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.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes


  • 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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  • Judith

    Great images and instructions.
    Thank you.

  • 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

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello C.W., Good question, I don’t know, as I haven’t vacuum packed Frenched ribs. If someone else is experienced with this, please feel free to weigh in.

  • 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!

  • suryati

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


  • 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!

  • ryan

    What’s the best use for the cuttings?

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