Carving, the cutting or slicing of large cuts of meat or whole game, is a very useful skill to acquire. To know how to carve meat correctly is very important – it avoids wastage, improves presentation, saves time (thus avoiding bringing cold

Leg of Lamb, on the bone. Begin carving from the shorter,Continue carving the Leg, from the knuckle, graduating or knuckle, end in short, thick slices.to longer, thinner slices, towards the aitch bone.


Best End of Lamb, which is carved in the same way as Loin. First sever the chine bone from the rib bones.

Turn the Lamb over, fatty side uppermost. Carve the meat between the rib bones into cutlets. meat to the table), and helps make the most of leftovers – the sight of cold, messy remains will defeat even the most economical cook!

The basic tools required for carving are: sharp knives, long and thin for slicing and shorter and thick for jointing (these knives should be used specifically for carving and nothing else), a long two-pronged fork, preferably with a thumb-guard, and a carving dish. Carving dishes may be made of stainless steel, aluminium or wood, and may have short protruding spikes to hold the meat steady, as well as grooves or depressions to contain the juices or blood that run out of the meat when it is carved.

The most important point to note about carving is that each type of meat has a particular grain which, generally speaking, runs lengthways along the carcass. The meat is usually carved against the grain as this produces more tender slices. One of the few exceptions to this rule is loin of veal, which is carved with the grain.

Before carving the meat, remove and discard any trussing thread or skewers.

Avoid cutting the meat in short or deep cuts – aim for large, thin, even slices.

The pictures and directions above are a guide to how to carve cuts of meat which have been cooked with the bone.

Directions for boned or rolled cuts of meat are not given as they are simple to carve – the only point to remember is that they should be carved fairly thinly.


Back and Fore Wing is a sirloin cut with the fillet removed. This cut can be cooked on the bone, but is also sold boned or rolled.

Top, Fore and Back Rib cuts are all carved in the same way – the only difference in the cuts is that the lengths of the rib bones differ, fore rib having the longest bones. These cuts are also sold boned or rolled.

Sirloin is a large cut which should weigh at least 5 pounds if cooked with the bone. Sirloin is also sold boned or rolled, cut into steaks, or sold on the bone with the fillet removed.

Brisket is the meat covering the breast bone. It may be cooked with the bone, but, more commonly is boned and rolled, or salted.

Lamb cuts are the same as mutton, and the methods of carving are the same. The only basic difference between lamb and mutton is that mutton is older, usually tougher, and the cuts are larger. Leg of lamb is cooked whole, on the bone, or, if the leg is very large, divided in half – the shank and the fillet which are sold separately. Leg can be boned, but it is more commonly cooked on the bone. It is also sometimes boned and cut into cubes for kebabs, curries and casseroles.

Loin is usually chined by the butcher, cooked whole on the bone and then carved into chops. Loin may also be sold boned or rolled, or separated into chops. Shoulder is cooked whole on the bone, or, if it is very large, cut into 2 or 3 pieces which are sold separately. Shoulder is also sold boned or rolled, or boned and cut into small pieces for kebabs, etc.

Saddle, a very large cut, is always sold whole, on the bone, with the kidneys attached.

Leg of pork can be cooked whole on the For Loin of Veal, turn the meat on to its side and steady it with a carving fork. Cut off the chine bone.

Turn the Loin over, fatty side uppermost, and carve it into medium-thick slices, between the rib bones.


Half-Shoulder of Veal, also called the Oyster, is carved straight down, with the grain, into thin slices.

To carve Gammon, grasp the knuckle bone and carve thinly towards the knuckle end, down to the leg bone. bone, or cut into two – the fillet end and knuckle end. Leg can also be sold boned and rolled.

Loin may be chined and cooked whole on the bone, or it can be boned and rolled. Loin is also separated into chops. Hand and Spring is the front leg and is usually cooked whole on the bone. Blade is cut from the shoulder and it may be cooked whole, on the bone or boned, stuffed and rolled. Gammon and Ham are the hind leg of the pig and are smoked or cured before cooking. Gammon is either sold whole, or cut into three pieces, Corner, Middle

Cut and Hock, which are sold separately.

Ham is sold whole and is cooked on the bone.


Leg of veal, called chump end of leg, is usually cooked whole, on the bone. Leg of veal is also sold boned or rolled.

Loin can be chined and cooked whole on the bone. It is also sold boned and rolled, or separated into chops.

Shoulder can be cooked whole on the bone. It is also sold boned and rolled, or boned and cut into pieces.

Neck is cooked whole on the bone, or sold boned or rolled. It is also separated into chops and known as neck cutlets.


Small game birds such as pheasant, grouse and partridge are served in three different ways, according to the size and toughness of the bird – whole (very small birds only), jointed, before or after cooking, or carved in the same way as POULTRY, although sometimes only the breast is eaten.

Hare is usually sold in pieces, or jointed.

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