Butchery for dummies

Until we started keeping animals I had no idea how important it was that meat was hung properly. This week we collected a lamb (ok, technically hogget as it was a year old) carcass that had spent two weeks chilling in Mr Broomhall’s cold store.

That’s well hung meat in anyone’s book, so chopping it up fast was a priority. Sadly our neighbours-in-meat have moved upriver and are quite busy, so I couldn’t look pathetic and ask Craig nicely to do the honours. However he always makes it look very easy so armed with a sharp knife, a cleaver and the internet I got on with the job. Naturally only after a careful risk assessment and in accordance with all the best practice health and safety measures I could muster (I scrubbed that table hard).

For the first half I took tips from a useful Guardian article , then for the second I was inspired by a blog that suggested cutting it up into oven-sized chunks, which led to a more freestyle approach.

Sticking the knife in. Small child watching and learning…











First I removed the leg. It’s about 6.45am so no flies around yet. The boning knife is so sharp, it’s like cutting butter.


chopping 2
Meaty chunks getting gradually smaller
Actual chops, thanks to some very positive work with the cleaver
boned shoulder
One shoulder blade extracted from a shoulder

By this point I’m pretty pleased with myself and getting a taste of what life might be like as a surgeon. It took a few hours on and off but by the end of the day we had the body bagged and frozen in various sized chunks.

The neatly boned shoulder was eaten the following night after a day marinating in garlic, rosemary, oil and balsamic vinegar, and was as delicious as we could have wanted. Thank you sheep, you’ve taught us a lot.


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