have removed the neck from between the two shoulders, slice it into rounds with the vertebrae in the centre and you end up with a kind of lamb osso bucco.

Updated on 19 Dec 2012.

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