Well, we don’t only have the sheep for keeping the grass short and for being cute. We ultimately raise them for meat. It’s the ugly part of being a lifestyle block owner, but also very rewarding, when you can create cuts that the supermarkets generally don’t sell (because it takes much more time to extract the premium cuts properly). I’m far from being an expert and it took me about 2 hours to work through the entire sheep, but practice makes the expert and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to improve my butchering skills.

The most important cuts for us are steaks from tenderloins and backstraps, and schnitzels from the four cleaned leg cuts. Both are very difficult to buy in NZ, as the backstraps are usually simply sliced with a bandsaw with rib bones in (as french racks), and the back legs are sliced as a whole, making it unsuitable for really nice fried schnitzels.

Our lamb was an almost one year old wether (castrated male sheep) and was killed on the paddock, totally stress free. It had a beautifully fat net weight of 17kg after skinning, gutting and letting it age on the clothes line for a couple of days. We’ll honor its life with delicious recipes and we’re thankful that it will feed our family more than a dozen times.

Last picture alive
Carefully extracting the tenderloin after separating the major pieces.
Removing the backstraps.
And the premium leg cuts on the left.
To make heaps of beautiful schnitzels.
And nicely fat mince and cubes for curries.
Roasted ribs for dinner.
Lamb cuts.

A very helpful butchering tutorial.