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Slide 1 Chapter 10 Meat LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you will be able to: • Define meat inspection and meat grading. • Discuss basic guidelines for selecting, receiving, and storing meats. • Identify the primal, subprimal, and fabricated cuts of commercial meat • Define and discuss grading, preparation options and marketed forms of offal • Describe safety guidelines in the handling and fabrication of meats KEY TERMS aging bloom boxed meat collagen elastin freezer burn grading inspection market forms portion control (PC) cuts primal cuts special-fed veal subprimal cuts yield grade Few people today know where the meat they are eating comes from anymore because they buy meat that is vacuum packaged or neatly wrapped in the grocery store. The way beef is sold and used in food service today is fundamentally different from the past. Changes have been driven by industry consolidation and economics, as well as changing tastes of the guests. New demographics and social trends also play a part. Chefs with the flexibility should consider locating a supplier of “boutique” meats—heritage pork breeds, specialty beef, and local lamb and poultry. Let the guests know the stories behind what they are eating. Most guests will appreciate the “farm-to-fork” experience as well as having the opportunity to experience unique foods. Chefs, however, should know where a cut of meat is located on the animal carcass so they can determine the best method of cooking it. Beef is a complex protein with many factors affecting texture and flavor. Animal maturity, postmortem aging, and marbling are variables beyond the control of chefs. But the chef can control some variables; muscle selection, marination or mechanical tenderization, cooking method, degree of doneness, and proper carving are all discretionary. Creating ordering specifications based on controllable variables helps to ensure receipt outcomes of desired quality. Learning which cuts respond best to which cooking technique gives you the flexibility to take advantage of special seasonal offerings. Simple fabrication techniques, including trimming and cutting steaks and chops, are important skills for a professional chef. MEAT GRADING AND INSPECTION Meats are among the costliest items on the menu, but they are also one of the most potentially profitable. You must understand how to receive, store, and prepare meats properly if you are to get the most value out of them. Before fabrication, live animals are slaughtered, eviscerated, inspected, and graded. Government inspection of all meats, including game and poultry, is mandatory. Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the public health agency in the USDA, inspects all raw meat and poultry sold in interstate and foreign commerce, including imported products. The agency monitors meat and poultry products after they leave federally inspected plants. • Detection and destruction of diseased meat and/or contaminated meat • Assurance of clean and sanitary handling and preparation • Minimization of microbiological contamination of meat • Prevention of adulteration (the addition of harmful substances or products considered improper in certain specified quantities) and the presence of chemical or drug residues • Prevention of false labeling • Application of inspection insignia The federal government has jurisdiction for meat inspection if meat is to be sold in interstate or foreign commerce. State governments have jurisdiction if meat is to be sold only in intrastate commerce. However, the FSIS monitors state inspection programs; if states choose to end their inspection program or cannot maintain this standard, the FSIS must assume responsibility for inspection within the state. Inspections are performed at various times during the life span of the animal and later after butchering (both ante mortem and postmortem). Ante mortem inspection is inspection of animals before slaughter, inspected in pens on the premises, on the day of slaughter, in motion and at rest. If the animal is acceptable, it is passed for slaughter. Postmortem inspection is inspection after slaughter of the head, viscera, and carcass. Inspection proceeds simultaneously with slaughter and dressing. Inspectors look for several things. They want to be sure that animals are disease-free; that farms are operated safely, cleanly, and healthily; and that the meat produced is wholesome and fit for human consumption. MEAT GRADING AND INSPECTION Cont: The functions of meat inspection are as follows: Grading refers to eating quality, and, unlike inspection, beef grading is a completely voluntary system in Canada and the United States. Once beef has been inspected and meets safety standards, it can be graded for its eating quality. The Canadian Beef Grading System has been developed to parallel the USDA grading system. There can be great diversity among grading systems used in different countries. Some countries are not concerned about marbling, meat and fat color, or the age of the animal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA employs specific standards to assign meat grades and the USDA trains graders. Meat packagers absorb the costs associated with meat grading. The packer does not have to hire a USDA grader and instead may assign a grade based on in-house standards. But these standards must meet or exceed federal standards. However, only a USDA grader can use the USDA stamp. Meat grades are assessed based on the overall shape of the carcass, the ratio of fat to lean meat, the ratio of meat to bone, and the color of the meat. For beef only, the grader assesses the marbling of lean flesh. After meat has been inspected for wholesomeness, producers and processors may request that the products graded for quality by a licensed Federal grader. Grading of a carcass relies on a standardized measurement system which supports pricing decisions based on expectations of meat quality and yield. The grade given to a particular carcass is then applied to all the cuts from that animal. Some meats, such as beef, lamb, and mutton, receive yield grades, which are of greatest significance to wholesalers (Figure 10-2). A yield grade is a measure of the edible meat yielded from the animal. Butchers refer to this as cutability. The yield grade is a measure related to the amount of lean yield in the carcass. In the United States, the yield grade of a beef carcass is determined by placing the values of four variables into an equation MEAT GRADING AND INSPECTION 1. Amount of external fat 2. Amount of kidney, pelvic, and heart fat 3. Area of the rib eye muscle 4. Carcass weight The carcass is then assigned a yield of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, with the highest-yielding carcasses receiving the 1 grade. In Canada, three measurements are used to determine yield: 1. Rib eye