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docsconz

Buying a Whole Lamb

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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.

I could not imagine this lamb being any more tender or flavorful than it was. Dave, how old/big was the lamb that you purchased?


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

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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.

I could not imagine this lamb being any more tender or flavorful than it was. Dave, how old/big was the lamb that you purchased?

He weighed 16 kilos dressed out. He was (is) very tender. Could be that Rob is a traditionalist as I can't imagine that two days would make a huge difference.

I'll have to ask him next time I see him.

Welshmen are different in any case.

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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.

I could not imagine this lamb being any more tender or flavorful than it was. Dave, how old/big was the lamb that you purchased?

He weighed 16 kilos dressed out. He was (is) very tender. Could be that Rob is a traditionalist as I can't imagine that two days would make a huge difference.

I'll have to ask him next time I see him.

Welshmen are different in any case.

He was then just a bit larger than mine, which was about that weight live.


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

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Thanks very much for your reply, doc!  :smile:

My pleasure. :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

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This brings me back to my days in Meat Fabrication class at culinary school. I know exactly how you felt when they suddenly made the cut...I had to watch several slaughter videos and no one really told us what to expect. The butcher in the video hung the animal, pulled a pistol out of his pocket, and that was that. Shortly thereafter I picked my jaw up off the desk.

ETA: Great thread.


Edited by WiscoNole (log)

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Tim Hayward recently wrote an interesting article in the Guardian on lamb home butchering.

A master butcher has the training and skills to do a beautiful job of this: to turn out a greater variety of cuts, to minimise waste and to store and manage fridges so you can have just the prime piece you want, in perfect condition at the moment you need it. But when supermarkets are selling meat processed by semi-skilled factory operatives and sold by inexpert staff in fancy-dress butcher's costumes, home butchery feels like a moral duty.

It includes a nice step by step pictorial of the whole dissection.

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Wow! I missed this post in the past. John this is an amazing pictorial. When I saw the warning that is was graphic, I wasn't quite expecting these pictures. I think this is a truly important for us to know where are food comes from and be part of it. This is a great example of this and I'm so glad you shared it. I'm curious, do you think if you were to do this again, you could do it yourself? I wonder sometimes, if I could.

One of the interesting things about slaughtering animals is that it should not only be as cruel free as possible to the animal, but also to the person who has to do it. This is another one of the things that Joel Salatin talks about. His message is that not only should animals be slaughtered in a cruel free, transparent way, but that it should not be the primary job of the individual. When someone is slaughtering animals as their full time job, they become cold to it and it becomes a less meaningful task.

This is well illustrated in the movie "Our Daily Bread" from Europe. I watched this documentary at Slow Food Nation in SF over Labor Day weekend. It is quite a difficult film to watch as it is long and has no dialogue, but also because of the scenes of industrial agriculture it portrays. There a a number of scenes of slaughterhouses and the workers there seem very cold to the lives they are taking. There is one scene where one of the workers is on his cell phone as he butchers an animal. This is in stark contrast to the scene at Salatin's farm (which you can see in the movie Food Inc.) in which there is much more respect for the animals by the workers. This mutual respect for both the animal and worker, would lead, I imagine, to a cleaner, healthier, and better product as well.

Anna mentioned that this more respectful method of slaughter might not be practical. I agree, that in our current world, it is not. But perhaps it could be somewhat more practical if we followed a more healthy diet of eating less meat and more vegetables. Hopefully as more people learn about the differences between industrial slaughter and the local responsible version, maybe things can change.

I am curious, about how much does it cost to get a lamb like that?


Edited by mjc (log)

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Wow!  I missed this post in the past.  John this is an amazing pictorial.  When I saw the warning that is was graphic, I wasn't quite expecting these pictures.  I think this is a truly important for us to know where are food comes from and be part of it.  This is a great example of this and I'm so glad you shared it.  I'm curious, do you think if you were to do this again, you could do it yourself?  I wonder sometimes, if I could.

I think I could do it, though I would not enjoy it.

One of the interesting things about slaughtering animals is that it should not only be as cruel free as possible to the animal, but also to the person who has to do it.  This is another one of the things that Joel Salatin talks about.  His message is that not only should animals be slaughtered in a cruel free, transparent way, but that it should not be the primary job of the individual.  When someone is slaughtering animals as their full time job, they become cold to it and it becomes a less meaningful task. 

This is well illustrated in the movie "Our Daily Bread" from Europe.  I watched this documentary at Slow Food Nation in SF over Labor Day weekend.  It is quite a difficult film to watch as it is long and has no dialogue, but also because of the scenes of industrial agriculture it portrays.  There a a number of scenes of slaughterhouses and the workers there seem very cold to the lives they are taking.  There is one scene where one of the workers is on his cell phone as he butchers an animal.  This is in stark contrast to the scene at Salatin's farm (which you can see in the movie Food Inc.) in which there is much more respect for the animals by the workers.  This mutual respect for both the animal and worker, would lead, I imagine, to a cleaner, healthier, and better product as well.

Anna mentioned that this more respectful method of slaughter might not be practical.  I agree, that in our current world, it is not.  But perhaps it could be somewhat more practical if we followed a more healthy diet of eating less meat and more vegetables.  Hopefully as more people learn about the differences between industrial slaughter and the local responsible version, maybe things can change.

One of the biggest problems in the rural US for quality farms is finding quality slaughterhouses. They are unfortunately all too rare. One of the projects our local SF convivium hopes to get involved with is developing improved slaughter facilities locally and fostreing the right skills to go with it. The quality of the meat in northeastern NY is great as the farmers do a wonderful job raising their animals. The quality of the slaughter and the butchery is much more variable.

