What Does Frenching a Bone Mean?

A rack of pork

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To "french" a bone is a culinary term that means to cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop so that part of the bone is exposed.

Why Bones Are Frenched

This is done with racks of lamb, beef, and pork purely for aesthetic reasons or appearances' sake. Years ago, the exposed bones were covered with frilled papers. While exposing the bone is still done, adding the frilled papers is rarely done anymore.

Commonly Frenched Meats

The most common examples of frenched meat can be found in a crown roast, whether it is beef, pork or lamb, whose rib ends are scraped clean of all meat, fat, and sinew. The ribs are then formed into a circle or crown shape and sewn together with butcher's twine, so it stands up. Frequently, the interior of the "crown" is stuffed with a savory bread dressing.

Recipes Using the Bone-Frenching Technique

Pork, beef, and lamb are the most commonly seen proteins given the bone-frenching technique, but it certainly will work with venison and other game meat, and any non-poultry item with ribs.

  • Roast rack of pork: This frenched rib roast is made from a bone-in center-cut loin of pork. It makes a spectacular presentation for a special dinner.
  • Dutch pork rib roast: This Dutch-inspired pork roast with vegetables is made with the first six ribs from the shoulder—the juiciest cut.
  • Tomahawk steak: The bone-end of this beef rib-eye steak (also known as a cowboy steak) is frenched giving it the appearance of a tomahawk or ax. This typically large, tender cut makes a wonderful presentation.

Frenching Technique Used on Other Foods

It's not only bones that are given the frenching technique. Frenching also means cutting food in a certain way to ensure that the food cooks faster and more evenly in addition to looking attractive when it is presented.

Two classically frenched vegetables are green beans and potatoes or fries. This means they are cut into long, thin strips, also known as a julienne cut. 

Vegetable Recipes Using the Frenching Technique

Since frenching green beans, or haricots verts as they are known in French, is no easy task, a tool called a bean frencher exists for just this purpose. Otherwise, simply doing your best with a chef's knife or a food processor is the way to go.

  • French-style green beans with almonds: This is a fairly simple recipe that calls for a quick cook in salted water and then mixing with almonds that have been toasted in a small amount of oil or butter as you prefer. 
  • Sweet potato fries: Sweet potatoes are peeled, julienned and baked for a lower calorie load than frying them. You can kick their naturally sweet flavor up a notch by sprinkling with a bit of cayenne or chili pepper.
  • Regular French fries: If standard-issue is more your thing, these step-by-step instructions give you the know-how to take your spuds from starchy white to golden, crispy fries.