length 2. Rib eye width 3. Fat depth of the rib eye These values are then inserted into a lean yield prediction equation. A yield grade of 1, 2, or 3 is assigned in accordance with the lean yield percentage calculated. As a general rule, yield grades 1 and 2 would be assigned to similar types of animals in both countries. Canada’s yield grade 3 contains animals that would primarily receive the USDA yield 3, 4, and 5 grades. MEAT GRADING AND INSPECTION Cont: Many meat packers have moved away from USDA quality grading and gone to a packer’s branding program. Branding programs are standards of quality that are developed by independent packers for use within their own organization. One packer may have many different branding programs that represent the different levels of quality of products that they produce. Among the many beef programs are Certified Angus Beef Sterling Silver Angus Pride Branding programs must register their standards of quality with the USDA and pay the USDA to monitor the programs, ensuring that the packers are meeting their own specifications. Many of these branded programs are based on rigid, specified criteria of consistent quality attributes such as grade, marbling score, aging, size ranges, breed, and external trim specifications. Because all products within the brand meet the same quality attributes, there is much less variance in the consistency of the product. The term certified represents a set of quality standards that have been verified by an independent organization such as the USDA or the Canadian Beef Grading Agency. Certified beef programs can offer a higher standard of eating quality based on specified attributes associated with the individual brand name. PACKERS’ GRADES MARKET FORMS OF MEAT In butchering a large animal, the first cuts divide it into sides, quarters, or saddles. A cut down the length of the backbone produces a side of meat. Cutting a side into two pieces creates quarters. Saddle cuts are made by cutting across the belly area at a specific point. The next step is to cut the animal into primal cuts, which also have uniform standards according to animal. Some of these primals are also market forms, and they will be shown throughout the chapter. The primal cuts of beef are the chuck, brisket and shank, rib, short plate, short loin, sirloin, flank, and round. The professional chef should have a fundamental understanding of the locations of bones when cutting or working with meats. This makes meat fabrication and carving smoother as well as increasing the processing yields. Primal cuts may be further broken down into subprimal cuts. Subprimals may be made into smaller cuts and trimmed, and then packed as food service or hotel, restaurant, and institution (HRI) cuts. Portion control (PC) cuts are individual cuts ready to cook and serve; they include steaks, chops, roasts, and ground meat). Portion control cuts require no further fabrication. Various cuts of beef may differ in name between different countries and even in different regions of the same country, so it can be confusing. For example, in the United States, the rear section of the carcass is known as the round, but in Canada, the same section is called the hip. Most operations buy boxed meat. Boxed meat is the industry term for primal and subprimal cuts of beef that are vacuum sealed and packed into boxes, then shipped for sale to restaurants, butchers, and supermarkets. Boxed meats typically require further processing before they are ready for the table. BOXED VS. HANGING MEAT In years past, meat was slaughtered, inspected, and graded in slaughterhouses before being loaded onto trucks using a system of overhead rails. The meats were sent to regional wholesale markets, where the whole carcasses or sides were broken down into primal, subprimal, and retail cuts. These cuts of meat were not vacuum-packed, and larger cuts such as sides or primal cuts hung on meat hooks during transportation and storage. Today, much of the fabrication is done at the slaughter facility. Rather than ship large cuts to an intermediary for further fabrication, the slaughterhouses now do nearly all of the fabrication. They then vacuum-pack the fabricated cuts and ship the products in boxes directly to distributors. Shipping nice square boxes is more efficient than odd-shaped and odd sized pieces of meat. One of the challenges to this practice is the inability to individually select products. At one time, butchers or chefs could go to market and hand-select the specific cuts they wanted for their establishments. Today the ability to choose is limited because of the way items are packaged. PURCHASING Many factors must be considered before a purchase decision can be made. Factors such as limited skilled labor, food safety concerns, and the ability of the operator to use all products produced from each cut of meat must be carefully analyzed. The menu should identify the equipment requirements, cooking methods, and pricing. These decisions will impact product purchasing decisions. For example, if grilled and sautéed items dominate the menu, then more tender cuts of meat should be purchased. Menu pricing dictates the type of cut and quality an operation should use for product specifications. Product specifications should also determine the forms in which the product will be purchased. Meats are purchased in a variety of forms: an entire carcass that must be completely fabricated, primal cuts, subprimal cuts, fabricated cuts, or portion control cuts. IMPS/NAMP The USDA publishes the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS), describing products customarily purchased in the food service industry. MPS identifications are illustrated and described in The Meat Buyers Guide, published by the National Association of Meat Purveyors (NAMP). The IMPS/NAMP system is widely accepted and aids in preventing miscommunication between purchasers and purveyors. Meats are indexed by a numerical system: Beef cuts are designated by the 100 series, lamb by the 200 series, veal by the 300 series, pork by the 400 series, and portion control cuts by the 1000 series. RECEIVING AND STORAGE Meats are perishable. When you receive meats, check the temperature by inserting a thermometer between packages, but do not puncture the packaging. Meats should be received at or below 41°F (5°C). Any temperature fluctuations to which the meat has been subjected can result in drying or discoloration of the meat, Be sure to look for clean, intact packaging and evidence of leakage. You may even want to check the temperature of the delivery truck as well. Under the best conditions and proper temperature, meat will keep for 3 to 5 days without noticeable loss of quality. However, variety meats, ground beef, and stew meat are highly perishable and should be used within 1 or 2 days. Fresh meats can be kept longer when held at 32°F (0°C). For longer storage, you can