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How to Break Down a Whole Goat 09:22

Isaac Toups

Mastering this technique will provide essential insight into goat as an underrated but versatile protein.

How to Break Down a Whole Goat 09:22

Isaac Toups

Mastering this technique will provide essential insight into goat as an underrated but versatile protein.

Advanced
Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Serving Size

The Steps

  1. 1. Lay it flat on one side. Lift the front leg of the goat and locate the facial plane between the ribs and the leg. Slice down this plane, moving the knife toward the bottom end of the goat. Further cut in between the muscles and pull the leg away from the goat. Repeat this process on the opposite upper leg. 00:10

  2. 2. Turn the goat to begin cutting the back legs, or hind shanks, of the meat. Place the filet knife on the bottom of the goat’s inner pelvic bone and slice upwards to the stomach. Move the knife to the back of the outer pelvic bone and slice upwards to the back and all around the leg bone. Use your hands to pull the leg, pop the pelvic bone out of the socket, and splay the goat open. Make a small incision in the remaining muscle and pull the bone off of the rest of the goat. Repeat this process on the opposite hind shank. 02:25

  3. 3. Open the inner-middle section of the goat to begin breaking down the ribs. Align the edge of the cleaver with the sides of the spine and smash the cleaver down onto the rib bones to score the goat. Once the bones have been popped, use your hands to splay open the ribs of the goat. 04:26

  4. 4. Locate the belly flap and use the cleaver to slice it away from the spine. With the cleaver aimed toward the front of the goat, begin to hack away the ribs from the spine. Repeat this on the opposite set of ribs. 05:27

  5. 5. Slam the cleaver down and across the vertebrae to slice pieces of meat that are about 5-inches in length. 06:27

What You'll Need

Equipment

- Filet knife
- Butcher cleaver
- Cutting board

Ingredients

- Whole goat (35 pounds)

Chef Notes

Goat meat is very rich and flavorful. The taste is similar to beef and lamb but more hearty.  

One of the most important things to take into consideration when breaking down a goat is the quality of the knives being used. Be sure to use sharp knives, as these will make the process easier and safer.  

This butchering process divides the goat into five main parts. The belly and ribs of the goat are most often grilled, the vertebrae pieces and fore shanks are typically braised, and the hind shanks are best roasted, grilled, or smoked. These hind shanks are the most flavorful parts of the goat and can be used in a variety of recipes.  

Chef Isaac likes to use goat in a variety of his recipes, including one that involves slow braising. For this recipe, visit Chef Isaac’s “Slow Braised Goat” tutorial located at the bottom of the page. 

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Taught by

Isaac

Chef Isaac Toups

New Orleans

Isaac Toups is head chef and co-owner of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans. At Toups’, Isaac serves up the hearty, Cajun-ty... read more