Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
docsconz

Buying a Whole Lamb

Recommended Posts

kokoretsi uses the lungs! and it tastes fantastic.

here's a recipe that i can't vouch for because i've never made it, but it looks right and it's a great dish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the lungs on a lamb that small are quite a bit more tender than older sheep which may be what the chefs were talking about.

traditionally when a lamb that young is slaughtered the kidneys, heart, lungs and liver are cut into one inch dice, salted and peppered, and grilled on skewers over a hot fire. on a young animal they are tender and delicious that way, and are normally served with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil

the lungs are not the most tender of the offal, but i think you will find them perfectly good in this way.

a liver that clean off a young animal is much more likely to be served cut into half inch dice and eaten raw, with salt, pepper, allspice, paprika and crushed coriander seed on the side for each diner to season to his/her taste. they are eaten with pita bread and a nice glass of araq to wash it down. i guess you would have to be pretty adventurous to try that, but i thought it might make for some interesting information anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the suggestions. I think I may just try the diced on skewers over a hot fire approach.

We had a leg last night. It was delicious. details will be forthcoming.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cooked the leg (actually a whole hindquarter) in my CVAP in a plastic bag with a little olive oil at 130ºF for about four hours with no browning cycle set, before taking it out to finish on the hardwood charcoal grill. I applied only salt and pepper after taking it from the CVAP and before putting it over the fire.

gallery_8158_6010_112724.jpg

The hindquarter shortly after it was put on the grill. The internal temperature at that point was only abut 103ºF. I left it away from the coals and covered for about ten minutes. I then put it over the coals to develop a little char. I did not want to overcook it, so I watched it fairly closely at this point.

gallery_8158_6010_47053.jpg

Removed from the grill along with some cumin-scented fingerling potatoes.

gallery_8158_6010_21040.jpg

gallery_8158_6010_56845.jpg

The doneness was fine for me, although some of my family preferred to put theirs back on the grill for a couple of minutes. In retrospect, I should have left it covered on the grill for another five minutes or so, then everyone would have been happy. The flavor of the meat was incredible. I enjoyed the texture, though that was the primary turn-off for some of my family, especially our 8yo son, who is not a big fan of lamb. The hindquarter was enough to feed my family with only a little bit left-over, which I will bring for lunch when I return to work tomorrow. The bones were saved for stock.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting this, Doc. I've shot and butchered deer, so I've a better idea how the whole process goes, but I agree that more people need to know where their food comes from. I also think that eating an animal that "only had one bad day in its life" is a great philosophy.

I'm surprised and pleased at how quickly the bleeding worked. It still sounds like a shock, though: being hung upside down, a quick pain, and suddenly not being able to breathe. Do you think that this death was quicker and more painless than with a bullet to the brain, or at least a hard whack on the head to knock the lamb unconscious before bleeding it?

I like the cooking treatments you've given it so far. Thanks for the posts.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for posting this, Doc.  I've shot and butchered deer, so I've a better idea how the whole process goes, but I agree that more people need to know where their food comes from.  I also think that eating an animal that "only had one bad day in its life" is a great philosophy.

I'm surprised and pleased at how quickly the bleeding worked.  It still sounds like a shock, though: being hung upside down, a quick pain, and suddenly not being able to breathe.  Do you think that this death was quicker and more painless than with a bullet to the brain, or at least a hard whack on the head to knock the lamb unconscious before bleeding it?

I like the cooking treatments you've given it so far.  Thanks for the posts.

A bullet to the brain is quick and painless if it gets the right area. It is conceivable (and I have seen it in humans from botched suicide attempts) hwever, that the shot may not be fatal. That is not pretty. In addition, there is more inherent danger in shooting an animal as the animal either needs to be subdued anyway for a careful close-in shot or shot from afar. The method here was quick, accurate and efficient while being relatively safe. The quick slash to the neck severing the carotid arteries and the trachea immediately stopped blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It is difficult to imagine a quicker end. I was shocked by the suddenness of the whole process. The animal could not have known what was coming. One must also remember that this was done at a small family farm, not a slaughterhouse set up specifically for this. Overall, I was quite impressed with the humane way in which this was handled.


Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's sort of a shame that lambs are genuinely really, really cute, isn't it? That one looked adorable. Also, delicious. Mmmm, sweetbreads.

As to the lungs: why not coratella con carciofi? Since you've still got the heart and the liver, you've all the makings right there. I'll confess, the lungs are my least favorite part of the dish, but I'll bet that this lamb would be superior to what I've had in the past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been a vegetarian for many, many years and am now beginning to edge back into eating meat. I only want to eat meat that has been humanely raised and slaughtered. Plenty of producers have web sites full of pictures of their animals grazing in sunny pastures, etc., but I have been unable to find a single one willing to disclose the details of their slaughtering process. I have even e-mailed a few of them to ask them for information, and have received no reply.

I find this really confusing. They are in the business of selling to people who care about how the animals are treated--providing that information is the thing they have that differentiates them, so why be so withholding?

Anyway, I really appreciated your taking the time to document this experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just want to add my thanks to you for sharing this experience in words and photos. I would love to know that all animals for human consumption were being dispatched so quickly and with such obvious respect. The reality, however, is far different. This method may not be practical when hundreds of animals must be slaughtered but surely we can find the technology that would make their end less stressful. But then we still would not have solved the problems of how they live which is even more distressing.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post, glad to see you didn't censor yourself -- some powerful images here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My parents had a small farm and I raised and butchered a variety of animals, as well as roaming the bush, hunting wild game. It was a toss-up if I would become a butcher or a biologist. I'm a biologist.

I would say that cutting the throat is the best way to kill smaller animals that can be held securely. With larger animals, a rifle is likely to still be the best option to stun or kill the animal, followed by the cut. I see now that professional operations use a stun gun applied to the animals temples to knock the animal out before the cut - probably the best method I've seen. No fuss, no muss, the animal never knew what hit it.

Next comes the skinning and gutting, which is the biology part. You definitely get an idea how animals are put together.

The best part is butchering - the culinary art starts here. There are many ways to butcher an animal, and it effects the type and quantity of the different cuts. If you hire a butcher, have him cut the animal according to your preferences.

I had a butcher do a moose for me 2.5 years ago and I specified my cuts. The moose was large enough that it was the only red meat my family ate for two years. We are still eating it today. Almost all gone though. Time for another hunt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the offal that I retained.

...

Unless I get a really good idea from here or elsewhere for using the lungs and the trachea, they will, unfortunately, probably go to waste.

Haggis, o' course!

The tenor liked his with drambuie sauce.

The "lights" being the lungs :

haggis recipes

another haggis recipe


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions.

I did find a good use for the lungs, although I discarded the trachea. I ultimately followed maher's suggestion above and diced the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys, marinated them with salt, pepper and olive oil , skewered them and cooked them over a hot charcoal grill. I forgot the lemon juice, though in reality it didn't need it.

gallery_8158_6010_12403.jpggallery_8158_6010_49751.jpg

As can be seen in this photo, there was more liver than anything else. A piece of heart can be seen at the bottom of each skewer, while the lung pieces are those lightest in color. The kidneys are notable for their lighter brown color and rounded shapes, which can be picked out in the middle of each skewer.

gallery_8158_6010_10563.jpg

After the grill.

The lungs were a pleasant surprise. The texture was not off-putting as I feared it would be and the flavor was good. The heart was the most straightforward, as one might expect. Since it is muscle, it tasted like muscle. The liver was mild and good. The kidney, had the most distinct flavor - a bit grassy and barnyardy, but one that I really enjoyed, like one might enjoy a distinctive wine. In fact that was my favorite of the offal after the sweetbreads, which was my favorite part of the entire lamb. My wife and my eldest son joined me in sampling the variety, while my two youngest sons refrained as I expected them to. These were served alongside some beef sirloin steaks, grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second the comments about deer. It's funny how shooting an unsuspecting game animal from a tree in the woods seems so different at first glance than slaughtering livestock.

