How to French a Rack of Lamb

A “rack” of lamb is a section of ribs, usually 7, sometimes 8 lamb chops in one piece. A classic way to prepare rack of lamb is with the bones “frenched” or exposed. These days you can usually find packaged lamb racks already frenched. Or if you have access to a butcher, he or she should be able to prepare it for you. If not, here is a simple guide to frenching the ribs yourself, as demonstrated by master butcher Mike Carroll, meat department manager of Sacramento’s Corti Brothers. Thanks Mike!

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How to French a Rack of Lamb

Note Mike's butcher gloves in the photos. Mike's a professional butcher, so he's going to wear gloves when working with meat for customers. No need for gloves like these at home.

Ingredients

  • One rack of lamb
  • A sharp, skinny knife

Method

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1 Stand the lamb rack up on one end so that you can see the "eye" of the lamb chop. Score the fat side at the edge about an inch and a half or so up the rib from the eye to use as a cutting guideline. Do the same on the other end of the rack.

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2 Using a sharp knife, cut through the fatty side of the rib roast, to the bone, from one marked end to the other. Then go back over your cut and holding the knife perpendicular to the roast, jab it in several places to go all the way through the other side, so that the reverse site gets "marked" with scores.

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3 Turn the rib rack over, so that it is now bone side up. You should be able to see the markings made from the knife that got inserted from the other side. Those markings will delineate the boundary beyond which you will not cut. Working from the skinny ends of the rib bone, make a cut down along the bone, until you get to the previously scored marking, then cut across to the next rib and cut up to the end of that rib bone. Continue to do this until all of the bones have had the flesh cut around them.

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4 Turn the rack over again so that the fat side is on top, and begin to pull off the fat and flesh from the bones. Use your knife to help cut away any flesh that is sticking to the bones.

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5 Scrape away any residual flesh on the exposed bones. Use a towel to wipe the bones clean. There you have it! Your rack of lamb is perfectly "Frenched".

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One way of presenting 2 racks of lamb is by interlocking the rib bones.

6 Comments

  1. katy

    Such a great post! Especially right before Easter… :-) This a great technique to know.

    Thanks Katy! ~Elise

  2. Smitty

    I have never understood why anyone would want to remove some of the tastiest part of a rack of lamb by frenching it:-( The crunchy fat and tender meat next to the bone is part of the total pleasure of enjoying this treat.

    Smitty

  3. frances

    It’s that easy he! I could have guessed….

  4. ryan

    What’s the best use for the cuttings?

    Freeze them for lamb stew, or grind them for lamb sausage. ~Elise

  5. Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Wow, great step-by-step photos and tutorial. I just love Corti Bros.

  6. Brandon Russell

    An easier way to do that is to make a parallel cut on the flat, inside surface (concave side) down the length of the ribs. Use your knife to lift away the encapsulating layer that surrounds the bone. Use your hands to literally peel the meat off the bone. Cut at the bottom like in step 1. This way, the bone always comes clean and you don’t dull your knife scraping the ribs. Good luck!

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