Beef Forequarter Primals and Cuts

Discussion in 'Meat Selection and Processing' started by pops6927, Feb 16, 2010.

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  1. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Here is Mr. Forequarter, divided into it's parts:

    Breaking Down The Forequarter:
    First cut is to separate whole chuck/shank/brisket section from rib/plate section, cutting through between ribs to chine, sawing chine (backbone) off and put on bandsaw. Then, slice off shank/brisket section, separating through the armpit the SHANK from the BRISKET.
    Second, cut between ARMBONE CHUCK and BLADE CHUCK, separating them.
    Third, remove rib/plate section and separate PLATE from RIB. This now separates the
    primal sections:
    Arm Chuck
    Blade Chuck
    Neck (separated by cutting off chuck roasts and steaks; it's what's left on the end).

    I will describe and try to demonstrate with pictures all the primals taken down into their separate cuts. There are 'straight cuts' and 'merchandised cuts'; i.e. further processed cuts from straight cuts to yield more profit. "Boneless, thin sliced, filleted, extra lean" are examples of further processed merchandised cuts. A good example of 'creative merchandising' is to take 93/17 ground round, roll it into a 3" tube shape roll, slice with a knife and 'crosshatch' (do a diamond pattern) on the top of each slice with the block scraper and lay out on trays and sell as 'extra lean chopped steak patties' at almost double the price of ground round. The further processed any cut of meat is, the more expensive the final cuts are going to be per pound increasing the 'yield' or profit of that primal.

    The shank, just like on the hindquarter, yeilds a knuckle soupbone and several center cut soupbone slices. Cut the knuckle in half to better expose the bone marrow; this gives maximum flavor to your soups.

    Underneath the shank is the brisket; the armpit of the steer. It has the breastbone attached to it. It can be sold bone-in in slices or boneless in slices, untrimmed or trimmed; the usual configuration is with the breastbone seamed off. There are a couple ribs that can be cut off from the breastbone section for shortribs. Untrimmed this is known as a 'packer brisket'; or a whole brisket untrimmed as it comes from the packing house. The brisket consists of two sections; the flat and the point (or deckle). There is a fat layer on the bottom and internal fat on top and inside the deckle. A good example of a trimmed brisket is flat and point cut corned beef where most all visible fat has been removed. Brisket is not case-available in many parts of the country, notably north; it is more common in southern states, but should be available to special order in most all areas and in most cases is boneless.
    Whole Packer Brisket:

    Trimmed Brisket:


    The arm chuck is the area above the shank but below the shoulder blade of the steer. It has three basic parts, the shoulder bone, shoulder clod and rib sections:

    Full cross section cut:

    Arm bone section:

    Shoulder clod roast and steak:

    Short Rib Section:

    Cut into Short Ribs:

    or sliced into short rib Flanken:

    You can purchase it whole boned out as a whole shoulder clod:

    or cut up into it's above parts. In what's called a 2 piece box chuck, you get the blade chuck with neck COV'd, and the Arm Chuck section COV'd. The Arm Chuck has short ribs attached. You detach the short ribs, cut the shoulder clod from the arm bone.
    You can cut the arm bone into the above short arm bone roast, or trim approx. ½ way into it and cut into soupbones, the trim making cube steak and stew beef, higher profit yielding cuts. The short arm bone roast is also known as a 'Crown' Roast which misimplies some sort of regal qualities; it's best suited for wet cooking as a pot roast.
    The shoulder clod section (English, Boston, Cross Cut chuck, several names) is a better roast and can be dry cooked or wet cooked, cut thick for london broil, but not pan-fried very well.
    The short rib section can be cut into individual ribs for short or long beef ribs and braised or slow cooked, or sliced into Flanken and braised; again wet cooking is better.





    (Please note; this is a work-in-progress until all cuts can be done. Please bear with me as I endeavor to complete fully. Thank you for your patience!)
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