But as soon as you got to the dismembering phase of your photos, everything looked the same. I'm really glad I got to butcher deer as a kid, because it taught me how to skin a creature and where "meat" comes from.

I'm surprised no one mentioned haggis to utilize the lungs and other parts of the pluck. I haven't made it, but would like to. Last summer at a friend's wedding, a man was barbecueing one of the maybe 10 or fewer lambs he rears each year. I asked him if I could obtain the offal for making haggis, and he was incredulous -- almost indignant. Apparently "some local Scottish guy" (who turned out to a friend I sail with) asks him every year for the pluck, in order to make this dish. And apparently it's beneath him to provide it.

I gathered from his comments that he was offended I didn't want to buy a lamb, but rather just the guts that would perhaps otherwise be thrown away?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kokoretsi uses the lungs!  and it tastes fantastic.

here's a recipe that i can't vouch for because i've never made it, but it looks right and it's a great dish.

For no particular reason other than "everybody panic," the feds several years ago declared lung tissue unfit for human consumption. If your kokoretsi has lungs, it's illegal, and I doubt that any restaurant would include them. I still love it, but it's less than authentic in the U.S.

Vinnie Bondi of the late lamented Focacceria told me that has father and grandfather taught him to make his famous vasteddi sandwiches with lung as well as thymus, which was better than with just thymus, but he couldn't even get lungs any more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kokoretsi uses the lungs!  and it tastes fantastic.

here's a recipe that i can't vouch for because i've never made it, but it looks right and it's a great dish.

For no particular reason other than "everybody panic," the feds several years ago declared lung tissue unfit for human consumption. If your kokoretsi has lungs, it's illegal, and I doubt that any restaurant would include them. I still love it, but it's less than authentic in the U.S.

Vinnie Bondi of the late lamented Focacceria told me that has father and grandfather taught him to make his famous vasteddi sandwiches with lung as well as thymus, which was better than with just thymus, but he couldn't even get lungs any more.

Vasteddi a Sicilian specialty, were a favorite treat for my father when I was a boy. I had no idea they had sweetbreads in them. I always thought they were tripe.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kokoretsi uses the lungs!  and it tastes fantastic.

here's a recipe that i can't vouch for because i've never made it, but it looks right and it's a great dish.

For no particular reason other than "everybody panic," the feds several years ago declared lung tissue unfit for human consumption. If your kokoretsi has lungs, it's illegal, and I doubt that any restaurant would include them. I still love it, but it's less than authentic in the U.S.

i haven't had it for a couple of years -- but i also never had it at a restaurant, only at big greek parties with lambs on spits and kokoretsi on skewers. i have no idea whether lungs were involved or not; I just know that traditionally they're supposed to be. when i had them it was just a bunch of grilled bits of who knows what, all delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you could always make lamb sausage grinding meat scraps and offal (like lung) with Ras al Hanout seasoning...it should be fabulous. If your really committed to using it "all", you could make the sausage casing yourself out of the small intestine.

there is also a turkish street food item called Kokorec (uses all the small intestine from young lamb) - look it up on Wikipedia...(I have no idea what this tastes like, but if it sells on the street, someone must like it)

Lamb Brain poached (hot, with butter,lemon, salt and pepper), cold with salt, pepper, lemon, on a bed of lettuce... is heavenly (think of a pate)

finally, the bones can be used for a lamb stock...i like the French Laundry technique..

i was a little put off by the dude's dirty finger nails, and the rather unhygienic approach to slaughter..how clean was that saw??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting this.

Far to many people are put off or remove themselves as far from where their meat comes from as possible. For most, it might as well be a vegetable.

