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Philadelphia Method Of Meat Cutting

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Philadelphia and vicinity have a method of meat cutting all their own Retailers claim that it is most difficult to try and break away from this tradition, or of educating the public to other cuts which are more generally used throughout the United States.

Investigations disclose the fact that this style of cutting is traceable to traditions and has been used in Philadelphia and vicinity, as far back as leading retailers there can remember. They believe it to be traceable to the early Pennsylvania Dutch and Quaker settlers.

About 30 miles away from Philadelphia, in Trenton, New Jersey, however, one does not find this style of cutting, but there the method of cutting is practically the same as in Greater New York. The typical Philadelphia style of cutting is as follows :

The loin is separated from the hindquarter by starting to cut at the soft end of the hip bone, so that there is really no saw required to separate the loin and the round. But instead of cutting straight through, the loin is cut off at an angle of considerable degree. This loin being cut at such a slant shows very large steaks with proportionately large tenderloins. The flank is usually cut large and the flank steaks taken out. The thick part of the flank is called "top sirloin" and is indicated in the illustration as No. 6. This must not be confused, however, with the cut called "top sirloin" or "sirloin tip" as it is called elsewhere. After the loin and the flank have been taken off the there really remains a very large round.

Comparing this to other methods of meat cutting, the round really has the greatest percentage of the upper parts or sirloin steaks left on it. The round is now cut across diagonally, and a very large rump cut off. This is shown in figure 3. Cut No. 4 is called the "pin-hone" roast, and is typical of Philadelphia, as it is hardly known elsewhere. The rump is cut partly into steaks and is also sold as rump oven roast. Another cut is the "veiny" cut used for pot roast. This is, in reality, the greater part of what is called in Greater New York, the "top sirloin" and elsewhere "sirloin tip." The round is boned entirely and top round sold for steaks and the bottom round for pot or oven roast.


The forequarter is also cut up entirely different from the style used elsewhere in the United States. Eight ribs are cut out for rib roasts. No. 2 is the plate and is sold for soup or stew meat. The end of the brisket, No. 5, is usually rolled and sold either for boiling meat or for pot roast and is called rolled brisket. The five rib chuck has usually the plate bone taken out, fat inserted in place of the plate bone, and this is tied and rolled, and these roasts are sold either as pot roasts or oven roasts.

One part of the chuck, however, is called the "top muscle" roast. In New York, this usually called the top chuck. The shoulder part of the forequarter is cut up as indicated by cut No. 9. The foreshank shoulder meat is taken off very close to the bone, and is rolled and sold as "rolled shoulder," to be used for pot roasting or boiling. The cut between the shoulder and the chuck is sold as a cross cut roast and the remaining part of the shoulder is called the "Bolar roast." This "Bolar' cut is scarcely found anywhere outside of Philadelphia.

The neck is usually boned, rolled, and sold as stew meat or boiling meat, Therefore, the meat cutter in Philadelphia must be familiar with such names as "Veiny" roasts, "Bolar" roasts, "Top muscle" roasts, "Pin-bone" roasts and "Rump" steaks. To the average retailer, this type of meat cutting may be confusing, if he is not familiar with it.

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