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Jul 15, 2011 07:44 AM

Lamb's offal/lamb anatomy

Hey all,

I've been invited to help with a lamb slaughter, and I was told I could go home with lots of the offal - because apparently they throw it all away! I mentioned sweetbreads - and they didn't even know what they were! D:

How am I going to ID the parts I want? Does anyone have hand-dandy links or photos? I figure some bits - like kidney, and liver, and lamb fries I'll be able to figure out pretty easily - but how do I find the sweetbreads?

Thanks, folks!

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  1. Keep any thing that isn't muscle. For sweetbreads look for the thymus gland in the head area or the pancreas in the gut area.

    4 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      I don't know about lambs, but in humans the thymus is not in the head. It's where the lungs nearly come together, meeting the trachea. Put your finger on the intraclavicular notch (if you didn't see The English Patient, it's where your clavicles attach to your breast bone). The top of the thymus is under there, more or less. Sheep have clavicles, so that's where I would look. MIght be rather small on a lamb, though.

      And don't forget the heart.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Keep the lambs pluck, liver heart and kidneys and you have the basis for making your own haggis.

          1. re: stilldontknow

            That, actually, was the whole reason I went to the slaughter - I emailed ever local sheep-farmer I could find, asking them about getting a 'pluck.' This one invited me to their slaughter, and I made away with one full pluck, two extra lungs (right now I'm feeling like I shouldda taken more... >.>) and pretty much all the 'fries.'

            Sadly - the sheep were too old, and their sweetbreads had shrunk to a nearly non-existent size. :(

            I also took home a bunch of heads, so I could try to get the tongues and brains. Got the tongues! The brains eluded me. Alas. Cleaned and boiled some of the heads for the meat and to preserve the skulls for friends. Gave some of the heads to my neighbors - refugees from a small village in the Congo. Ended up tossing the last few, because I didn't have the time to clean and cook them all - and they don't fit in my fridge.

            But a very productive day!

            Oh - and the prep work for the haggis is done. Time to stuff it and cook it! ;)

    2. I used the intestines well rinsed for sausage casing. The boiled head is commonly eaten, tongue and kidneys or trotters in Brrritish.