For those that like the idea rabbit is very economical to raise and takes very little space. I plan on doing it when I have a house where I can. And few things taste better then fresh rabbit simply prepared IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you could always make lamb sausage grinding meat scraps and offal (like lung) with Ras al Hanout seasoning...it should be fabulous. If your really committed to using it "all", you could make the sausage casing yourself out of the small intestine.

there is also a turkish street food item called Kokorec (uses all the small intestine from young lamb) - look it up on Wikipedia...(I have no idea what this tastes like, but if it sells on the street, someone must like it)

Lamb Brain poached (hot, with butter,lemon, salt and pepper), cold with salt, pepper, lemon, on a bed of lettuce... is heavenly (think of a pate)

finally, the bones can be used for a lamb stock...i like the French Laundry technique..

i was a little put off by the dude's dirty finger nails, and the rather unhygienic approach to slaughter..how clean was that saw??

Good suggestions, thanks.

Neither the butcher nor the saw were scrubbed or sterilized for surgery, but both were reasonably clean and probably as or more hygienic than would be found in most slaughterhouses, though I'm not familiar enough with slaughterhouses to bet on it.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, I applaud your posting this, as well as your respect for the animal the meat came from. So few people really respect and truly appreciate their food, and are so quick to waste or discard it without giving any regard to the fact an animal actually died for it. It's quite disheartening to walk through a supermarket and see the discounted, half rotting meat available at the end of the day, or to see a restaurant patron leave so much on their plate.

I have to also say that this was very useful for me, seeing as I'm not familiar with butchered meats to even know what all of the parts are and what would be the best use for them.

I didn't even know one could go to a farm and purchase an animal this way. Seems like a good option for someone who prefers to know the animal lived and died humanely, and also supports the small farmer.

A few questions, if you don't mind:

gallery_8158_6010_119057.jpg

I was wondering what's in the bowl.... is it an absorption material to soak up the blood?

I also wondering how much time elapsed between the slaughter and the filling with air. Was it immediate or did the farmer wait a few minutes to make sure the lamb was really dead?

Also, (and forgive me please....I'm not very familiar with lamb and have probably only eaten from the rack) you made it sound like the thymus was very prized; could you explain why?

As for the lungs, heart and trachea, etc, are these not things you could just roast then use for a stock? (Sorry, never made lamb stock....maybe that's a dumb suggestion.... )

A couple of statements you made also seemed a contradiction:

The method here was quick, accurate and efficient while being relatively safe. The quick slash to the neck severing the carotid arteries and the trachea immediately stopped blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It is difficult to imagine a quicker end. I was shocked by the suddenness of the whole process. The animal could not have known what was coming.

The lamb standing in the back of the pen was the one I had purchased. She was a bit jittery as two of her siblings had already met their fates earlier in the morning.

Do the animals on a small farm actually witness the slaughter, or is it done in another area? How do you know your lamb was jittery for that reason?

Sorry for all the dumb questions. Again, I'm glad you posted this.

Yours is a step that I didn't have the opportunity to share in.  Both the goat and bison processors were afraid to have their work documented - both citing the recent California cow incident.

What was the california cow incident?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your comments and excellent questions. I will address them individually.

First of all, I applaud your posting this, as well as your respect for the animal the meat came from. So few people really respect and truly appreciate their food, and are so quick to waste or discard it without giving any regard to the fact an animal actually died for it. It's quite disheartening to walk through a supermarket and see the discounted, half rotting meat available at the end of the day, or to see a restaurant patron leave so much on their plate.

I have to also say that this was very useful for me, seeing as I'm not familiar with butchered meats to even know what all of the parts are and what would be the best use for them.

I didn't even know one could go to a farm and purchase an animal this way. Seems like a good option for someone who prefers to know the animal lived and died humanely, and also supports the small farmer.

I don't believe that you can do this at most farms, though my understanding is that it is perfectly legal. I happen to know the farmer, who provided me with the lamb as a favor.

A few questions, if you don't mind:

gallery_8158_6010_119057.jpg

I was wondering what's in the bowl.... is it an absorption material to soak up the blood?

