Farm Processing

Alpaca Meat - an Option

Hang the body at a height that is comfortable to work with; use sharp knives and work steadily, there is plenty of time!

Keep pulling the hide away from the body and use the knife (a curved knife is best) to cut the connecting tissue being mindful that any cuts of the hide will reduce its market value either as a wool-on hide or as processed leather.

Remove the lower legs at the hock and trim hide away from around the leg and into the belly area.

After removing the hide from the legs and opening up the front of the hide (not opening the belly please note!), trim the hide away to the sides exposing the breadth of the belly down into the undersides of the front legs.

Then pull the hide down and away from the carcass in one fluid moment. If there is any resistance carefully knuckle the skin away from the carcass with the forefinger and thumb rolling from the hide into the meat.

Remove the head at the base of the skull and cut the neck off at the shoulder—if you want to keep the neck for osso busso or some similar dish, cut the two tendons that run along the top of the neck in four or five places to allow the muscles to settle and relax. If this is not done the neck will stretch into a U shape and the musculature may be tougher than it need to be.


Open about six inches of the belly in the groin with a slicing motion, form a 'cup' with the left hand, place it in the belly area and press the open part of the 'cup' to the skin.

Place the tip of the knife in the 'cup' (with the back of the blade against the base of the thumb) and press downward with a consistent pressure until meeting the diaphragm at which point it is necessary to take the 'cup' hand away from the slit skin, allowing the knife to enter the thorax and then cutting down the cartilage between the ribs to the neck.

This is an important phase as opening the thorax to the neck allows the insides to drain during hanging and makes butchering easier later on.

Cut around the anus in a downward, slicing motion and let the stomach content fall out then cut around the diaphragm to release the lungs and heart.


This is how the carcass looks (called 'dressed') when all is done and it is ready for hanging.

Trim off all the bloody bits, hanging pieces and any hide left on the carcass, wipe it down with warm water and then wipe it down with vinegar before wrapping the entire carcass and gambrel (the 'thingy' that holds the legs apart and the carcass to whatever is providing the dressing station) in a clean muslin or calico bag which is tied off to prevent any flies or other unwanted pests to get to the meat; hang at a height and in a place where animals cannot jump or climb to get to the meat.