freeze meat. Meat freezes at 29°F (–2°C). Store it at 0°F (–18°C) or below in moisture- and vapor-resistant wrapping. To keep meats properly chilled and prevent cross-contamination, see the box titled “Guidelines for Refrigerating and Freezing Meat BEEF Cattle thrive throughout the world; there are approximately 250 recognized breeds and several hundred breeds that are not currently recognized. More than 80 recognized breeds of beef cattle are available to producers in the United States. Among them, the Angus, Charolais, and Hereford are the most popular and best known for their high muscle-to-bone ratio. Other specialty breeds, such as Kobe beef from Japan and Simmental and Limousin cattle from Europe, are becoming more readily available. Essentially four types of beef are produced by America’s beef producers– conventional, Branded, certified organic, and grass finished. There is a growing interest in animals that are certified organic, hormone free, humanely raised, and grass fed, fueled by consumer demand. The amount of exercise the muscle receives, the type of feed, and the breed of the animal influence the flavor, color, and texture of the meat. In the beef industry, the cattle that are typically used are steers (castrated males) more than a year old and non breeding heifers (female cows). Older animals, classified as bullocks or bulls, are used more for institutional and processed meats than for hotel and restaurant industry cuts. Beef cattle are raised for meat production, as distinguished from dairy cattle (cows), which are raised for milk production BEEF CARCASS A carcass is made up of four major tissues: muscle, fat, bone, and connective tissue. The chemical composition of beef muscle is 71 percent water, 22 percent protein, and 7percent fat. The proportion of fat increases and water decreases as the animal gets older. The bundles of muscle fiber that allow the animal to move and give the animal its shape are the major economic components of the beef carcass. Lean meat is composed of long, thin muscle fibers bound together in bundles These determine the texture or grain of a piece of meat. Fine-grained meat is composed of small fibers bound in small bundles. Coarse-textured meat has larger fibers. The younger animal will have finer strands of muscle fiber and is described as having a finer grain. It is necessary to understand the natural structure of the beef carcass and the muscles from which the beef cuts are produced to maximize profitability and eating quality. Each section of the beef carcass represents a unique muscle composition. The carcass can be broken into two basic muscle descriptions: locomotion muscles, consisting of the front shoulders, neck, forelegs, hind legs, and hips, which control all the movements and are the working muscles of the animal support muscles, which support the skeleton of the animal and are used less frequently. These sections would be from the sirloin, loin, and rib sections of the carcass. The bottom sirloin butt tri-tip on the left shows the dehydration and discoloration characteristic of freezer burn; the one on the right is fresh. Elastin, also part of the connective tissue, is yellowish in color and becomes thicker and more predominant in older beef, as well as in muscles that are used frequently for locomotion. Its popular name is gristle. Elastin will not break down under normal cooking conditions. Elastin needs to be removed by cutting it away or by mechanically breaking up the fibers, as in pounding and cubing, grinding (ground meat), or slicing the cooked meat very thin against the grain. Fortunately, there are relatively few elastic fibers in muscle; otherwise, cooking would do little to reduce meat toughness. The meat of locomotion muscle and in older animals tends to be tougher, but more flavorful. There are three different types of muscles: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. The skeletal muscles constitute about 40 percent of carcass weight and are the main tissues used as meat. Skeletal muscle fibers are thin and long. These long muscle fibers are held in bundles by connective tissue . Most connective tissue consists of either collagen or elastin. Collagen is a protein and appears white, thin, and semitransparent. Collagen breaks down into gelatin and water when cooked using long, slow, moist heat. Acid also helps dissolve collagen. As an animal ages, the collagen present within the muscles becomes more resistant to breaking down through moist-heat cooking. Marinating meat in an acid mixture or adding an acid such as tomato or wine to the cooking liquid helps tenderize it. Plus, meat has naturally present enzymes that help break down some connective tissue and other proteins as meat ages. BEEF CARCASS Beef Cuts The slaughtered beef carcass is split down the backbone to divide it into two sides. The sides are then divided between the 12th and 13th rib to separate the carcass into the forequarter and the hindquarter before being cut into primals. A cut between the 5th and 6th ribs separates the primal chuck from the primal rib. A cut where the pelvic bone meets the top of the femur bone separates the primal loin from the primal round. The foreshank, brisket, and plate are by-products of the fabrication of quarters into primal cuts Beef Cuts Primal cuts may be sold as is, but more often today they are broken down into subprimal or smaller cuts for the food service industry. You will also find ground and stewing beef and the parts such as the oxtail, liver, heart, tongue, and other organ meats. Some cuts are further processed into corned beef, pastrami, dried beef, and other items. The term aging simply means the length of time that beef is stored under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity before being processed into food service cuts. Aging allows naturally occurring enzymes within the meat to slowly break down some of the connective tissues that contribute to toughness. Aging has been proven to significantly increase tenderness. Beef is typically aged from 3 to 28 days from the date of production. Most of the enzyme action occurs in the first 10 to 14 days of aging. Dry-aged beef requires a minimum of 7 to 14 days or longer to age properly. Wet-aged beef can mature in as few as 7 days. After 28 days most of the natural enzyme action is complete. Aging Two Types of Aged Beef Beef can be wet aged or dry aged (Figure 10-7). Wet-aged beef is aged in vacuum packaging at 32°F to 36°F (0°C to 2°C), whereas dry aging involves aging the beef carcass in a controlled environment of humidity and temperature at 34°F to 38°F (1°C to 3°C) with an ambient humidity level adjusted between 50 and 75 percent. At one time dry-aging beef was the norm, but the advent of vacuum packaging along with increased efficiencies in beef processing and transportation has moved the industry more toward wet aging. Both methods have the same