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Standard Wholesale Cuts Of Beef

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

All beef carcasses are divided, or split, into sides of nearly equal weight, as a part of the dressing operation, and are sent to the refrigerating rooms, which are known as "chill" rooms, "boxes," or "coolers." The right side of the carcass is known as the "closed side," because the suet around the kidney is firmly and snugly attached to the inner curvature of the loin near the backbone and can not be removed without danger of injuring the tenderloin or "fillet." The left side is called the "open side" because the ball, or lower end, of the kidney knob' hangs free and can be removed easily with a knife. The "open" side is about 1 per cent heavier than the "closed" side.

As a part of the dressing operations, after carcasses are split into sides, a sawtooth instrument, or "scribe," is drawn heavily across the chine bones, which saws them partly through. The bones are then cracked by driving the ends backward. The operation tends to broaden the "eye" of the rib, and adds to convenience in handling the carcass. This is known as "scribing."

Comparatively few carcasses are offered to the trade in the side, most of them being divided into "fores" and "hinds," or forequarters and hindquarters. This quartering act is known as "ribbing," because the line of severance is determined by the ribs. Methods of quartering differ according to local trade customs, the number of ribs left on the hindquarter varying from none to five.

The so-called "Chicago method," which is the most prevalent, leaves one rib on the hindquarter. One or more ribs on the hindquarter serve to hold the flank distended, give the hind a full or rounded appearance in the region of the flank, and facilitate the circulation of air over the inner walls.

The method of "breaking up" or subdividing the quarters into wholesale cuts of primary parts also differs according to local trade customs. Variations often are so great that no comparison can be made satisfactorily with reference to relative yields, values, or prices, of either the wholesale cuts or the retail cuts derived from them. For instance, the flank is left on the round in some cities, on the loin in others, and is entirely removed in others. Other variations are frequent. Many of them are apparent in the tables which follow showing the percentage relation of the primary parts to the carcass according to the methods of cutting in certain cities where tests were made. The Western, or Chicago, method of cutting is more generally used than any other, and therefore in the following discussion that method of cutting is understood unless otherwise specified.

'Tenderloin should not be confused with the coarse muscle of the diaphragm often left hanging in the carcass and generally referred to as "the hanging tender." 4 The kidney with its surrounding fat, or suet, is known as the "kidney knob."

In the Chicago method, sides are quartered in such a way as to leave about 48% of the weight in the hindquarter and 52% in the forequarter. The loin, round, rump, shank, and flank are obtained from the hindquarter, whereas the rib, chuck, plate, brisket, and foreshank or shin come from the forequarter. Some of these cuts, especially the loin and the chuck, often are further subdivided. Among the cuts of local significance, particularly in eastern markets, are "cross cuts" (chuck, brisket, and shin), rattles or triangles (chuck, plate, brisket, and shin), and backs (chucks and ribs). In Boston, the rattle includes only the plate, brisket, and shin. Such terms of local significance generally are confusing to the trade in other localities where the peculiar significance given those terms is unknown, and render price comparisons impracticable.

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