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Beef Cutting Methods

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Wholesale and Retail Cuts of Beef

There are certain standard cuts of beef which are known in practically all parts of the United States. Beef rounds, loins and ribs may be considered standard names. There is, however, such a variety of names as they apply to retail cuts to be too numerous to mention. Quite frequently progressive retailers invent names for certain cuts of meat which may be known only in their particular locality.

Therefore, the knowledge of various names for the same retail cut of beef or any other meat is really of no benefit to the retailer. A Swiss steak, oyster steak, or a Princess steak may be considered a name of value to a retailer in a certain locality, but the knowledge of such locally used names is of no particular benefit to the retail meat industry in general.

The standard definitions for wholesale cuts of beef are contained in Circular No. 300 of the United States Department of Agriculture, which divides the carcass into the following wholesale cuts :

Full Loin—The standard full loin from a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass equals 20.5% of the carcass weight. The cut extends from the round and rump to the point of severance of the hindquarter from the forequarter and includes one rib. It also includes the kidney knob (kidney and surrounding fat), but not the flank. Full loins are subdivided into loin ends and short loins. The loin end is the rump end of the full loin and comprises about one-third the length of the latter cut. The short loin extends from the loin end to the rib and comprises about two-thirds the length of the full loin. The kidney and most of the surrounding suet is trimmed off the short loin by the wholesaler.

Flank—Flank from a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass represents 3.5% of the carcass weight, when cut according to the Chicago method.

Round and Rump—In the Chicago method of cutting, the standard round and rump, including the shank, of a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass represents 24% of the carcass weight.

Rib—The rib from a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass constitutes 9.5% of the carcass weight. The cut includes parts of seven ribs, from the twelfth to the sixth, inclusive.

Chuck—The chuck of a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass rep-resents 22% of the carcass weight. The cut includes parts of five ribs, and the neck.

Plate—The plate of a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass represents 8.5% of the carcass weight. The cut includes parts of seven ribs.

Brisket—The brisket of a No. 2 or good steer beef carcass represents 6.5% of the carcass weight. The cut includes the breast bone and the tip ends of five ribs.

Foreshank—The fore shank is removed from the forequarter at the shoulder joint. The cut constitutes 5.5% of the carcass weight.

Wholesale cuts of beef which are not recognized by the Chicago method of cutting, but which are common in some markets, are "rattles", "cross cuts", "fans", and "backs". These are all parts of the forequarter. A "rattle" ordinarily includes the chuck, plate, brisket and shank, and comprises all of the forequarter except the rib. "Triangle" is another term used to designate the same thing. In Boston, however, the term "rattle" includes only the plate, brisket, and shank, excluding the chuck and rib. A "cross cut" includes the chuck, brisket and shank.

It differs from the ordinary rattle only in that the plate is not included. A "fan" includes the rib and the plate in one piece. A "back" consists of the chuck and rib in one piece.

In addition to the above wholesale cuts there are a great many other beef cuts and products handled which are sold by the meat packer:

Tenderloin—The part which lies against the chine bone on the inside of the loin. It constitutes about 12% of the weight of the loin, is a very tender, choice piece of meat and high in selling value.

Sirloin Butt—Is the loin end boned.

Sirloin Strip—Is produced from the short loin by leaving all the bone in except a small portion of the chine bone.

Spencer Roll—(Beef ribs). Is made by raising the blade bone and removing the top covering or fell from that end of the roll.

Regular Roll—Is produced from the lighter ribs by removing the blade bone and the entire top covering.

Beef Flanks—Make up about 17% of the whole flank.

Beef Backs—Is the square cut chuck and a 7 bone rib in one piece.

Boneless Chuck—Is the square cut chuck, and is usually used for sausage.

Beef Clods—Is the choice, meaty part of the chuck taken from directly under the shoulder blade.

Short Rib—Is made by cutting about 4 inches from the rib side of the navel end.

Rump Butt—Is the rump taken from the round, and contains a small percentage of the tail bone.

Beef Hams—Insides, outsides and knuckles—are made by boning the rump and shank.

Hind Shanks—May be sold on the round, but when sold separately are also used for soup stock.

Beef Skirts—Are the fleshy part of the diaphragm, and are used for steaks.

Hanging Tenders—These are cut about 6 inches long, and average about two pounds in weight. While somewhat fibrous, are good for trade desiring relatively cheap, lean meat.

Beef Necks—Are the part down to the third cervical vertebrae, and make fine stew meat.

Bull Meat—Consists of entire carcass boned out, excepting the tenderloin and suet. Used for sausage.

Cow Meat—Is the entire carcass boned, excepting tenderloin and suet. Used for sausage.

Beef Cheek Meat—This is classed as trimmed, or No. 1 stock, and untrimmed, or No. 2 stock, and is used for sausage purposes.

Weasand Meat—(Beef and Pork). Trimmings from the weasands, and used for sausage.

Beef Shank Meat—Is the part taken from fore and hind shanks. It is used for sausage and canning purposes.

Beef Trimmings—Are the small bits made while making up the choice cuts of beef—and are used for sausage and hamburger steak.

Beef Melts—Are used for food purposes—also quite extensively by sausage manufacturers and fish hatcheries.

Beef Hearts—Ordinarily come split and with fat removed. Are used by retailers and sausage and mince meat manufacturers.

Ox Tails—Are used extensively by large soup manufacturers, hotels, and restaurants, as well as the retail trade.

Beef Tripe—Is used for food purposes, as well as in the manufacture of sausage.

Beef Tripe (honeycomb)—Same as regular tripe, except is of a honeycomb texture.


Brisket Fat—Taken off brisket and off plate. Used for sausage.

Beef Suet (with kidney)—Consists of the entire kidney fat from the dressed carcass, containing the kidney, and weighs from 5 to 8 pounds.

Beef Suet (without kidney)—Same as above, with kidney re-moved.

Beef Cauls—Are the fine, lacey fats which cover the viscera, and are used same as regular suet.

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