Basic Butchery,  Butchery Tips,  Cooking,  Food Preparation,  Lamb,  Meat

What Does French Trimmed Meat Mean?

Some recipes call for your meat to be ‘french trimmed’, but you may not be sure what that means. This article will help explain what french trimming is and why it is done.

So what does ‘French Trimmed’ mean when it comes to meat? French Trimmed is the term given to exposing the clean bone of a piece of meat for decoration purposes. Most commonly, racks of lamb and ribs of beef are French trimmed by removing all of the meat and fat from around, and between the ribs, to expose the clean rib bones. Sometimes a frilled paper ‘chef hat’ is placed over the end of the rib for further decoration purposes.

How is meat French trimmed?

French trimming a piece of meat is relatively simple and has a visually dramatic effect on the cut of meat.

With lamb, pork and beef, it is usually the loin of the animal that is used, and the rib bones that are trimmed.

The trimming involves removing all of the meat and fat that surrounds the bone, and making it totally clean. A fully frenched bone will show no residue of fat or meat and will be almost white looking.

french trimmed lamb
French Trimmed Lamb With Exposed Rib Bones But Fat Remaining

Sometimes the trimming can go a step further, with all of the fat being removed from the eye of the meat, as well as from the ribs.

Fully French trimmed lamb
Fully Frenched To Remove All Visible Fat

Here is a video that shows you how to French trim a rack of lamb.

So Why Is Meat French Trimmed?

French trimming meat offers no real practical purpose other than to enhance the presentation of the dish being served, although having the bones cleaned and exposed can make eating the meat with your hands a little cleaner experience.


There is no denying that a French trimmed piece of meat is visually very impressive. For instance, a guard of honor or crown of lamb makes a splendid table centrepiece at any dinner party.

Frenched Crown of Lamb
Crown of Lamb
Frenched Lamb Guard of Honor
Lamb Guard of Honor


Prime rib of beef is normally the cut of meat that will be French trimmed, and is especially popular at Christmas. Another cut that has become popular in recent times is the ‘Tomahawk Steak’ that has a particularly long rib bone attached that has been fully trimmed.

french trimmed prime rib of beef
French Trimmed Prime Rib of Beef
French Trimmed Tomahawk Steak
Tomahawk Steak With Trimmed Long Rib Bone


Like the lamb, pork can also be frech trimmed to produce either a rack or crown of pork. This is achieved using the same method as for lamb, however with the meat being much bigger in size, you would need a fairly large group of people to really do a ‘crown of pork’ justice.

Frenched Pork Loin
French Trimmed Pork Chops


It is also possible to French trim chicken, however this refers to the exposing of the drumstick or wing bone as opposed to the rib bone. The chicken drummer part of the wing is often prepared in this way and referred to as a ‘Chicken Lollipop’ due to its resemblance to its candy namesake.

French Trimmed Chicken Breast
Chicken Lolliops

Protection of Exposed French Trimmed Bones During Cooking

When you have french trimmed the bones of the meat you are preparing, you must take steps to ensure that the bones do not burn during cooking.

The best method to prevent this is to wrap each individual bone with aluminum foil.

Once the meat is cooked, you can remove the foil, and if desired, place a ‘chef hat’ on each of the ribs to enhance presentation. Alternatively, you may leave the foil in place if you think your guests may wish to pick the meat up by the bone. This allows for less messy fingers whilst eating.

Foil Tips Protect Bones During Cooking
Chef Hats / Cutlet Frills on Lamb Cutlets

Here is a video on how to make cutlet frills at home. Remember, unlike the foil tips, these paper frills are placed over the ribs after the meat has been cooked!