The bowl was literally empty before hand, but in the photo contained unused parts and blood from an earlier slaughter as well as fresh blood collected from my lamb.
I also wondering how much time elapsed between the slaughter and the filling with air. Was it immediate or did the farmer wait a few minutes to make sure the lamb was really dead?
The farmer waited for the lamb to bleed out and stop its death throes. The process did not last long before he was able to butcher the animal. The animal was most definitely dead prior to its skinning.
Also, (and forgive me please....I'm not very familiar with lamb and have probably only eaten from the rack) you made it sound like the thymus was very prized; could you explain why?
The thymus is only available in very young animals. It regresses as the animal ages. Most animals sold commercially as lamb in this country are beyond the age at which they have any significant thymus remaining. Lamb thymus is particularly delicious and particularly difficult to come by.
As for the lungs, heart and trachea, etc, are these not things you could just roast then use for a stock? (Sorry, never made lamb stock....maybe that's a dumb suggestion.... )
The heart is too good to use for stock, IMO. I do not know how the lungs and trachea would fare in a stock - certainly not "a dumb suggestion." Maybe someone else can offer an opinion based on experience or theory?
A couple of statements you made also seemed a contradiction:
The method here was quick, accurate and efficient while being relatively safe. The quick slash to the neck severing the carotid arteries and the trachea immediately stopped blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It is difficult to imagine a quicker end. I was shocked by the suddenness of the whole process. The animal could not have known what was coming.

The lamb standing in the back of the pen was the one I had purchased. She was a bit jittery as two of her siblings had already met their fates earlier in the morning.

Do the animals on a small farm actually witness the slaughter, or is it done in another area? How do you know your lamb was jittery for that reason?

Interesting pick-up, though I do not really see it as a contradiction. I believe that she was jittery because these animals are always jittery when being rounded up, a process that happens for a variety of reasons other than slaughter. My statement about the other two lambs was nothing more than my own wonderings. While the slaughter did not take place in an enclosed area, it wasn't done directly in view of the other lambs and animals besides free-ranging chickens, guinea fowl and dogs.
Sorry for all the dumb questions. Again, I'm glad you posted this.
Yours is a step that I didn't have the opportunity to share in.  Both the goat and bison processors were afraid to have their work documented - both citing the recent California cow incident.

What was the california cow incident?

I do not know! :smile:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to being dead the lamb was probably out like a light within a few seconds, and technically dead in under a half minute when the throat is sliced correctly.

Butchering is actually a fairly simple thing to do well enough for at home use, just takes practice. If you can bone out a leg you can do an entire animal with practice (and depending on the animal, space). Check local small farms, most wont sell off their whole stock but many will sell off an animal here and there, though slaughtering and butchering for you might be a bit harder to come by....can always check local butchers if they will do the deed for you.

Doc-

In the future you might want to consider saving the blood. Lots of stews and sausages use the stuff. Is pretty good when done right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doc - Wonderful posts; thank you for sharing.

I recently went through the same experience. A friend who is a retired farmer/butcher/ hotelier still keeps a few sheep and occasionally sells one to friends. We went through pretty much exactly the same procedure that you so beautifully documented. My friend Rob would love to have a special chain saw like your farmer's; he sawed by hand.

One difference was that Rob hung our lamb for 2 days after slaughtering. You seemed to use yours immediately. Don't know why the difference.

I agree that death was as instantaneous as could possibly be.

I had Rob cut up our lamb for me since he is a master butcher who used to have his own shop in Wales. It was fascinating to watch a real expert at work. We boned out the legs & cut the chops into racks (4 rib), 'good' chops & end chops. A nice thing Rob did was a boned rolled breast. This baked beautifully & had lots of flavor.

We enjoyed all of the offal (I did have Rob keep the brain) but did not keep the blood for 'black pudding' as Rob's opinion is that sheep's blood is not very good.

All in all an interesting experience and one that I would certainly repeat.

Again, thanks for your posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One difference was that Rob hung our lamb for 2 days after slaughtering. You seemed to use yours immediately. Don't know why the difference.

Would have been the same reason one hangs beef. Hanging removes excess water moisture making the flavors less diluted. It also allows enzymes to go to work tenderizing and flavoring the meat.

Lamb, pork, etc is generally regarded as not needing to be hung and aged like beef. Some people do like to give it a day or two though, which is just enough for slight effect on a small animal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...