effect on tenderness. Greater moisture losses occur with dry aging, resulting in higher yield losses (shrinkage). Dry-aged beef typically shrinks 10 to 15 percent. Moisture evaporation from the muscle creates a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste. Wet aging improves tenderness, but the beef does not have the characteristic dry-aged flavor. Before cutting or trimming, a dry-aged product normally has a firm, hard surface. Because refrigerated storage is expensive, only the high-priced loin and rib cuts are aged (wet or dry). Dry-aged beef usually costs about 25 percent more than wet-aged beef. However, many chefs believe the cost is worth it. BEEF GRADES Marbling. As the carcass cools, intramuscular fat (fat between muscle fibers) becomes visible as white flecks. The size and distribution of marbling deposits has a significant impact on eating quality. Maturity. As a general rule, meat from older animals becomes tougher. Canada restricts grading to cattle verified to be 30 months or younger by dentition for export. In the United States, animals older than 30 months may be placed into the USDA Prime, Choice, and Standard grades. However, older carcasses–usually from cows and bulls–receive commercial, utility, and cutter grades. Meat color. A bright red color is desirable from a consumer acceptance point of view. In some cases, because of stress depletion of sugars in the muscle, the meat from an animal may become dark and produce what is known as a dark cutter. Dark cutters are not permitted n Canada’s top four grades but are accepted in USDA Choice, Select, and Standard in some circumstances The grading of beef carcasses relies on a standardized measurement system to segregate products into classes with uniform characteristics and to support pricing decisions based on expectations of meat quality and yield. The quality grade is primarily intended to measure parameters related to eating quality and consumer acceptance. Factors that are considered when determining both the U.S. and Canadian quality grade are as follows : BEEF GRADING • Fat color. Consumers prefer fat that is white rather than a shade of yellow. Yellow fat is not considered a defect in the U.S. grading system. • Meat texture. Optimal eating quality is associated with a firm muscle texture, and this is the minimum standard for the top four Canadian grades. The present USDA grading system has a minimum standard of moderately firm for the Prime grade and permits soft meat texture for carcasses graded as Standard. • Muscling. Caresses that are graded Canada Prime, AAA, AA, or A must have a minimum standard of muscling measured as good to excellent with some deficiencies. There is no muscling requirement for the top four USDA grades. Less than 2 percent of all graded beef receives a Prime grade. Prime beef is typically reserved for the finest restaurants and butcher shops, whereas Choice and Select grades are more often used in the average restaurant. Grades lower than Select tend to be used in processed meat and are not practical for consideration in the restaurant or retail industry. USDA Choice meat is the most commonly used grade in quality food service operations and retail markets. Choice meat produces a juicy, tender product but is not as well marbled as Prime. Beef that has not been grade stamped (rolled) by a USDA inspector is referred to as no roll. A large amount of the beef sold in the United States, especially at retail, is no roll. No roll is normally at the USDA Select standard. USDA Select or USDA Standard beef, and lamb and veal graded USDA Good, are all used in food service operations and retail. Meat labeled as kosher indicates an additional inspection by a specially trained rabbi. Kosher meats are processed according to rabbinical law, and the term kosher means “correct” or “proper.” A kosher stamp certifies cleanliness (standards), not quality. Halal meat is processed by butchers who follow strict Islamic guidelines. A respectable authority must guarantee that the beef was processed and prepared according to the accepted guidelines in order for Muslim consumers to use the products PRIMAL CUTS OF BEEF The primal cuts of beef are the chuck, brisket and shank, rib, short plate, short loin, sirloin, flank, and round. FOREQUARTER CHUCK The primal chuck is the animal’s front shoulder; it accounts for approximately 28 percent of the carcass weight. Primal chuck has 35 different muscles; it also contains a portion of the backbone, five rib bones, and portions of the blade and arm bones. The shoulder muscles are constantly used, so some of the cuts are more tender than others. The chuck contains a high percentage of connective tissue, and most of the muscles are tough. Because the meat is less tender, the fabricated cuts usually are cooked by stewing, simmering, braising, and other moist-heat methods. The meat from the chuck primal is sold as roasts (bone-in or boneless) or cut into steaks. Ground beef is often made from chuck. Beef Cuts from the Primal Chuck The blade portion includes blade roasts and steaks, chuck eye meat, crosscuts such as the seven-bone roast and steak, mock tender, and neck. The arm half, located below the blade and neck portion, includes the arm roast and steak, cross-rib roast, boneless shoulder roast, and short ribs. New products developed from underused cuts of meat include the following: • Flatiron steak, also called boneless top blade, is cut from the chuck and sold as steak (see Figure 10-6). Flatiron is remarkably tender and full-flavored. It is called the flatiron steak because when the top blade roast is cut horizontally into two pieces, the resulting shapes resemble an old-fashioned flatiron. This top blade steak is cut in a way that eliminates the connective tissue that runs through the center. This cut has a strong beef flavor due to the location in the chuck. It is recommended that the cut be purchased from the purveyor in a portioned format. • Chuck tail flat is well suited for any sauté or stir-fry application, especially quick wok dishes, because of the strong beef flavor from the chuck as well as the high degree of marbling found in this cut. Correct stir-fry technique is critical to ensure the quality of the finished dish. It can also be thinly sliced and grilled or roasted. • Clod tender is part of the shoulder clod located in the chuck and is also known as a petit tender. It requires little additional cutting or yield loss, has an intense flavor, comes in a convenient size, and is easy to prepare. The cut is not highly marbled, so care must be taken to avoid overcooking. The size of this cut makes it a good candidate for a number of applications, such as the protein component in a dinner salad or small grilled medallions. The small circumference and the rich flavor of the chuck, along with the tenderness, makes this cut ideal for carpaccio. BRISKET AND SHANK The brisket