I am curious, about how much does it cost to get a lamb like that?

If I remember correctly, I believe I paid $4/lb live weight, since I technically bought the animal while it was alive. Lambs of this age are hard to come by in the US. Most sheep dairy farmers around here prefer to raise them to a greater weight and size.


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

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I just received my processed county fair animals this afternoon. My post-processing lamb weighed 80 pounds. My final cost including delivery was $124.20 animal (I paid higher prices to support 4-H scholarships), $78 processing, $13.50 delivery = $215.70 or $2.69/lb. I haven't had time to sort through the cuts yet, but the leg roasts look amazing. And I can echo John's comments about the lack of processing facilities. Game facilities are a dime a dozen, but state-of-the-art or at least clean and quality processors are few and far between.

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This was a great post. The only thing I've slaughtered before was a duck, and that was an interesting experience in itself because I had no idea what I was doing (Though the duck didn't suffer, most of the ineptitude happened in the slaughtering/de-feathering stage). It's nice to see something like this, because like most Americans before the duck, I had no clue how animals got to the grocery as meat. And I love all the "finished product" pictures as well.


"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Docsconz shared his experience with his lamb here. I also have arranged to buy a lamb, but have an issue that his thread did not spend much time on. I'm no butcher nor am I an ovine anatomist.

The processor has given me a processing sheet, on which I am to indicate the cuts I would like produced. I intend to visit with them before the day, but I'd like to clarify things before I do so that I'm not completely at sea during the conversation. I've already made it clear that I want most of the innards and the tongue, which is no problem. It's the rest of the critter that has me a bit confused. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated to help me from my ignorance.

The sheet they provided lets me choose between the following: Chops; Leg roast; Steaks; Shoulder roast; Steaks (again); Ribs; and Shanks. It also lets me choose how much stew and ground meat I'd like from the trimmings, and specifically whether I want the heart and liver (but like I said, I'll take most of the innards from it).

If anyone can clarify these cuts for me I'd appreciate it. What I'm primarily stumbling on is the notion that some of them must be mutually exclusive. For example, I can choose chops and ribs, but I've always thought that bone in the chop was the rib? Also, how do the shoulder and the leg roast come together? I'm thinking the shoulder is most of the front leg, and the roast is the rear. Do the shanks come from all four legs? Finally, where do the steaks fit in and why are they on the list twice?

I'll trust you all to make me smarter!

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I will start that you can have shoulder or rib chops...

rib chops are the little triangular ones you can eat like a lollipop ( quick cook)

shoulder chops are much larger and usually hve a couple of different muscles in them...cook slower usually

Leg steaks I believe are the ones with the small round bone

I think I would want the legs whole for roasting or grilling

Definately the loin chops

and the shanks...and probabley shoulder chops, cause you can still grill them...at least I do

Will you make lamb burgers or meatballs (yum)...or more stew?

oh and Proper Shepards pie yum yum

tracey


Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

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I always simply ask for "standard cut" except my bison when I ask for more ground.

Okay. If I were to do that, what would I end up taking home?

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I will start that you can have shoulder or rib chops...

rib chops are the little triangular ones you can eat like a lollipop ( quick cook)

shoulder chops are much larger and usually hve a couple of different muscles in them...cook slower usually

Leg steaks I believe are the ones with the small round bone

I think I would want the legs whole for roasting or grilling

Definately the loin chops

and the shanks...and probabley shoulder chops,  cause you can still grill them...at least I do

Will you make lamb burgers or meatballs (yum)...or more stew?

oh and Proper Shepards pie  yum yum

tracey

Then I'd have the rib chops, although the checklist just says "Chops" so I'll have to make sure.

I intend to get the stew meat, which I can then grind for different applications. I was thinking a sausage...

Does anyone know whether shanks and leg roasts are mutually exclusive? I want shanks for sure!

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I've butchered a deer a year for some three years now, and what I've learned:

Stew meat. Keep the hunks as big as possible -- gives a lot more flexibility for cutting into the size you want for a particular dish, or to grind.

For the past two years, I have not cut my steaks, but left as a "roast" for cutting later. I think there is probably less freezer damage because there is less meat exposed to air.

For roasts, chops, stew meat, etc., think carefully about the weight of the packages. How much do you want per package, given the size of your family? For example, when I packaged my stew meat this year, I knew that I would want far less for a stir fry than I would for chili.

Good luck and let us know what you end up selecting!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Maybe some of these charts would help?

lamb basic cuts

lamb primal cuts

American lamb cuts

Thanks, JAZ, that american cuts chart seems to relate as closely to checklist I was given. I think, armed with that and a short talk with the sheep guys, I may be able to put together a list that doesn't walk all over itself. Thanks a bunch.

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I've butchered a deer a year for some three years now, and what I've learned:

Stew meat.  Keep the hunks as big as possible -- gives a lot more flexibility for cutting into the size you want for a particular dish, or to grind.

For the past two years, I have not cut my steaks, but left as a "roast" for cutting later.  I think there is probably less freezer damage because there is less meat exposed to air.

For roasts, chops, stew meat, etc., think carefully about the weight of the packages.  How much do you want per package, given the size of your family?  For example, when I packaged my stew meat this year, I knew that I would want far less for a stir fry than I would for chili.

Good luck and let us know what you end up selecting!

Thanks, Snowangel, that's good advice on the package sizing. It's going to be playing Tetris in the freezer as it is. But that may just mean I eat fresh lamb until I've got a manageable amount left!

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