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Mar 24, 2005 12:29 PM

What exactly does "French trimmed" mean

  • l

I sent my husband to our local butcher (Staubitz for those of you in Brooklyn) to get a roast. The recipe (a Jamie Oliver one) called for a French trimmed sirloin roast. We don't cook meat at home all that often and I'm not all the knowledgeable about cuts and whatnot, but I had a vague idea that French trimmed had something to do with the bone being in the roast. When my husband asked for this, the people behind the counter looked at him like he was insane. He was sent to the "Head Butcher" who said he'd never heard of a French trimmed roast. Can someone please clear this up for me?

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  1. Lamb is often sold "french trimmed". I am trying to corralate sirloin to loin.

    Is the recipe for beef or lamb ?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      It's a beef recipe and there's a picture that shows a roast with several rib-like (maybe?) bones protruding from the meat.

      1. re: Lacy

        Reads like a french (or frenched) rack to me. In my area, racks of lamb are available french trimmed.

        I do not think beef sirloins come with bones. A beef sirloin is ~10 lbs and is boneless, that is trimmed into steaks and smaller roasts. For comparision, delis often sell roast beef from a cooked beef sirloin.

        If you order a beef prime rib, a butcher can "french" it for you.

        I wanted a cut of meat for a pot roast recently. I brought in a copy of the recipe and asked the butcher to cut/tie the piece of meat for me. Perhaps if you brought the picture to the meat market, they will have a better understanding of what you want.

    2. I thought French trimmed meant that the meat along the bone has been trimmed away...

      For my preferences I often like the meat near the bone the best so I never order it that way, especially for pork chops... But it does look neater for presentation purposes.

      Maybe I have been mistaken about what it meant...

      1. from Jamie Oliver's website (although it refers to lamb):
        "When you buy your racks of lamb, ask your butcher to 'French-trim' them, which means that all the bones are scraped clean - this looks nice and pretty and it cooks easier as well."


        1 Reply
        1. re: Tamar G

          Yeah, but I don't really understand how that relates to a sirloin roast.

        2. Racks of lamb and pork are often "frenched" ie having the meat all trimmed off of the bones just leaving the loin on the rack, you often see pictures of racks with the little frills on the bones. Because of the way meat is sold wholesale in the US, unless you can find a butcher who buys whole beef on the hoof and butchers it himself, you are not going to get that cut here. The beef we get in our stores come into the store pretty well cut up. Sadly it is a great rarity to find a bone in sirloin steak any more and our steaks don't have the flavor they once did.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            Sorry, I was not thinking this through thoroughly. On further thought the only way you could get a beef roast like would be to buy a rib roast and have it frenched. That would waste a lot of meat though. If you did that I would ask the butcher to grind all of the trimmings in to hamburger for me. You would probably want a rib roast from the small end of the rack of beef.

            1. re: Candy

              You just said a mouthful. My mom and dad were steak eaters, and they would nearly always choose flat-bone sirloin like the one in this picture, so that's what I grew up on. Absolutely delicious. Golly, I don't reckon I've seen a flat-bone sirloin steak in 25 years, maybe more.



              1. re: Jim Washburn

                There is a butcher shop on the south side of Indianapolis where I can occasionally get bone in sirloin and also bone in chuck. Bone in chuck for pot roast is the best!

                1. re: Candy

                  Bone in chuck steak is awesome.. I can never find it at all. Not even at the butchers anymore :(

                  I emailed and complained to the Beef council and they comisserated but didn't have any suggestions other than go to a butcher shop.

                  1. re: PenskeFan

                    I meant chuck roast.. but I can't find a bone in chuck steak either.

                      1. re: Candy

                        perhaps even sadder, oftentimes when I do a prime rib roast, I can't find a bone in roast without resorting to super expensive mail order places like Lobels. good beef to be sure.. but quite budget busting.

                        1. re: PenskeFan

                          If you're in their trading area, Costco meat departments often have bone-in prime rib roasts in the few days prior to major holidays. But that's the only time they have them. I was looking for one for last weekend and the local Costco meat guy said he expected some in this week... for Easter only.

                          1. re: Midlife

                            hmmm we are indeed, buy a lot of meat there, and that was where we bought our last bone in one from. For a very good price I might add..

                            I wonder if they are OK to freeze. Unfortunately I already have a Satzow NC Smokehouse ham for Easter. I think I will start another thread :)

            2. I've usually seen the term as simply "Frenched" and it refers, as someone else said, to racks (usually of lamb, but also pork and, sometimes, veal) that have had the meat removed from between the ribs, leaving only the bare bone and the "eye" of the meat. It's strictly a presentation thing. I've never seen beef rib roasts, which are the same cut of meat, trimmed this way, but it would be an interesting presentation - admittedly at the loss of some good eating. Sirloin roasts are from further back on the animal and don't have ribs, so the term can't be applied to them.

              I wonder if Oliver is referring to the larger concept of the very different way in which cows are butchered in France, which results in different and/or differently shaped cuts than we have in the US? If so, I can't imagine where you'd go to find that (other than France). Anthony Bourdain discusses in his Les Halles Cookbook that they had/have a butcher at the restaurant specifically so they could get meat cut in the French way, which leads me to believe that it's pretty much unavailable otherwise.