and shank lie beneath the primal chuck and encompass the breast and foreleg of the animal. The brisket is tough and fatty but flavorful, so it is mainly braised, smoked in Texas barbeque or used for corned beef. It is sold boneless, and because of its size [usually 10 pounds (4.5 kg) or more] it is cut into two pieces— the back half, which is also known as the flat half or thin cut front half, which has more fat than the back half and is known as the point cut, thick cut, or deckle. The shank is a flavorful cut, full of collagen, which turns to gelatin when cooked. Shank is an excellent choice for broth and soup. Brisket and shank cuts include whole brisket, flat-cut brisket, corned beef, and shank crosscut RIB & Rib Primal A beef carcass has 13 pairs of ribs, but not all of the ribs are included in the rib primal cut. The first 5 ribs are part of the chuck cut in the front of the animal. The 13thrib is part of the loin. The rib primal contains ribs 6 through 12. The cuts of beef from the rib primal include bone-in prime rib, boneless rib eye steak, back ribs, boneless rib eye roast, and bone-in rib steak. The rib section, located just behind the shoulder or chuck, is not a well-exercised part of the animal. That means it is tender and well marbled. The rib section produces rib roast, rib eye roast, rib steaks, rib eye steaks, and back ribs. The primal beef rib accounts for approximately 10 percent of carcass weight. It consists of ribs 6 through 12 as well as a portion of the backbone. This primal cut is best known for yielding roast prime rib of beef. For prime rib, the word prime does not refer to a grade of meat as but means, rather, that the roast itself constitutes most of the primal cut. Primal rib produces rich, full-flavored roasts and steaks. With the exception of rib bones, which are meaty and flavorful, the most common methods used to cook cuts from the primal rib include roasting, grilling, broiling, and sautéing. The ends of the rib bones that are trimmed off the rib roast are known as beef short ribs, which are commonly simmered, used to make broths, braised, or barbecued. The rib is sold whole, in smaller roasts (bone-in and boneless), or cut into steaks such as rib eye steak, Delmonico, château cut, or shell steaks. Bones can be used to make stock. RIB & Rib Primal cont: Some terminology associated with ribs follows: • Beef back ribs (finger bones)—the seven rib bones that are pulled from a rib to create a boneless rib specification. • Kernel fat—a pocket of fat found between the cap and the rib eye. The size of the kernel flat varies with the size of cut, time of year, and grade of product. • Fat cap—A layer of fat that is placed on top of the rib and netted or tied on. Fat caps are trimmed to an average of 20 percent of the finished roast weight. • Finger meat—the meat located between the ribs or that remains on the roast once the ribs are removed. • Tail—the portion of meat and fat that extends from the eye of to the end of the rib. Tail lengths vary based on the specification. Beef has changed a great deal from when product specifications were originally developed. Years ago, beef did not have the degree of marbling it has today. Chefs felt it necessary to place fat caps over the meat to maintain juiciness and flavor. Today fat caps are not necessary, given increased marbling and modern oven technology. Some chefs believe that having the bone in adds additional flavor. Some like to have the bones to use for specials .However, bone-in rib decreases the yield and increases the price per serving. Beef rib bones can be purchased separately at substantial savings for other applications. Finally, cooking beef rib roasts at a lower temperature saves money and results in a juicier product, as losses are lower for all cuts when cooked at a lower temperature SHORT PLATE HINDQUARTER The short plate, located on the underside of the rib cage, produces meat that tends to be tough and fatty. Cuts include outside and inside skirt steak (see Figure 10-6) and short ribs. Skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle. It is a long, flat piece of meat, with a tendency toward toughness, but it has good flavor. All membrane should be removed and the lean surface should be fat free. Its coarse grain makes it ideal for marinating. It can be grilled or pan-fried quickly with good results. Another traditional method is to stuff it, roll it, and braise it. In many areas of the country (Texas, for example), skirt steak is the only cut to be used when making “real” fajitas. Short rib plate is separated from the carcass during the creation of the rib subprimal and may include ribs 6 through 12. Trimming involves removing the first layer of lean and fat from the short rib. Slicing the short rib into thin strips results in the Korean-style short rib cut. Short ribs are highly marbled, extremely tender, and rich in flavor when braised. Hanger steak is the thick strip of meat that hangs between the last rib and the loin. It is actually part of the diaphragm. Pastrami is usually made from meat obtained from the plate. Primal Short Loin The short loin is located just behind the ribs and becomes the first primal cut of the hindquarter when the side of beef is divided into a forequarter and hindquarter. This area boasts extremely tender cuts and can be prepared without the aid of moist heat or long cooking times. Cuts from the short loin may be sautéed, pan-fried, broiled, pan-broiled, or grilled. The short loin contains a single rib, the 13th, and a portion of the backbone. The loin eye muscle, a continuation of the rib eye muscle, runs along the top of the T-shaped bones that form the backbone. Beneath the loin eye muscle on the other side of the backbone is the tenderloin, the tenderest cut of the carcass. The top loin steak is the first type of steak cut from the loin; it is cut from the end of the loin, which contains the last or 13th rib. This steak is also called a club steak or Delmonico steak. The steak is identified by the large eye muscle, the rib bone, and part of the backbone. HINDQUARTER The T-bone steak has the characteristic T-shaped vertebra and the large eye muscle. The smaller muscle located below the T-bone is the tenderloin. The porterhouse steak is similar to the T-bone steak. However, the tenderloin muscle is much larger, and extra muscle is located in the center of the porterhouse steak on the upper side. Most of the cuts benefit from dry cooking methods. The tenderloin is the inside muscle of the short loin and is the most expensive cut of beef. It is a long tapered muscle extending from the 13th rib to the pelvis. The whole tenderloin can also be removed and portion-cut into tournedos, châteaubriand, and filet mignon. Tournedos are cut from the small end of the tenderloin. Châteaubriand is obtained from the center of the tenderloin. Filet mignon is located next to the châteaubriand