I'm making rack of lamb tonight. I got the rack at a local farmer's market and it was a bit less butchered than I expected. I can (and did) trim it myself, but there seems to be a lot of meat embedded in the large amount of fat I trimmed off the top of the ribs. I'm not really sure what its proper name is ("rib meat"?), so here's a couple pictures to make it clear:

full slab

pulled up

I'm talking about the large slab of fat and meat in my hand in the second picture. As far as I can tell, it's usually just discarded, but there seems to be a good deal of meat there, and it was expensive, so I'd hate to just toss it. I'm fairly patient and good at separating the fat and meat on membranes, so I can probably isolate a good portion of the meat, if necessary.

Is there anything I can do/make to avoid throwing out so much good meat?

For the record, I got about 12 oz of usable meat out of this. Didn't weigh the fat, but probably 20-24 oz.

Separated meat and fat

  • 1
    Why did you cut it off, that is part of the "rib cut"?
    – TFD
    Nov 26, 2015 at 9:46

8 Answers 8


I always save all my scraps to make stock. I'm not sure what you would do with lamb stock, but it would probably make a good sauce to use on lamb. The fat that renders out is also useful for future cooking of whatever it came from (duck fat for duck confit, for example).

I just throw all the scraps into a slow cooker with celery, carrot, and onion (veggies are optional) and let it cook for a day (or two). You can pick out the meat if you like (after a day it will be easy to separate) and use it for anything you might use shredded lamb for (pot pie, shepherd's pie, etc.).

I use rendered chicken or turkey fat instead of butter for making pot pie dough, to cook more chicken in, or for matzo balls, and beef fat instead of butter for making gravy, replacing the butter in a beurre manié (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beurre_mani%C3%A9).

  • Interesting uses for the fat, I hadn't even considered using that part.
    – Kevin
    Mar 30, 2015 at 14:50
  • 2
    And when he says 'save all my scraps', I would assume in the freezer. I keep a bag in my freezer for the more sad vegetables (showing age but not rotting) and some vegetable trimmings (eg, stems from many herbs). I bag meat scraps individually (eg, the neck & backs out of chickens).
    – Joe
    Mar 31, 2015 at 9:35
  • Note that lamb fat has a somewhat different consistency in my experience, almost somewhat sticky, but it should certainly be flavorful in stock!
    – Erica
    Mar 31, 2015 at 23:34

Why are you taking it off. This is the most delicious part of the rack of lamb. It is a complete ruination of a beautiful cut. Whoever invented frenching of lamb racks and cutlets should go back to the basics of what gives lamb its flavour. I am hare pressed to find a traditional old fashioned cut style of a lamb cutlet. It is usually a stick of bone with a little bit of meat the size of a 50cent piece attached to it and rare as all get out. No way. Leave the back strap on. Never take it off. People can if they want to when they are eating it but I'll bet you will end up with bones chewed down to bare if you don't. I'm trying to teach my butcher but he just doesn't get it. Get a retired butcher to teach you.


We used to raise sheep. I never liked lamb, but mutton was good. You mentioned your skills with separating meat from fat. Render the fat down and use it to make pie crust. Cut, sear and brown the meat, and use it to make lamb pot pie. This way, all of the "discards" are used up, and supper is delicious!


In the southern U.S., a "crackling" (or pork rind) is the fried skin of a pig. I have found that after cooking a rack of lamb (frenched or not), the fat layer(s) or "skin" of the lamb rack makes a fine crackling with the addition of a slight amount of salt, pepper, or not. Best, you can harvest a crop of crackling every time you skim the fatty side of the lamb cut, after reintroducing it into the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes and skimming; re-enter the balance to the oven for some more.


Another option if you have a meat grinder would be to mix it with a leaner cut of meat to increase the fat content when making sausages.


One solution is to sprinkle it with salt and pepper, place it in a small baking dish covered with aluminum foil, and bake in a 325 degree oven for about an hour or so. The fat will render nice and slowly and the meat will crisp up in certain areas. The meat will be delicious in tacos, sandwiches, over pasta, or on its own!


I have found a great use for the little nuggets of meat/fat in between the ribs that you have to cut out to get that bone to hold on to for your lollipop lamb chops. Just saute meat in a wok over high heat to render as much fat as you can, about 15-20 minutes, pour off all the fat then add a marinade/sauce I like Korean Kalbi or a Red wine demi and slowly cook/braise it out for another 15-20 on low heat. I add a little blanched veggies, diced onion, re-season and let the sauce coat everything well 3-4 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles..............AMAZING!!!!!


How about making boneless Ribs?

  • Can you expand on this at all? This isn't an answer, it's another question... at best it's a comment. Make it a statement and flesh it out a bit?
    – Catija
    Feb 28, 2016 at 3:44

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