How to French a Rack of Lamb

How ToLamb

Step-by-step photo tutorial on how to French cut a rack of lamb roast.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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!

corti brothers butcher Mike Carroll with Frenched rack of lamb

Butcher Mike Carroll of Corti Brothers

How to French a Rack of Lamb

  • Prep time: 15 minutes

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.


  • One rack of lamb

Special equipment:

  • A sharp, skinny knife


1 Make cutting guideline: 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.

stand rack of lamb on its side score the ends of the rack of lamb

2 Cut fatty side to the bone: Using a sharp knife, cut through the fatty side of the rib roast, to the bone, from one marked end to the other.

cut through fatty end of rack of lamb

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.

3 Cut around the flesh of the rib bones: 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.

4 Pull the fat and flesh from the bones: 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.

5 Scrape away any residual flesh on the exposed bones. Use a towel to wipe the bones clean.

finish cleaning the bones for frenched rack of lamb how to french a rack of lamb

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.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

9 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mary

    Great easy to understand tutorial. Very helpful.


  2. Judith

    Great images and instructions.
    Thank you.

    Show Replies (1)
  3. C. W. Whorton

    Looks good but I have question. Is there a reason to individually wrap each bone with wax paper if you are vacuum packing the ribs or can you just cut a long piece of wax paper and cover all the bones with one piece

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Julie

    Interesting, but why must we waste such a nice part of the rib? I feel like i have to do it because everyone does, but i dont want to!

  5. suryati

    This tutorial is very helpful for me as a teacher for basic butchery course.


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how to french a rack of lambHow to French a Rack of Lamb