near the large end of the tenderloin. Although the tenderloin is considered the tenderest cut of beef, the beef flavor is proportionately lessened, so it responds well to sauces, because the meat does not overpower the flavor of the sauce. Part of the tenderloin is located in the sirloin portion of the loin. When the entire beef loin is divided into the primal short loin and primal sirloin, the large end of the tenderloin (the butt tenderloin) is separated from the remainder of the tenderloin and remains in the sirloin. If the tenderloin is to be kept whole, it must be removed before the short loin and sirloin are separated. The loin eye meat can be removed from the bones, producing a boneless strip loin. The primal flank is located in the rear underbelly of the carcass. The flank produces flavorful but tough meat that contains plenty of connective tissue. This primal cut contains no bones; trimming is required only to remove some silver skin and thin membrane on the outside. Grilling is a natural option for this cut; however, because it is very lean, care must be taken not to overcook it. The flank can also be braised or slow-roasted for a tender, flavorful dish. Sirloin cuts are naturally lean with bold, beefy flavor, but tend to be chewy. This primal section is located in the hindquarter, between the short loin and the round. It contains part of the backbone as well as a portion of the hip bone. The sirloin contains several different cuts, including bone-in or boneless roasts and steaks. These steaks include sirloin, boneless top sirloin (or top butt), and top sirloin cap steak (or coulotte steak). Sirloin bone-in steaks are crosscuts from the front section of the hip and are named according to the shape of the piece of the hip bone remaining in them. They vary in their degree of tenderness. The pin bone is the tenderest because of its proximity to the short loin, and the wedge bone is the least tender because it is closest to the rump. The bottom butt is one of the two main muscles of the sirloin. The cuts from the bottom butt are tender if cooked properly, and they are not too expensive. Cuts from the bottom sirloin include the ball tip, tri-tip, and flap steaks. The top butt is a bit better in quality than the bottom butt, and the cuts from it are tender and affordable. Generally, cuts from the sirloin are cooked using dry-heat methods. The tri-tip is a triangular cut at the tip of the sirloin and is surrounded by the remainder of the sirloin and the round and flank primal. It can be used as a roast or cut into steaks. Primal Sirloin Primal Flank Primal Round The primal round is very large, accounting for approximately 24 percent of the carcass weight. It is the hind leg of the animal. Steaks cut from the round are less tender, and the hindshank is prepared in the same manner as the foreshank. The major cuts of beef from the primal include the following: • Heel • Knuckle • Top round • Eye round • Bottom round Cuts from the round are most commonly prepared with moist heat. Additionally, cuts from the round are often cubed for stew or kebabs, or ground. The knuckle and the top round may be prepared with dry heat if done carefully. Inside round or top round is composed of three muscles with the grain running in various directions, so consistently cutting across the grain needs to be monitored. This cut is medium tender and more tender than the outside round or bottom round. It has good fat coverage; if roasted, it maintains maximum juiciness and presents well. As with all hip cuts, yield and juiciness remain high when roasted under optimal low-temperature conditions. This cut does not have major connective seams or large fat pockets, so it has a high yield. A few classic cuts from the top round are top round roast, top round steak, top round marinating strips, and top round diced beef. Outside or bottom round flat is known for high yield and easy handling. This cut has an even thickness, resulting in even roasting and doneness from end to end. The consistent grain allows for ease of carving without major shifts in direction of grain. Bottom round flat is the perfect cut for a high-yield roast or cut thin for stir-fry beef strips. VEAL Veal comes from a young dairy calf, usually male, generally between 16 and 18 weeks of age and weighing up to 450 pounds 204.5 kg). Adult female cows used in dairy herds must be “freshened” in order to continue milk production, which means they must give birth to acalf each year. Female calves are raised to replenish the milking herd. Only a few male calves are needed for breeding stock, with the surplus males being sold for meat. Holstein and other dairy cattle have very low muscle-to-bone ratio, and although they are good milk producers, they do not produce as good quality meat. As the dairy cattle get older, their meat gets much tougher and more strongly flavored than beef cattle at similar ages. This is why calves for veal production are slaughtered at young ages. Veal has delicate, tender flesh that is creamy white with a hint of pink or pinkish-gray. Milk-fed veal, also known as special-fed veal, comes from calves that are fed a milk supplement. Formula-fed calves may be up to 4 months old at the time of slaughter, but their diet contains no grass or feed. Most veal calves are special-fed. Grain-fed or free-range veal initially receives milk and later is fed a diet of grain and hay. The meat from grain-fed veal calves tends to be darker in color and fattier. Bob veal is veal calves marketed up to 3 weeks of age or at a weight of 150 pounds(68.2 kg): they constitute up to 15 percent of veal calves. Farmers often limit the space in which special-fed veal is raised. These living conditions are often the focus of animal rights activists in the controversy that surrounds veal farming. However, today’s modern, environmentally controlled veal barns provide for animal health and safety. A combination of social, political, and religious factors worked against veal becoming a popular meat in the West. However, in the sophisticated climate of Renaissance Italy, particularly Tuscany, veal became very popular. Veal has very little fat content and has been praised as having the subtlest flavor of all meats. VEAL Veal may be split in two sides, or it may be cut into a fore saddle (front portion) and a hind saddle (rear portion) by splitting the carcass at a point between the 11th and 12th ribs. The rack and shoulder are separated between the 4th and 5th rib. The loin and leg are separated at the tip of the hip bone. The primal cuts of veal are the shoulder, the foreshank and breast, the rib from the foresaddle, and the loin and leg from the hindsaddle . The veal shoulder, rib, and loin primal contain both sides. Primal cuts are the most labor-intensive option. Subprimal cuts, which are smaller, fabricated cuts from the primal cuts, are often boneless or semiboneless and