Beef - Meat Cuts Manual

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Table of Contents

Beef - Diagram of meat cuts

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Diagram of meat cuts of a beef. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of meat cuts of a beef

This diagram shows the meat cuts from a piece of beef. The Hind Quarter consists of the Hip, the Loin and the Flank.

  • The Hip consists of the following cuts:
    • Shank
    • Heel of Round
    • Round - which consists of Inside Round, Outside Round, Eye of Round
    • Rump
    • Siroin Tip
  • The Loin consists of the following cuts:
    • Sirloin
    • Short Loin - which consists of Porterhouse, Tenderloin, Strip Loin, T-Bone, and Wing

    The Front Quarter consists of Rib, Chuck, Shank, Brisket, Full Brisket, and Plate.

  • The Rib consists of the following cuts:
    • Prime Rib
    • Short Ribs
    • Rib Eye
  • The Chuck consists of the following cuts:
    • Blade
    • Cross Rib
    • Neck
    • Shoulder
  • The Plate consists of Short Ribs.
  • Alternative Chuck cuts consist of the following:
    • Blade
    • Chuck Short Rib
    • Neck
    • Shoulder

Beef - Skeletal diagram

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Skeletal diagram of a beef. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of Meat Cuts - Beef Skeletal Diagram

This diagram shows the skeletal view of a piece of beef.

The Beef consists of:

  • Tail Bones
  • Sacrum
  • Back Bones (lumbar vertebrae 1-6)
  • Back Bones (thoracic vertebrae 1-13)
  • Neck Bones (cervical vertebrae)
  • Atlas Joint (1st cervical vertebra)
  • Carpal Joint
  • Foreshank Bones (radius)
  • Arm Bone (humerus)
  • Elbow Joint
  • Blade Bone (scapula)
  • Elbow Bone (ulna)
  • Shoulder Joint
  • Ridge of Blade Bone
  • Breast Bone (sternum)
  • Blade Bone Cartilage
  • Ribs 1-13
  • Rib Cartilage
  • Pin Bone (ilium)
  • Rump Knuckle Bone (head of femur/acetabulum)
  • Flank Lymph Node (prefemoral)
  • Aitch Bone (ischium)
  • Leg Bone (femur)
  • Knee Cap (patella)
  • Stifle Joint (tibio-femoral articulation)
  • Hind Shank Bone (tibia)
  • Tarsal Joint

Meat Cut Nomenclature and Description

  1. BEEF: is meat derived from dressed carcasses of bovine animals having a warm weight of 160 kgs or more. It may be derived from male or female animals or from steers.
  2. DRESSED BEEF CARCASS: means a beef carcass from which the skin, head, developed mammary glands and the feet at the carpal and tarsal joints have been removed and the carcass has been eviscerated and split.
  3. BEEF SIDE: means one (1) of the two (2) approximately equal portions of a DRESSED BEEF CARCASS obtained by cutting from the tail to the neck along the median line.
  4. FRONT QUARTER: means the anterior portion of the BEEF SIDE which is separated from the HIND QUARTER by a cut passing between the 12th and 13th rib.

Front quarter

4.1 CHUCK (SQUARE CUT CHUCK): means that portion of the FRONT QUARTER which is separated from the RIB, PLATE, BRISKET and SHANK by two (2) straight cuts at right angle to each other. The first cut passes between the 5th and 6th rib and separates the CHUCK, BRISKET and SHANK from the RIB and PLATE. The second cut passes at a point slightly above (dorsal to) the elbow joint (distal extremity of the humerus) and through the cartilaginous juncture of the first (1st) rib and sternum, and separates the CHUCK from the BRISKET and SHANK.

Square cut chuck

4.1.1 SHOULDER CLOD: means that large muscle mass of the CHUCK which lies outside (lateral side) of the blade bone and ventral to the ridge of the blade bone extending from the shoulder joint to the tip of the blade bone cartilage. It is obtained by two (2) main straight cuts approximately parallel to each other. The first cut passes along the ventral side of the ridge of the blade bone and the other over the ribs.

Shoulder clod

4.1.1.1 TOP BLADE: means the portion of the SHOULDER CLOD including the muscles infraspinatus, triceps brachii and deltoideus found outside (lateral side) of the blade bone (scapula).

Top blade

4.1.1.2 TOP BLADE PORTION: means that round shaped muscle (supraspiratus) of the BLADE which lies outside (lateral of side) of the blade bone (scapula) and dorsal to the ridge of the blade bone OR the infraspiratus muscle which lies outside of the blade bone and ventral to the ridge of the blade bone. They are separated from the blade bone and adjacent muscles through natural seams.

Top blade

4.1.2 BLADE: means that portion of the CHUCK which is separated from the NECK, CROSS RIB and SHOULDER by two (2) straight cuts at right angles to each other. The first cut passes at a point slightly in front of (anterior to) the shoulder joint and the anterior tip of the blade bone (scapula) thereby separating the NECK and SHOULDER from the BLADE and CROSS RIB. The second cut passes through the interior edge of the seventh (7th) neck bone (cervical vertebra) and through the blade bone (scapula) separating the NECK from the SHOULDER and the BLADE from the CROSS-RIB.

NOTE: The blade may contain small portions of the 5th and 6th neck bones (cervical vertebrae).

4.1.2.1 BOTTOM BLADE (INSIDE BLADE): means the portion of the BLADE located inside (medial side) of the blade bone (scapula) including the muscles teres major, subscapularis and serratus ventralis.

The bottom inside blade

4.1.3 NECK: means that portion of the CHUCK that is separated from the BLADE, CROSS RIB and SHOULDER as described in item 4.1.1.

Neck

4.1.4 CROSS RIB: means that portion of the CHUCK which is separated from the BLADE, NECK and SHOULDER as described in item 4.1.1.

Cross rib

4.1.5 SHOULDER: means that portion of the CHUCK which is separated from the CROSS RIB, BLADE and NECK as described in item 4.1.1.

Shoulder

4.1.6 CHUCK SHORT RIB: is an alternative portion of the CHUCK. It is separated from the NECK and SHOULDER as described in item 4.1.1 and from the BLADE by a straight cut passing on the superior edge of the body of the 7th neck bone (cervical vertebra) and through the middle of the blade bone (scapula) and from the CROSS RIB by a straight cut passing below (ventral to) the anterior tip of the blade bone (scapula) and in proximity to the shoulder joint.

NOTE: The BLADE and CROSS RIB portions resulting from the removal of the CHUCK SHORT RIB are alternative portions of the CHUCK.

Chuck short rib

4.2 RIB (PRIMAL RIB): means that portion of the FRONT QUARTER which is separated from the CHUCK and BRISKET by a straight cut passing between the 5th and 6th rib and from the PLATE by a straight cut passing across the ribs at right angles to the first cut at a point slightly below (ventral to) the centre of the rib cage.

NOTE: This cut includes seven (7) ribs (6th to 12th inclusive) and may contain a small portion of the blade bone (scapula) and cartilage. It should not be confused with PRIME RIB, which includes 6 ribs (7th to 12th).

Primal rib

4.2.1 RIB EYE: means that boneless portion of the RIB containing the large round-shaped muscle (longissimus dorsi) located at the vertebral end of the ribs. It may contain the closely adjacent muscle, spinalis dorsi.

NOTE: The term BONELESS RIB should be used if any other muscles are present.

Rib eye

4.2.2 SHORT RIBS (SHORT BRAISING RIBS): is the rib end portion of the RIB and PLATE obtained by making a straight cut parallel and adjacent to the cut which separates the RIB from the PLATE.

NOTE: SHORT RIBS contain no rib cartilage (costal cartilage).

Short braising ribs

4.2.3 PRIME RIB: is an alternative portion of the RIB and refers to the portion containing the posterior six (6) ribs (7th to 12th inclusive).

Prime rib

4.3 PLATE: means that portion of the FRONT QUARTER which is separated from the CHUCK and BRISKET by a straight cut passing between the 5th and 6th rib and from the RIB by a straight cut passing across the ribs at right angles to the first cut at a point slightly below (ventral to) the centre of the rib cage.

Plate

4.4 BRISKET (BRISKET POINT): means that portion of the FRONT QUARTER which is separated from the PLATE by a straight cut passing between the 5th and 6th rib, from the CHUCK by a cut at a right angle to the first cut passing at a point slightly above (dorsal to) the elbow joint (distal extremity of the humerus) and from the SHANK by a cut which follows the natural contour of the elbow bone (olecranon process of the ulna).

Brisket point

4.5 FULL BRISKET (FULL PLATE): refers to the portion containing both the BRISKET and PLATE.

Full brisket

4.6 SHANK (FORESHANK): means that portion of the FRONT QUARTER which is separated from the CHUCK by a cut passing at a point slightly above (dorsal to) the elbow joint (distal extremity of the humerus) and from the BRISKET by a cut which follows the natural seam of the elbow bone (olecranon process of the ulna).

Foreshank

5. HIND QUARTER: means the posterior portion of the BEEF SIDE which is separated from the FRONT QUARTER by a cut passing between the 12th and 13th rib.

Hind quarter

5.1 FLANK: means that portion of the HIND QUARTER which is separated from the LOIN by a straight cut passing approximately parallel to the lumbar back bones (lumbar vertebrae) beginning in close proximity to or through the flank lymph node (prefermoral) and from the PLATE by a cut passing between the 12th and 13th rib and cartilage.

Flank

5.2 LOIN (LONG LOIN): means that portion of the HIND QUARTER which is separated from the FLANK as described in item 5.1, from the SIRLOIN TIP (see 5.3.5) and from the HIP by a cut which passes in front of (anterior to) the rump knuckle bone (head of the femur/acetabulum) thereby cutting the pelvic bone (os coxae) into approximately two equal parts.

Long loin

5.2.1 SHORT LOIN: means the anterior portion of the LOIN which is separated from the SIRLOIN by straight cut which passes at a point immediately in front of (anterior to) the pin bone (ilium or tuber coxae).

Short loin

5.2.1.1 PORTERHOUSE: means that portion of the SHORT LOIN which is separated from the T-BONE by a straight cut passing immediately in front of (anterior to) the tip of the gluteus medius muscle and approximately through the centre of the body of the 4th lumbar vertebra.

NOTE: PORTERHOUSE may also be referred to as T-BONE, yet T-BONE, as described, may not be referred to as PORTERHOUSE.

Porterhouse

5.2.1.2 T-BONE: means that portion of the SHORT LOIN which is separated from the PORTERHOUSE as described in item 5.2.1.1, and from the WING by a cut passing approximately through the centre of the body of the 1st lumbar vertebra and along the back (posterior) side of the last rib (13th rib).

T-bone

5.2.1.3 WING: means that portion of the SHORT LOIN which is separated from the T-BONE as described in item 5.2.1.2. It includes the 13th rib or part thereof.

Wing

5.2.1.4 TENDERLOIN: means the cylindrically shaped main muscle (psoas major and minor) located on the inside (ventral side) of the LOIN.

Tenderloin

5.2.1.5 STRIP LOIN, BONE-IN (SHELL LOIN): means that portion of the SHORT LOIN from which the TENDERLOIN has been removed. It contains portions of the abdominal muscles: obliquus abdominis externus; obliquus abdominis internus; transversus abdominis and loin muscles; gluteus medius; longissimus dorsi; and multifidus dorsi, or portions thereof.

LOIN - Cross-Section

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Strip loin, bone-in. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of the Cross-Section of a Loin

This diagram shows the cross-section of a loin.

The cross-section of a loin consists of:

  • transversus abdominis
  • Tenderloin - which consists of psoas major and psoas minor
  • multifidus dorsi
  • lumbar vertebra
  • gluteus medius
  • longissimus dorsi
  • obliquus abdominis internus
  • obliquus abdominis externus

5.2.1.6 STRIP LOIN: means that portion of the SHORT LOIN from which the TENDERLOIN and bones have been removed. It contains three (3) muscles: gluteus medius; longissimus dorsi; and multifidus dorsi, or portions thereof.

LOIN - Cross-Section
Strip loin

5.2.2 SIRLOIN: means the posterior portion of the LOIN which is separated from the SHORT LOIN by a straight cut which passes at a point immediately in front of (anterior to) the pin bone (ilium or tuber coxae).

5.2.2.1 SIRLOIN, TENDERLOIN REMOVED: means the SIRLOIN from which the TENDERLOIN is removed.

Sirloin, tenderloin removed

5.2.2.2 TOP SIRLOIN: means the dorsal portion of the SIRLOIN which includes the gluteus medius and may include the biceps femoris.

5.2.2.3 TOP SIRLOIN, CAP REMOVED (TOP SIRLOIN PORTION): means the TOP SIRLOIN from which the biceps femoris is removed.

Top sirloin

5.2.2.4 BOTTOM SIRLOIN: means the ventral portion of the SIRLOIN which includes the muscle tensor fasciae latae.

Bottom sirloin

5.3 HIP: means that portion of the HIND QUARTER which is separated from the LOIN by a straight cut which passes in front of (anterior to) the rump knuckle bone (head of the femur/acetabulum) thereby cutting the pelvic bone (os coxae) into approximately two (2) equal parts.

Hip

5.3.1 RUMP:
means that portion of the HIP which is separated from the ROUND by a straight cut passing approximately parallel and in proximity to the aitch bone (ischium) leaving no portion of the aitch bone (ischium) in the ROUND.

Rump

5.3.2 ROUND (FULL ROUND): means that portion of the HIP which is separated from the RUMP as described in item 5.3.1, from the SIRLOIN TIP by a straight cut which passes at a point in front of (anterior to) the shaft of the leg bone (femur) and from the HEEL of ROUND by a straight cut which passes through the base of the shaft of the leg bone (distal extremity of the femur). The cut may extend into the RUMP.

NOTE: The ROUND contains no part of the gastrocnemius muscle.

Full round

5.3.2.1 INSIDE ROUND: means that boneless portion of the ROUND located inside (medial side) of the leg, which is separated from the OUTSIDE ROUND by cutting lengthwise along the natural seam. The cut may extend into the RUMP. It contains four (4) muscles, namely: pectineus, adductor, gracilis and semimembranosus.

ROUND - Cross-Section

Inside round. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of a Cross-Section of an Inside Round

This diagram shows the cross-section of an inside round.

The cross-section of an inside round consists of:

  • femur
  • pectineus
  • gracilis
  • adductor
  • semimembranosus

5.3.2.2 OUTSIDE ROUND: means that boneless portion of the ROUND located outside (lateral side) of the leg, which is separated from the INSIDE ROUND as described. The cut may extend into the RUMP. It contains three (3) main muscles, namely: vastus lateralis, biceps femoris and semitendinosus. It may exclude the EYE OF ROUND (semitendinosus).

ROUND - Cross-Section

Outside round. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of a Cross-Section of an Outside Round

This diagram shows the cross-section of an outside round.

The cross-section of an outside round consists of:

  • vastus intermedius
  • vastus lateralis
  • biceps femoris
  • beceps femoris (ischiatic head)
  • semitendinosus

5.3.2.3 EYE OF ROUND: means the round shaped muscle (semitendinosus) found at the outer (posterior) extremity of the OUTSIDE ROUND and extends into the RUMP.

ROUND - Cross-Section
Eye of round - Cross-Section (semitendinous)

5.3.2.4 ROUND, EYE REMOVED: means a FULL ROUND excluding the EYE OF ROUND.

ROUND - Cross-Section
Round, eye removed

5.3.3 HEEL OF ROUND: means that portion of the HIP which is separated from the ROUND by a straight cut which passes through the base of the shaft of the leg bone (distal extremity of the femur) and from the SHANK by a straight cut passing through the stifle joint (tibio-femoral articulation).

Heel of round

5.3.4 SHANK (HIND SHANK): means that portion of the HIP which is separated from the HEEL OF ROUND by a straight cut passing through the stifle joint (tibio-femoral articulation).

Hind shank

5.3.5 SIRLOIN TIP: means that portion of the HIP obtained by a "V-shaped" cut beginning approximately at the knee cap (patella) following the full length of the leg bone (femur) up to the vicinity of the rump knuckle bone (head of femur/acetabulum) then towards the flank lymph node (prefemoral). It contains three (3) main muscles, namely: vastus lateralis, rectus femoris and vastus medialis.

Sirloin tip

5.3.5.1 EYE OF SIRLOIN TIP: means the triangular-shaped muscle (vastus lateralis) located outside (lateral side) of the SIRLOIN TIP.

5.3.5.2 SIRLOIN TIP, EYE REMOVED: means the SIRLOIN TIP excluding the EYE OF SIRLOIN TIP.

SIRLOIN TIP - Cross Section

Sirloin tip with eye in and eye removed. Description follows.
Description of photo - Diagram of a Cross-Section of a Sirloin Tip

This diagram shows the cross-section of a sirloin tip.

The cross-section of a sirloin tip consists of:

  • tensor fasciae latae
  • rectus femoris
  • vastus medialis
  • vastus lateralis
  • vastus intermedius

Variety Meats

  • Brain / Cervelle
  • Heart / Coeur
  • Kidney / Rognon
  • Liver / Fuie
  • Tail / Queue
  • Tongue / Langue
  • Tripe / Tripe
  • Suet / Suif
  • Sweetbread / Ris

SUET: means fresh fatty tissue obtained from the omentum and kidney region of a dressed beef carcass.

List of Meat Cut Modifiers

  • Bone in / de coquille
  • Boneless / Désossé
  • Butterfly (ied) / Papillon
  • Cap removed / paré
  • Delicatize(d) / Attendri(re) mécaniquement
  • Diced Beef / Boeuf en cubes
  • Kabob / brochette
  • Medallion / Médaillon
  • Minute Steak / Bifteck minute Portion / partie du
    Pot Roast / Morceau à braiser
  • Roast Beef / Rosbif
  • Rolled / Roulé
  • Semi-Boneless / Semi-désossé
  • Steak / Bifteck, steak, tranche
  • Stewing beef / boeuf à ragoût
  • Tenderize(d) / Attendri(re)
  • Tied / Ficelé
  • Tournedos / Tournedos
  • Trimmed/Paré

NOTE: While not required, these modifiers may be used to describe beef cuts provided they are informative and not misleading.