There is no hiding it; this is a Cardrona cut for people who enjoy tasty fats. In the last number of years, diners have learned to appreciate that not all lamb fat has that ‘woolly’ or ‘muttony’ flavour. This is especially the case with merino that is a breed that has less fat and a different profile fat taste to other kinds of lambs. When they are grazed on native grasses or forage on other low input (less nitrogen) based traditional farming practises, you can taste this difference.

Cardrona Merino’s ribs and belly are about making the meat and tasty fats work together. Andrew Aitken at Emersons, for example, serves this cut on the bone after braising it down for one and a half hours to flavour the cut. He then double-dips the lambs in the fryer to create a crusty texture and layer the depth of flavour for the perfect sticky rib. This is a staff favourite and is completed with the perfect Asian rib sauce, and sesame seed finish.

The bone out belly, which is simply the ribs above with bone taken out, contains all the same layered flavours that after seasoning is great sous vide to ‘butter blend’ the flavours together. This can then be flame fired to crackle and crisp the lamb using rosemary or thyme to return the colour and flavour depth to the cut before portion slicing onto the plate.

For lack of an original term, these are both called ‘secondary cuts.’ A lot of chefs also enjoy working with the challenging cuts because the taste and flavour of the connective tissues and merino fats adds so much more to the lamb. It’s great for Cardrona Merino because a nose to tail philosophy is a weekly reality and not just lip service for using everything and therefore it honours the life of the animal.

For more information, contact Rob Ottrey at