Breaking down a lamb: Part 1

Breaking down a lamb: Part 1

This is the start of our cutting guides:

Front Half of the lamb.

This is a step by step guide on how to break a lamb front half into primal portions. This is the way I do it, and I find that you have much less offcuts and waste, so give it a try. Most of the cutting is done with my butchers saw and boning knife. (We will share our tools with you soon.)

The Neck section:

Step 1 Neck section: First cut through the flesh of the neck to reach the neck bone.

Step 2 Neck section: Then find the neck bone and using some force, cut in between the vertebrate to go through the neck. Once you have completed this cut, set the neck aside.

The Shoulder section:

Step 1 Shoulder section: Make a small cut insertion between the 5th and 6th rib to remove the shoulder section.

Step 2 Shoulder section: Cutting upwards with your boning knife will be the best way to cut through the cartilage of the breast bone.

Step 3 Shoulder section: Repeat this cut on the other side.

Step 4 Shoulder section: Now using a butchers saw, complete the separation by cutting through the back bone. With the shoulder & loin section removed, it is now time to cut the shoulder section in half.

Step 5 Shoulder section: Using  your saw align the shoulder section so that you can insert your saw between the breast bones. Cut through the back bone in the middle and make sure to stay in the centre.

Step 6 Shoulder section: Once through the back bone, use your boning knife to cut through the flesh and complete the separation.

From the shoulder section you will take out the following cuts:

Front shoulder shank x 2

Shoulder chops x 8

Whole shoulder x 2


Front shoulder shank x 2

Whole shoulder & rib roast x 2

Loin / Saddle section:

Step 1 Loin / Saddle section: Cut between the 12th and 13th rib bone to remove the loin and the saddle section from the rest of the lamb.

Step 2 Loin / Saddle section: Repeat on both sides cutting trough the flesh to the back bone. Make sure to follow the angle of the ribs too ensure a even cut on both sides.

Step 3 Loin / Saddle section: Now using your butchers saw cut trough the back bone to complete the separation. You will now have the whole bone in loin/belly section.

Step 4 Loin Saddle section: Using your butcher saw cut through the centre of the the back bone of the Loin / belly section.

Step 5 Loin Saddle section: With a boning knife cut through the flesh to complete the separation. Now you have your two sides of bone in loin/belly sections. With this sections you can make french trimmed lamb cutlets or de boned lamb loin rolls.

From the Loin / Saddle section you will take out the following cuts:

French trimmed loin cutlets x 12


Loin belly roast x 2

It is always important when butchering to reserve all the offcuts and bones. This will always come in handy when making stocks, stuffing’s and sausages.  Remember to respect the meat that you work with. Also try to utilize all the meat from a animal.


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