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Amateur Butcher's Question

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7 replies to this topic

#1 zachariasj

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:26 PM

I've been having a lot of difficulty finding forums regarding the actual butchering and carving of meat before the cooking process. I hope my luck has changed.

I live on a ranchette, where I have the luxury of raising my own lifestock. I'm butchering one of my lambs on Saturday.

Now to an area that has always given me trouble. When I have a slab of lamb ribs that I want too cut into chops and riblets, how do I cut the riblets off, without shattering/splintering the bones or making the meat look real ugly?

My dad was a master with a meat cleaver. He would just chop through the ribs in a straight line with no effort. I can't do that. My hands are way too unsteady. I end up hitting the ribs in differnt locations; at the end, I have a mess of hamburger meat and busted ribs before I salvage what's left for chops. Is there a tool that can help me, other than a professional band saw that would cost me a lot of money? Are there perhaps shears out there, strong enough to cut through ribs? I have found that hand saws don't work so well on the ribs as they cause too many bone fragments to become lodged in the meat. How do the pros do it? I'm sure they all can't have brain surgeon hands like my dad.


#2 sparrowgrass

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

I used a hack saw when I butchered my lamb--fine teeth, no bone splinters, and the bones were very easy to saw thru. (Unlike the deer that I did--those bones are hard!)

#3 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

A butcher's saw or a hacksaw as sparrowgrass suggested.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm, 20 December 2012 - 02:44 PM.

Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist and contrarian who questions everything!

#4 Okanagancook

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

When we butcher our lamb each year I have given up trying to get even untorn lamb chops using the hand meat saw. Instead I take the saddle and cut out the bone keeping the saddle intact...just need to be careful along the backbone. Then I trim it up and roll it; tie it up well; then cut 3 inch pieces off ensuring that there are two pieces of string holding it together. Makes for a nice presentation of boneless lamb loin.

#5 OliverB

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

I'd also use a hack saw or battery powered saw (that's only used for this purpose, not cutting that crusty pipe yesterday). If you have a cleaver you don't care too much about, you could also position it and use a hammer, but I'd just go with the saw.

If you want really nice pieces (for xmas for example) maybe see if a local butcher would cut it for you on their band saw? That's really the only tool I know that will do a great job that's very even. They might even do it for free, for a tip, or not at all of course. Worth a try though.
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#6 Shalmanese

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:01 PM

You can also, instead of whacking a cleaver down, carefully placing the cleaver on the seam and whack it with a mallet.
PS: I am a guy.

#7 sjemac

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:30 PM

Use a really big meat saw. I use this one on my homegrown pork and not a chipped bone to be found.

Posted Image

#8 zachariasj

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for everybody's information. I have a lot to think about. I never thought of using a mallot on the meat cleaver. That, at least in theory, seems like a simple but effective solution. I'll give it a shot. With any luck, I'll have beautiful chops for Christmas. Thanks everybody!