Personal comments from a small farmer:
If you have a cool room (or any fly-proof cool area), and you have skinned and gutted the sheep, the meat
will improve if you can hang it for a few days. First rigor mortis sets in, then it passes and the meat becomes more tender.
If you have done a 'partial slaughter', the meat is already in pieces. With no cool room, you can put the
pieces in a set of oven pans and keep them somewhere flyproof and reasonably cool. We use an old ex-fridge.
We don't have great facilities, so we are not very ambitious about butchering. If we want chops, mince and
sausages, we send a prime lamb to the butcher for slaughter and butchering. Usually we are butchering our older partial slaughters.
We have a big chopping board which we put on the table with one of us on each side. H(usband) cuts, W(ife)
holds the meat steady. The board gets deep cuts, so it's only used for butchering. We cut the leg joints with a meat saw for the big bones, and good knives. We tried a power
reciprocating saw (hence the deep cuts in the chopping board!), but the hand operated meat saw is better.
With each leg, we cut off the shank and then cut the leg in half for a roast/ slow cooking joint. All the
shanks are frozen together, and we freeze each half leg joint separately. If we have visitors, we cook two joints. With the strips and chunks, W usually dices them and either
freezes portions of diced meat, or slow cooks them and then freezes meal portions for stews and pies.
Butchering Tools - and - Cutting off the shank