are usually further trimmed of fat. Organ meats (offal) from veal, particularly the sweetbreads, liver, calf ’s head, and brains, are highly prized. GRADES OF VEAL Veal and calf carcasses may only be quality graded. Because there is relatively little fat cover on veal and calf carcasses, there has been no demonstrated need for the use of yield grades. Relatively small numbers of veal and calf carcasses are graded. As with beef and lamb, the use of the system is entirely voluntary. As with the other species, quality grades identify the eating characteristics. There are five quality grades for veal and calf. The grades, in order from the highest to the lowest quality, are U.S. Prime, U.S. Choice, U.S. Good, U.S. Standard, and U.S. Utility. Most of the carcasses graded are Choice grade, with a small number of Prime. CUTS OF VEAL HINDSADDLE The choice meat of the veal leg is flavorful, tender, and lean. The primal leg is normally fabricated into major muscles: the top round eye round knuckle, sirloin bottom round butt tenderloin These muscles are trimmed of all fat and visible connective tissue. The boneless cuts from the top round, knuckle, bottom, eye round, sirloin, and butt tenderloin can be prepared using dry-heat methods such as roasting, sautéing, and pan-frying. They can also be used to make stews such as blanquettes and fricassées. The boneless cuts may also be prepared as the menu cuts scaloppini, schnitzel, émincé, escalope, and kebabs. 37 The hindshank is meatier than the foreshank, but both can be used to prepare osso bucco. A common veal cut is the sirloin chop, a lean steak cut from the sirloin. Most often the sirloin is sold as part of the whole leg and sliced into cutlets . Veal steak is either sirloin steak or round steak cut from the top or bottom round muscles in the leg. The knuckle is a moderately tender, lean cut from the upper portion of the leg adjoining the sirloin. The single largest leg muscle is the top round, sought after for scaloppini and roasting. The bottom round contains the regularly shaped, boneless eye of round, which is lean and can be tough; the moderately tender flat; and the tougher, smaller muscles of the heel. Veal is often cut into cutlets called scaloppini or medallions. Though scaloppini may come from the loin and other parts of the calf, those cut from the leg will be largest in diameter and least expensive. They are pounded thin before cooking to tenderize and prevent curling. The veal loin is one of the expensive middle cuts along the adjoining rib. Veal T-bone, porterhouse steak, and strip loin steak are cut from the veal loin. Loin cuts are tender and can be prepared using dry-heat techniques such as roasting, grilling, broiling, and sautéing. Whole roasts (bone-in or boneless), chops and other portion cuts are available. Boneless veal loin eye can be cut into tender portions that are easy to pound into thin paillards or scaloppini. Veal loin is tender and delicate in flavor, with buttery texture and fine grain. Loin Primal Rack Primal The cuts of veal from hotel rack primal include the following: • Veal rack, split • Chop-ready rack • Frenched Veal rack Just as with cuts from the loin, cuts from the rack are tender, succulent, and juicy. Veal racks or chops are often the most expensive item on a restaurant menu. They are best cooked by roasting, broiling, grilling, or sautéing. The cuts are sold as roasts or chops (bone-in or boneless). The bones on a veal rack can be removed, yielding a veal rib eye and a small piece of tenderloin known as the short tenderloin. Tying a rib roast into a crown shape will result in a crown roast. Bones for the roasts or chops are often frenched. To “french” bones means to cut the meat away from the end of a rib or chop, so that the bone is clean and exposed. Shoulder Primal The cuts of veal from the square-cut shoulder primal include the following: • Square-cut shoulder • Shoulder clod Shoulder cuts are similar to the beef shoulder or chuck and tend to be somewhat tough, so it is best to use moist-heat methods such as braising, stewing, or simmering. However, the veal shoulder contains only four rib bones, compared to the five in the beef chuck. The backbone, blade, and arm bones are often removed and the meat stuffed. The shoulder can be fabricated into chops and steaks, but they are not of the same quality as the loin or rib. Often the meat from the shoulder is ground or cubed for stew. Foreshank and Breast Primal Located beneath the shoulder and rib sections on the front half of the carcass, the foreshank and breast are considered one primal cut. This area contains rib bones, breast bones, shank bones, and rib cartilage. Veal breast or brisket is an economical cut that allows chefs to be innovative. Traditional preparations of veal breast call for a pocket to be cut into the breast, filled with stuffing, and braised. Veal breast can also be cubed for stews or ground. The foreshank is flavorful but tough. Osso bucco can be cut from the foreshank, or the whole foreshank can be braised. PORK In the entire history of civilization, no animal has provided us with more sustenance than the pig. In spite of the many cultural taboos against pork, it is the number one consumed meat on the planet. Perhaps the oldest known written recipe for pork, spit-roasted stuffed suckling pig, dates to 500 BCE in China. The pig is bred primarily for its meat. Pig breeds in the United States are classified as lard, meat, or bacon hogs. Lard pigs, fed on a diet consisting mainly of corn, have a high proportion of back fat. Lard pigs have basically disappeared from the market because of changing diets. Bacon pigs are bred to have long bodies with quite a bit of belly meat and little back fat. Meat pigs, developed for the American market in the 1930s, have large muscles, long loins, big hams, and a moderate ratio of fat to lean. The loin contains the highest quality meat and is the most expensive cut of pork. Pork is unique in that the ribs and loin are considered a single primal. They are not separated into two different primal. Pigs are commonly slaughtered when they are less than 12 months old, because that is when the meat will be most tender with a delicate flavor. More than two-thirds of the pork marketed in the United States is cured to produce products such as smoked bacon or ham. Once it has been split into two halves along the backbone, the hog carcass is divided into bilateral halves. It is further fabricated into the primal cuts: shoulder, Boston butt, belly, loin, and fresh ham, as shown in Figure 10-13. The whole shoulder is re-moved at the first rib; the top of the shoulder is called the Boston butt, pork butt, or Boston shoulder roast. The foreleg section of the shoulder is called picnic or picnic shoulder. The feet from the front leg are sold separately as pig’s feet, or trotters. PORK The midsection of the pig contains two primal