Whole Animal Butchery: What, Why, and Where

If you’re even a little bit conscious about what you eat, where it comes from, or how it gets to your table, you’re probably familiar with the latest clean-eating buzzwords: “organic”, “non-GMO”, “sugar-free”, “superfoods”, “probiotics”, “whole-grain”… and so on and so forth. With so much to read and learn, it can be tricky to distil what’s really important.

That’s what inspired us to share one of the simplest, yet most widely unknown processes to consider when you’re choosing fuel for your body: the art of butchering.

Where your food comes from and what happens before it gets to your plate is just as important as what you’re consuming, and taking the butchery process into account when you’re planning meals can help you be a more mindful consumer.

What

What we’re talking about is called whole animal butchering. This is an approach that cuts down on waste and hones in on the craft of butchering an animal, taking care to use every part to the best of its potential.

The diagram below shows the cuts of sections of lamb that correspond to the cuts of meat available after butchering:

SunGold | Chalkboard illustration of lamb cuts

(Bonus, this great little diagram is available on Etsy so you can show off just how much you love lamb.)

Looks familiar, right? The whole animal butchery process includes traditional cuts, but also yields cuts of meat consumers may not be familiar with. Unusual cuts bring with them an element of delight and excitement, which elevates dinnertime and opens up new recipe ideas and opportunities to create dishes that are memorable and unique.

Some of the cuts that come from a whole animal butchery process include what’s called “offals” – the organs and fancy meats including livers, hearts, and even heads.

That said, you can also expect to see expertly cut racks, legs, and loins that have gone through a careful butchery process so that once cooked, they are as delicious as they possibly can be. Each part can serve its own purpose, and using a whole animal technique involves understanding the value of the animal in its entirety, rather than just its individual parts.

Why

Here’s why we do it.

The fact of the matter is, a small family-owned butcher shop will never quite compare to a large-scale meat plant when it comes to the use of whole animal butchery (no matter how romantic a tiny, local shop might feel). This is due to the operational efficiency principles that plants like SunGold employ; it just doesn’t make sense from a business sense to waste any parts of the animal.

At SunGold, we’ve taken even greater strides to reduce any wasted product over the last few years.

Lamb meat plays a major role in many traditional diets, of which dishes often include parts like the lungs, testicles, head, heart and more. By offering these cuts to the Canadian market, we are embracing the cultural diversity in our country and catering to their dietary needs. We also understand and greatly appreciate the cost and effort that our farmers put into raising each of the animals that comes to us. Utilizing whole animal butchery is beneficial to our consumers, our sources, and and our distributors.

When you choose to buy from a conscientious specialty meat plant like SunGold, you are directly contributing to sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry. Your personal choices as a consumer do create a positive impact on the environment, and will also encourages people within your network to reconsider their eating habits.

Where

At SunGold, accounting for the whole animal in our butchery process matters to us. When you buy our meats for your family and friends, you know you’re getting a hearty meal that was raised with care and butchered with consideration. We take pride in bringing you wholesome meats that are sourced ethically and sustainably so you can feel good about bringing them home.

SunGold is a leading supplier of lamb in North America.

From our carefully cut offals to our Lamb Tonight range, we use a whole animal approach to butchering, and we’re so excited to be able to share it with you.