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The Cuts

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It is imperative when trying to sell cuts (to a greater extent retail cuts as opposed to wholesale cuts) that both the farmer and his/her customer are in complete understanding of the product. What exactly does the customer want when he says, “I’ll take a steak.”? As a salesperson, the producer must be able to identify the cuts. Standardized industry cutting charts follow on the next few pages. Farmer-marketers should learn them.

It is also beneficial to be able to make recommendations on how to cook the various cuts. Grass fed meats tend to be lean. Proper cooking techniques must be used to ensure tenderness. When in doubt, grass-fed meats should be cooked low, slow, and moist; never allowing them to dry out.

It also helpful to know the which muscle cuts are tender (prime) and which are tough and how to cook each of these. It is easy to remember that the more a muscle is worked, the tougher it is (think about necks, shoulders and shanks). Prime, tender cuts can be, broiled, grilled, roasted, fried or sautéed. The meat should be cooked quickly over a very high heat, then removed and allowed to rest. The high protein/low fat content allows the meat to finish cooking during this rest period. Basting or barding should be practiced when dry roasting. Less tender cuts are an excellent alternative in soups, stews, casseroles and stir-fries where they can be braised, stewed or sautéed to maintain tenderness. Try using broth, wine, fruit or vegetable juice or spring water with a crock-pot, Dutch oven, or covered casserole.

Butchering Step By Step

There are many good resources to help farmers who are butchering livestock and poultry for their own use. This information is outside the scope of this resource guide. Rather we have decided to include here a few good examples of these types of resources available to those interested.

Home Processing of Poultry by Melvin L. Hamre University of Minnesota Extension
http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/poultry/home-processing-of-poultry/

Home Slaughtering and Processing of Beef by Harold R. Hedlick and William C. Shingel
Department of Food Science and Nutrition AND Maurice Alexander Department of Animal Husbandry, College of Agriculture
http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2047/ANSI-3400web.pdf

Home Slaughtering and Processing of Pork by Maurice Alexander, Department of Animal Husbandry; and William C. Stringer and Harold B. Hedrick, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agriculture University of Missouri. Published by Oklahoma State University Distributed Through County Extension Offices No. 3670
http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/resources/uploaded_files/Home%20Slaughtering%20and%20Processing%20of%20Pork.pdf/

A Step-by-Step Guide to Butchering a Lamb Carcass, The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2008/nov/19/foodanddrink?picture=339595404

Cutting Meat, by G. H. Wellington http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/3221/2/Cutting%20Meat.pdf

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Industry Cutting Charts

USDA Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications

Fresh Goat Series 11

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