The Meaning of "Frenched" in Food Preparation and How to French Meats

What It Is and How to Do It

Rack of lamb on plate at family meal, close-up
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Frenched is a culinary term for the process of cutting away fat and meat from the bone end of a rib chop or steak for esthetic presentation.

In this process, the bone is scraped completely clean of meat, fat and membranes with a knife, leaving a white bone exposed that is often decorated with a "chop frill" (rack of lamb chops is a classic example) or used as a "handle" for eating an especially large chop or steak.

How to French Meats

Rack of Lamb—Frenching—or removing the meat, fat, and membranes that connect the individual rib bones—gives the rack a clean look for an elegant meal, and is a satisfying butchering technique you can do at home with a little practice.

Bone-In Pork Chops: The bone helps provide some protection from overcooking and also has some fat around it that keeps the pork juicier and tastier. Many cooks prefer the bone-in chops. The bone is frenched for presentation and to add an abundance of flavor.

Chick Breast: To french chicken breast, cut the legs from the bird and set them aside to use in another dish. Place a sharp knife onto the front end of the chicken and cut down either side of the wishbone. Discard the wishbone. Slice down either side of the breastbone and remove the chicken breasts, with the wings still attached. Trim the ends off the wings and discard. Run the knife around the end of each wing, push the flesh down to reveal some of the bone and scrape the flesh from the revealed bone. You now have a French-trimmed chicken breast.

Chicken Leg: Use the hind quarter of a chicken, remove the thigh bone and then "French" the leg bone. What results is a semi-boneless chicken leg and thigh that can then be stuffed with any number of delicious fillings and forcemeats. ​

Or, cook them and present them as "chicken lollipops" with the bone as a convenient, built-in handle. Grip the drumstick in one hand and the wing tip in the other. Bend the wing back forcefully at the joint between the drumstick and the drummette, so that the bone at the end of the drumstick pops out through the skin. Place the wing on a cutting board, and use a knife to cut through the joint between the drumstick and the drummette, fully separating them. Then, gripping the exposed bone at the end of the drumstick, push all the meat to the opposite end, to form a length of bone topped by a knob of meat.

Steak: The tomahawk is a ribeye with rib bone attached. It’s basically a cowboy steak with a longer bone. The tomahawk bone is about 20 inches long because it includes the length of bone all the way to the navel. It is then Frenched, meaning the meat is cut away to expose the bone.

Frenched Vegetables

Frenching also refers to a method of preparing vegetables, such as beans, peppers or potatoes, by cutting them into long thin strips for even cooking, also known as julienne. An example is Frenched or French green beans.