- The carcass should be skinned as soon as it has been lardered.* The carcass should then remain hung in the larder initially to enable the heat to dissipate from the carcass slowly in the first 6 hours after skinning. This will ensure the full and rapid onset of rigor mortis and will prevent ‘cold shortening’ of the soft muscles in the carcass. The carcass should then be hung in a chilled environment with good air flow at 0° to 4° C for up to 10 days to ensure tenderness and the desired maturation level. There should be no contact with other carcasses and skinned carcasses should be hung separately from any that are unskinned .* Whether primary cuts are made with the carcass suspended (as shown) or lying flat on a cutting table will be down to individual experience and preference.
- Begin by ensuring that all work areas, equipment and hands are clean
- The shoulder blocks are removed from the main part of the carcass by opening the seam indicated (figs. 2 & 3) and following the shape of the blade bone.
- The shoulder block consists of three sections containing the blade bone, humerus bone and the fore leg. To prepare the shoulder, these are removed separately starting with the blade bone (fig.5). Once completed the process is repeated on the other side of the carcass. The shoulder block can be further broken down into smaller cuts (fig.4).
- Make an incision between the 5th and 6th rib (counting from the neck end), saw through the sternum bone (fig.6).
- Make a square cut to the backbone and then saw through the backbone keeping the saw in line with the ribs. Take care to only saw through bone and not into the underlying muscles on the opposite side of the carcass.
- Follow the saw cut with a steak knife following the rib to remove the pair of forequarters by sawing through the sternum on the other side of the carcass (fig.7). Make sure that all bone dust is removed from both surfaces.