The Morton Salt Book: Butchering Lamb and Curing Meat at Home

This excerpt from Morton Salt's booklet "A Complete Guide To Home Meat Curing" takes you through the process of carving a lamb carcass into separate cutlets and provides further detail on curing and storing beef, pork, poultry, and wild game.

| May/June 1973

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    The black guide lines clearly show where to make the cuts to separate the lamb carcass into the most desirable pieces for using fresh or for curing. 
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Morton - lamb rack and loin
    Procedure for separating the rack from the loin.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Sawing the lamb shoulder from the main torso. The cut is between the 5th and 6th ribs.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Morton - lamb loin and leg
    Method of separating the lamb loin from the legs.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Sawing the breast from the torso.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Morton - removing lamb sirloin
    Method of removing the sirloin from the lamb legs.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Photo shows the crown roast after it is formed, and the piece of backbone and two inch strip of meat that was trimmed from the rib ends.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Boned and Rolled Shoulder ready for curing.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Method of sawing through the spinal cord lengthwise to separate racks of ribs.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Morton - splitting lamb legs
    Follow this procedure to split apart the lamb's legs.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A section of sirloin with the backbone and hip bones removed.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A lamb leg, which resembles a ham.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Illustration shows butcher removing the fell— a  thin outer membrane—from the loin.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A boned and rolled sirloin, ready for roasting or ready for curing with Tender-Quick.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The next step in making a French leg is to break the shank where you scored it and twist it free of the leg bone.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    American Style leg with the bones removed.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Scoring along the leg about two inches above the joint is the first step in preparing a French-style leg
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    French Style leg showing shank bone removed.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Pump a leg of lamb with Tender-Quick prior to putting it in cure.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Don't throw away pork trimmings, grind them up into sausage.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Lamb
    Learn the different cuts of lamb and how to prepare them
    Photo by Fotolia/bit24

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  • Morton - lamb rack and loin
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  • Morton - lamb loin and leg
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  • Morton - removing lamb sirloin
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  • Morton - splitting lamb legs
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  • Lamb

OK, Homesteaders . . . here's the last installment of Morton Salt's superior booklet, A COMPLETE GUIDE TO HOME MEAT CURING. A previous issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS took you through cutting and curing beef, veal, and wild game. This final section tells you how to cut a lamb carcass and how to keep cured meats.

Although we've serialized the complete handbook, we still advise you to add the manual to your farmstead bookshelf. It's packed with valuable information on butchering, cutting up, and curing pork, beef, veal, lamb, poultry, and wild game.

Again, our special thanks to Murray J. Pearthree, Morton Salt Regional Sales Manager, for granting us written permission to reprint from the booklet.

Carving Lamb

The flesh of lamb is light pink, deepening in color as it ages. The lamb meat is firm and fine grained, the fat is white, hard, and flaky.



The lamb carcass, like beef, has thirteen pairs of ribs. Ordinarily the lamb carcass is not split. In warm weather, however, the carcass may be split in halves down the backbone with a meat saw to aid in chilling. A sharp butcher knife, saw, cleaver, and boning knife are the necessary tools for cutting up the lamb carcass. There are many different ways of cutting the lamb carcass. Just how the cuts are made depends a good deal on how the meat is to be used, whether most of it is to be used up fresh, canned, or cured. The larger cuts, like the legs and shoulders, are the best cuts for curing. A leg of lamb, when neatly trimmed and cured, has somewhat the appearance of a ham.

Corned lamb is easy to make and the breast and shank are good cuts for corning. One of the best ways to use the small pieces and trimmings is to make lamb patties or lamb and pork sausage.



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