How to Trim Meats
Remove unwanted fat, bone, and sinew from meat.
When trimming meat it is important to have a clear idea of how much fat you want to remove before beginning to slice, based on your diet and flavor preferences.
- Use a sharp and flexible knife when trimming. A sharp knife will glide through the meat, while a dull knife will force itself through, which can be dangerous and can waste good meat.
- Flexibility in a meat-cutting knife is especially important when the bones are buried in the meat. A flexible knife will make the job of digging the bone out of the meat easier than if a stiff knife is used.
1. We have chosen to use a pork loin to illustrate this method. Take a good look at the piece of meat about to be trimmed and select the line of fat that will best guide trimming to yield the most desirable cut of meat. Every piece of meat has a different-shaped ribbon of fat running through it. When choosing the line of fat to guide your trimming, the best choice is often a very distinct line of fat that runs from one end of the meat to the other. Throughout the entire course of trimming, stay focused on guiding your knife along the chosen line of fat in order to avoid sacrificing valuable meat.
2. Place your knife along the line of fat; the knife should be placed exactly within the line where the fat connects to meat. Make a shallow incision into the meat that runs along the length of the line of fat or sinew.
3. With your knife, follow the line of fat, bone, or sinew down into the meat and separate the chosen pieces as they become unattached from the meat. As you pull, the fat will separate and show the path the knife should follow.
4. As progression from one end to the other is made, the path will become much clearer.
5. Continue slicing until the selected piece is completely removed. The piece of fatty meat should be removed without offending the integrity of remaining meat. The fatty and/or stringy meat (just pulled off of the main segment of loin) is best used in dishes like Green Chile Stew.
6. Take another look at the meat and decide how much more of the fat needs to be trimmed off. It is important to keep some fat on your meat as fat lends juiciness and taste, along with helping the meat to cook properly. Once it is decided how much fat should be removed, begin trimming isolated segments of fat off of the meat. Do not slice into pink meat at any point while trimming, only slice into the fat.
7. Pull the fat back as you slice it off of the meat; as the fat is pulled back it will reveal new areas to slice into. If the fat reveals pink meat, tilt the knife upwards slightly and return to slicing into fat. If when the knife tilts up, it breaks through fat into pink meat, that section is probably trimmed completely.
8. Cut a trimmed piece of pork for one of these recipes: