How to Butcher a Cow: Every Beef Cut Explained (19 minutes, well spent) +Bonus pig video.

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
Here’s a great video from Bon Appétit, which gives you a real insight into the skill and knowledge required to butcher a whole cow.

In it, Jason Yang of Fleishers Craft Butchery sets to work on a side of beef, breaking down each of the four sections – round, loin, rib and chuck – into their constituent cuts. He covers almost all the cuts you can take from a cow.

It’s a fascinating process. Whether you’re a professional chef or an enthusiastic home cook it’s great to know where the cuts come from on the animal and the work it takes to get to them. It’s the kind of knowledge that will help you pick the right cuts for whatever you're cooking next time you’re at the butcher’s too.

And, it’s great to see a real master at work. The speed and dexterity with which he butchers the animal is amazing to watch, plus that’s one sharp knife. It’s a longish video, but well worth watching to the end.

Take a look below and also, check out this infographic detailing 60 different beef cuts and how to cook them for more.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrOzwoMKzH4




 

KFhunter

Veteran Member
Without a meat saw, you're kinda limited.

I've been kinda halfast looking for one.
Naw, meat saws add heat and bone dust.

I would reccomend not using a saw if for home foodie work

If just to fill the freezer a hand saw is fine, they're cheap and I put a lot of pork, venison and beef in the freezer with 3 knives and a hand saw.


But no, I would give up my band saw lol
 

Murt

Veteran Member
I would like a meat saw too
but for now it is just a hand saw and a battery powered sawzall
 

hiwall

Veteran Member
The first ever deer I butchered was a real "butcher" job. I had no idea what I was doing. I de-boned all the meat and cut the meat up into usable pieces. That was it. No chops or steaks just hunks of meat.
But it was done quickly and scraps ground into burger. We ate all the meat and there were no issues. I have since learned many things from cutting up many more deer.

What I am really saying is "do not be afraid of doing it yourself". Yes your meat might get cut up at weird angles and into unknown pieces. You likely will have more scrap pieces that can be stew meat or burger. But you will still have the meat and it will be just as edible as if a full-time butcher cut it up. And you can learn by doing. Better to do it yourself than not have any meat at all.
 

Ractivist

Pride comes before the fall.....Pride month ended.
I ran a bow shop for twenty some years. I always told the hunters they should process their deer. It was a no brainer. Two to three hours of your time and you have all your meat in gallon bags, boned out. Nothing fancy, no real processing outside of butchering. And have I got a killer marinade to take all that chunk meat to the max. It's primo on the taste buds.... why spend three four hundred dollars on your deer, meat you own, and change it into something else, like sticks, sausages...., jerky, brats, etc.... take that three hundred, go to the grocery store and stock up on beef, pork and chicken.....now I process deer for those same hunters.

I've come to learn guys like the fancy cuts, sticks, sausage and the "above all", try some of my deer I shot. Or they give it away or eat it during the hoidays.. It's more of a mental thing...to some. To others, they know how good deer sticks can be, deer summer sausage, etc..they pay prime, but they do get prime.

So, my killer marinade is so easy to remember. Based on the quantity of meat.

It's one part terriyaki, two parts soy, four parts oil, eight part water and a little lemon pepper to taste...teaspoon ish.

A cup of terry, two cups soy, four cups oil, eight cups water....refrigerate, stir occasionally, let a day pass if you can. Cubed meat hot off the grill, medium to rare. Never overcook venison, it ruins it. Gotta like it red.

As a guy who processes deer now....I get it...going into the future, you ought to learn how to bone out a critter.

It's easy, it's a no brainer really.

First thing is to always remove the gut and cavity. Let the cool air in as fast as possible. That heat will rot the meat.

From there it's just a matter of following the bones. A hand grinder, a sharp knife, and some seasoning with some fire makes life quite good. If it gets bad, just cook the rats whole and avoid the guts...if you're in a hurry.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
Gads.

My first qualifying question is always.. "Got a front end loader?".

I could cut up, debone (if nothing else) and make nice little white packages of damned near any beast that ever walked the planet...but skinning, dressing, then handling a whole, to half or even down to a quarter of beef is heavy work. Geez...any idea how much just the guts out of a beef weigh? Better have the right "tools" at hand. For me...front end loader or I'm staying home. ;)
 
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WalknTrot

Veteran Member
I ran a bow shop for twenty some years. I always told the hunters they should process their deer. It was a no brainer. Two to three hours of your time and you have all your meat in gallon bags, boned out. Nothing fancy, no real processing outside of butchering. And have I got a killer marinade to take all that chunk meat to the max. It's primo on the taste buds.... why spend three four hundred dollars on your deer, meat you own, and change it into something else, like sticks, sausages...., jerky, brats, etc.... take that three hundred, go to the grocery store and stock up on beef, pork and chicken.....now I process deer for those same hunters.

I've come to learn guys like the fancy cuts, sticks, sausage and the "above all", try some of my deer I shot. Or they give it away or eat it during the hoidays.. It's more of a mental thing...to some. To others, they know how good deer sticks can be, deer summer sausage, etc..they pay prime, but they do get prime.

So, my killer marinade is so easy to remember. Based on the quantity of meat.

It's one part terriyaki, two parts soy, four parts oil, eight part water and a little lemon pepper to taste...teaspoon ish.

A cup of terry, two cups soy, four cups oil, eight cups water....refrigerate, stir occasionally, let a day pass if you can. Cubed meat hot off the grill, medium to rare. Never overcook venison, it ruins it. Gotta like it red.

As a guy who processes deer now....I get it...going into the future, you ought to learn how to bone out a critter.

It's easy, it's a no brainer really.

First thing is to always remove the gut and cavity. Let the cool air in as fast as possible. That heat will rot the meat.

From there it's just a matter of following the bones. A hand grinder, a sharp knife, and some seasoning with some fire makes life quite good. If it gets bad, just cook the rats whole and avoid the guts...if you're in a hurry.
Haha, It comes down to: At least half of deer hunters don't/won't eat their venison. That's why they want sausage, sticks, jerky, etc. It costs big bucks for the custom work, but at least the meat gets eaten, or given away. Wives won't cook it "because it stinks". Partially because the guys don't know or care to clean and get the thing taken care of in a timely manner, and partially because they don't know how to cook it.

I totally agree about deboning. Anybody can do it with a good sharp knife. I still have my Dad's meat saw, and that is handy for splitting carcasses in half, quartering, or making a few bone-in roasts, but to cut steaks, chops, stew and burger meat...not even close to rocket science.
 

hiwall

Veteran Member
My first qualifying question is always.. "Got a front end loader?".
Hanging your animal does make it easier to skin but not required. I have never done a cow but I did the full-sized bull moose I shot. Skun it on the ground with no problems. And I have skun many deer on the ground.
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
Hanging your animal does make it easier to skin but not required. I have never done a cow but I did the full-sized bull moose I shot. Skun it on the ground with no problems. And I have skun many deer on the ground.
If a person can utilize gravity, it's always helpful! :) (This coming from a lady hunter who naturally doesn't have all of the strength guys have.) I've gutted many deer in the field (never skinned them there because the skin keeps the meat clean on the drag back) but even when gutting, I try to position on a slight hill or a ditch to help roll away the blood and innards. The beauty of doing that in the field is you can leave the gut-pile where it sits.
 

NoDandy

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Thanks for posting Millwright ! Useful info !

My grandfather was a 1st class butcher. Unfortunately, as a kid, I learned nothing about it from him. I regret to this day that I did not learn anything from him.

Thanks again. I will bookmark this page for future reference !!
 

alpha

Veteran Member
For whatever it's worth, I just returned from my local dairy farm where I buy a few gallons of whole milk every few days.
As I was filling my bottles from the chiller, the farmer came rushing out from the parlor and told me to hurry up because the tank is almost ready to overflow! Sure as the dickens... seconds later it did - all running into the drain.
During our discussion I learned that the distributors are limiting how much milk they'll pick up from each farm so they have to dump the remainder. Further discussion relative to current conditions led to my being told that he was getting merely 2 to 20 cents per pound (live weight) for his retired cows net at auction!

Needless to say, I asked if I could buy one from him... He offered me one every week if desired. I'm having one harvested into ground beef right now, on farm, for $1.00 per pound (hanging weight) total cost, delivered freezer ready!
There's no reason to not take advantage of this windfall while helping your local farms!!!
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
Gads.

My first qualifying question is always.. "Got a front end loader?".

I could cut up, debone (if nothing else) and make nice little white packages of damned near any beast that ever walked the planet...but skinning, dressing, then handling a whole, to half or even down to a quarter of beef is heavy work. Geez...any idea how much just the guts out of a beef weigh? Better have the right "tools" at hand. For me...front end loader or I'm staying home. ;)
Front end loader, check.

When do you want to start? :D

This situation has me thinking about improving our meat handling capabilities. We do a few deer every fall and chickens, rabbits, etc. DW found one of those band saw/grinder combos for $75, someone cleaning out an estate. I picked up a stainless steel table on an auction. But it sure would be nice to have a walk in cooler. Our old milk room off the barn is where we do most of our processing, but it has a low ceiling, not ideal for hanging.

We have a reefer trailer that we picked up to store DW's beekeeping equipment. It still has the reefer unit on it. Been thinking maybe I should try and fire it up and see if it works!
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Just don't expect old dairy cow (even as hamburger, and that's really all their good for) to taste like *good* beef. We ate it for many years, but we'd pick out a 2 year old who didn't produce enough, or occasionally a yearling heifer who didn't conceive, and we'd feed cornmeal to fatten them up a little gor the last month.

Even so, when we started eating our Dexter beef, we were stunned at the difference.

I thank God every day for forcing us out of milking cows when He did!

Summerthyme
 

WalknTrot

Veteran Member
Front end loader, check.

When do you want to start? :D

This situation has me thinking about improving our meat handling capabilities. We do a few deer every fall and chickens, rabbits, etc. DW found one of those band saw/grinder combos for $75, someone cleaning out an estate. I picked up a stainless steel table on an auction. But it sure would be nice to have a walk in cooler. Our old milk room off the barn is where we do most of our processing, but it has a low ceiling, not ideal for hanging.

We have a reefer trailer that we picked up to store DW's beekeeping equipment. It still has the reefer unit on it. Been thinking maybe I should try and fire it up and see if it works!
Yep, we always thought longingly about a band saw, but doing mostly venison, after CWD scare, figured to just go to the de-boning process.
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
Yep, we always thought longingly about a band saw, but doing mostly venison, after CWD scare, figured to just go to the de-boning process.
For sure. We've always de-boned deer, more tastier that way. We feed our dogs raw stuff sometimes, the only thing the band saw has been used for so far is making meal size portions of 'stuff' for the dogs.
 

KFhunter

Veteran Member
Just don't expect old dairy cow (even as hamburger, and that's really all their good for) to taste like *good* beef. We ate it for many years, but we'd pick out a 2 year old who didn't produce enough, or occasionally a yearling heifer who didn't conceive, and we'd feed cornmeal to fatten them up a little gor the last month.

Even so, when we started eating our Dexter beef, we were stunned at the difference.

I thank God every day for forcing us out of milking cows when He did!

Summerthyme

We prefer old cows for hamburger. I've been thinking about switching to dexters, currently run angus/hereford crosses but they're a bit big to handle in my setup. The last one I butchered was a 1350lb steer and it was about all my loader wanted as it swung around hanging on the end of a hay spike. It was too tall for my shop door so I had to tie the head up to my brush guard to "angle" the steer under the door. It worked, I got it done, but was just a pain for at home butchering, and difficult for one person to handle as my help has left the nest lol

Not to mention just working them by myself. I sometimes miss a bull calf because I have a full time job and those things hit the ground running, I got a 2 day window to band them and if the momma cow is protective it gets interesting.


I was one of those guys who scoffed at small cattle, but now I see and think I'll go that route soon. Old range cows are a pain in the butt, be nice to walk up and be able to scratch them.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Yeah... a Dexter steer that hangs at around 350# is perfect... sirloin steaks are a nice meal, not enough for three people! And their temperaments in general, WITH HANDLING, are great. I hand milked a 2 year old heifer who had barely been touched before she calved... the calf ( very unusually for a Dexter) was slow getting started, an I needed to get colostrum into her. It was 10 below zero, and midnight... I really didn't want to wake up hubby! So, I decided to see how she'd act. She stood there like an old Bossie who had been milked for years! I fed the calf, set up a heat lamp and blankets. The cow thoroughly inspected the setup, then carefully laid down as close as she could get. By the next morning, the calf wss bouncing all over...

As far as hamburger, "old cow" burger is the best stuff out there. But most "spent" dairy cows don't have enough fat on them for flavor. The best hamburger we ever had was from a 3 year old Decxter who went feral... she could jump 4 foot fences wearing hobbles on her front legs, and a nose ring and 3 foot chain! We really thought we were going to have to shoot her in the woods and butcher her on the farm. Crazy cow! But fat as butter frm free ranging all winter (we never could figure out how she grazed through 4 feet of snow!), and it was delicious, full flavored ground beef. We have customers who still ask if we have any "old cow" beef!

Summerthyme
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
You can get the chicom specials for 300-400bux.

Problem is, the throat is only about 9" deep.

I don't think you could split a big pig down the spine with that.

Used commercial ones start at about $1 large, for a Hobart or equivalent with a 15" throat.
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
Hanging your animal does make it easier to skin but not required. I have never done a cow but I did the full-sized bull moose I shot. Skun it on the ground with no problems. And I have skun many deer on the ground.
I did this on moose I shot up in the Boundary Waters. It was seven miles in as the crow files, 6 portages. We boned it all out. It's an expedient way to get it done.

Here's a decent example. Run time 10:29

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOJ2u5V-6q4
 
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