How to butcher a lamb?

  • Team Blue

    I’m looking for a wether (castrated male lamb) to butcher. I have a local butcher that will work with me to butcher it but, he has never butchered a lamb before either.

    I good tutorial would be appreciated.

    What is the head good for other than as a movie prop? For example, does it really work well braised or broiled? Or do you harvest the tongue and discard the rest?

    Regarding the guts, what is typically saved and eaten versus thrown away?

    I’m initially thinking I will use an axe at the base of the skull to kill it and will slit its throat and hang it from my from tractor loader to let it bleed out. The question here is do I also gut it or do I try to save kidneys and other parts?

    TIA,
    Sid

  • Regular Contributors

    If I were doing it, I would save the heart, liver and tongue. If the price of sheep casing get any higher, I would be tempted to harvest them too, but that takes an added level of…commitment. Likewise the head.
    If its a young animal, it should be very tasty, but everyone feels different about lamb.

    Your butcher should be able to figure out breaking down the carcass if he studies a diagram showing the primal cuts.

    For killing the animal, I would probably use a .22 between the eyes instead of the axe, assuming you can do that safely.

    Are you skinning the carcass or is the butcher? If you have never done it, the butcher should be able to can skin it with less fleece getting on the carcass

  • Team Blue

    Do they have a soft spot in the head like a calf that I should aim at? Yes, I can pop it with a 22LR from my pistol if that is a good humane way to kill it.

    I’m not into the ‘casings’ so, I’ll pass on those. I wonder about the kidneys too.

    Are the neck bones similar to hog neck bones? Smoked pork neck bones to me are a lot better with pinto beans than ham hocks due to more meat and fewer small bones to deal with.

    Thanks!

  • Regular Contributors

    A lamb is going to be a lot leaner than a hog, making neck bones very different than pork. The neck meat can be trimmed for stew meat or sausage,. The neck bones may not be worth the trouble once they have been boned out.

    For me, I am more comfortable making a humane kill with a .22 than smacking it with an axe. Yes, it can be done with an axe, but if you miss the first time, a follow-up is tougher.

  • Regular Contributors

    Have you ever had grilled lamb chops? Thick cut lamb chops are probably one of my favorite cuts off the lamb.

  • Team Blue

    sidpost

    I’m not recommending this as everyone had different tastes and many would think I’m crazy but I used to buy the entire animal butchered as stew meat and wrapped according to the primal. I would kabob everything and my friends and I would devour it within weeks.

    Now that I work at a butcher shop I’d understand why that nothing but stew meat cuts isn’t the easiest way to process an animal and kind of a jerk move.

  • Team Blue

    I have dabbled with lamb chops but, they were always so expensive in the styrofoam tray I didn’t really get much of a chance to do much with them beyond some very basic stuff.

    With small racks and legs being ~$50 or more, those experiences I can count on one hand.

    Lamb Kabobs off my Habichi sound like an AWESOME option. I’m also looking to do some braises with other cuts that would benefit from a slow moist cook. I need to review some English, Irish, Aussie and, New Zealand cookbooks for some other ideas.

  • Regular Contributors

    We like Indian and middle eastern style cooking and lamb really shines in those dishes including kabobs.

    Any more, you don’t even need to be a great cook to prepare them. Some of the real cooks here may not approve, but these meals in a box give you all the seasonings and you just add the meat and chopped fresh stuff like onion or garlic and serve on steamed rice. We have thoroughly enjoyed these dishes.

    20210227_054011.jpg

  • Team Blue

    processhead said in How to butcher a lamb?:

    We like Indian and middle eastern style cooking and lamb really shines in those dishes including kabobs.

    Any more, you don’t even need to be a great cook to prepare them. Some of the real cooks here may not approve, but these meals in a box give you all the seasonings and you just add the meat and chopped fresh stuff like onion or garlic and serve on steamed rice. We have thoroughly enjoyed these dishes.

    20210227_054011.jpg

    For those of us that live in a “dining diversity desert”, pre-made box assist meals like these are a real winner, to me at least! 👍

    Zatar w Weit, a Lebanese-themed fast food restaurant in the UAE was one I really enjoyed. I don’t recall ever ordering the mighty Kafta (basically a meatball wrap) but, their other wraps I got were awesome and pretty cheap too. All-natural ingredients with some awesome, healthy, and tasty wrap bread. These were similar to the Doner Kabap I got from Turkish vendors in Germany and the Netherlands but, a bit spicier (not hotter) with more veggies. 🙂

  • Regular Contributors

    Bearded butchers on youtube have a nice video on butchering a lamb

  • Team Orange

    As s.a.m stated above. bearded butchers have a pretty good recent video on it. I believe they have an older video on lamb aswell. .22lr should be fine for the harvest, and the rest is same. You could split it like a hog or beef but they are small enough I wouldnt bother. If you wanna practice your butcher skills nows the time to bust out the frenched rack of lamb and leg of lamb.

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