cuts. The back portion is the pork loin, which is usually divided into the center-cut loin, which contains the rib section and the area with the T-bone chop. The shoulder end of the loin is called the blade end; it is often butterflied and sold as country spareribs. The hip end of the loin is called the sirloin end and contains a portion of the hipbone. The primal belly, or side, is also from the midsection. This area provides rib bones for spareribs, and the remaining boned belly is usually made into bacon. Uncured, unsmoked raw belly is gaining in popularity as an item to be cooked and enjoyed. Pork belly may be slow roasted or braised for best results. The ham area contains the leg and the meat surrounding the hip. PORK Cont: PORK GRADES Quality grades for pork may be assigned by the meat packer rather than by federal regulators. However, the grading system used by an individual packer must be clearly defined, and it must meet or exceed federal standards. Quality grade and yield are combined in the pork grading system and expressed primarily in numerical terms. The USDA grades for pork are U.S. No. 1, U.S. No. 2, U.S. No. 3, U.S. No. 4, and U.S. Utility for barrows and gilts. A barrow is a young castrated male hog; a gilt is a young female hog that has not farrowed. Sows are graded U.S. No. 1, 2, and 3; U.S. Medium; and U.S. Cull. Boars and stags are not graded. A boar is a male that has not been castrated. A stag is a male that was castrated after reaching maturity. CUTS OF PORK CUTS OF PORK The primal pork belly, or side, is located below the loin, which is the underside of the pig. Pork belly is very fatty with streaks of lean meat, tough but flavorful. The spareribs must be separated from the rest of the belly. Pork belly is a rustic, flavorful cut that is popular in Italian, French, and Chinese cuisines. Bacon and salt pork are prepared from the belly. Belly typically is cooked using long, slow, moist heat. Spareribs are sold fresh or smoked. They are usually simmered and then grilled or baked. HAM PRIMAL The large ham, or rear leg of the pig, contains the aitch, leg, and hindshank bones. It contains a small amount of connective tissue compared to the amount of muscle. The leg can be broken into the three major muscles called TBS (top, bottom, and side, also known as inside round, outside round, and knuckle). Pork tip, or knuckle, is a lean boneless cut from the tip portion, the front part of the leg above the kneecap, also called the forecushion. This cut has darker meat and should be cooked using long, slow, moist heat. The pork inside round is a boneless cut from the inside of the leg. It has attractive pale graypink color and is very versatile. It makes for easy-to-carve roasts, cutlets, kebabs, satay, stews, and ragouts, and can be ground in a terrine. The pork outside round is the outer or bottom muscle of the pork leg, trimmed until it is practically free of fat. It is an economical boneless cut, but it is tough and needs slow roasting. Rear leg shanks are the lower portion of the leg, below the knee joint (hock); they can be simmered, stewed, braised, or smoked and cured. A ham can be fresh, cured, canned, or smoked. Boiled ham is wet-cured and cooked to 145°F (63°C). Hams can be purchased bone-in, shankless, or boneless, and partially or fully cooked. LOIN PRIMAL The pork loin is a meaty, relatively tender cut with a large center eye, dense texture, and fullbodied flavor. It can be prepared with dry-heat cooking methods. Because the pork loin has a small fat covering, it is important to not overcook. Pork loin is quite versatile and adapts well to many flavors. This cut comes from directly behind the Boston butt and includes the entire rib section as well as the loin and a portion of the sirloin area. The loin is the only primal cut not typically smoked or cured. The economical blade end loin roast, also known as the five- or seven-rib roast, is retail cut from the loin end nearest the shoulder and will be fatty and juicy, but the bones make it difficult to carve. The loin also contains the pork tenderloin, located on the inside of the rib bones on the sirloin end of the loin. Of course the most popular cut from the loin is the pork chop, which can be cut from the entire loin. The loin can be purchased boneless, bonein, or boned and tied. A smoked boneless pork loin is called Canadian bacon. Country-style ribs are from this section; and are the rib bones, trimmed from the loin. Baby back ribs–also called loin ribs, back ribs, or Canadian back ribs–come from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. BOSTON BUTT PRIMAL Despite what its name may indicate, the Boston butt comes from the upper shoulder of the hog. Consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm, the Boston butt is a moderately tough cut of meat with a good deal of connective tissue. This primal cut is located just above the primal pork shoulder. It is meaty with a high percentage of fat to lean meat. It can be roasted or cut into steaks, but it is also well suited for moist-heat methods or making ground pork. Just above the Boston butt is a section of fat called the clear plate or fatback, which can be used for making lard or salt pork or added to sausage or ground pork. SHOULDER OR PICNIC PRIMAL The primal shoulder includes the front leg and sections at the top of the leg. These cuts contain a higher level of fat than other cuts of pork, which provides flavor and tenderness. T he fat content in the shoulder makes this cut desirable for sausage making, and when well trimmed, it is used for lean ground pork. The shoulder is one of the most flavorful and economical cuts of the pig. The shoulder is tender enough to be cooked by any method The shoulder butt sub-primal is a better cut than the picnic because it has enough fat for braising or roasting. The picnic shoulder is meaty and relatively lean. The blade is the upper portion of the shoulder and is tender and full of flavor. The roasts from this cut are available bone-in or boneless and are best cooked using a moist-heat method such as braising or stewing, but they can also be roasted. The steaks, which are cut from the blade Boston roasts, are best broiled, grilled, or braised. The foreshank is called the shoulder hock and is almost always smoked. Smoked ham hocks are simmered in soups, stews, and braised dishes to add flavor and richness. The shoulder hock may be smoked, cured, and sold as picnic ham or a smokedshoulder. The picnic primal cut is also used to prepare a specialty ham called tasso. LAMB AND MUTTON Lamb is the tender meat that comes from young domesticated sheep of both sexes. The taste of lamb varies with environmental and genetic factors. Grain-fed meat tends to have a more mellow flavor; grass-fed meat can have a more pungent flavor. Milk-fed lamb is considered to have the most delicate color and flavor; grass-fed lamb has a more pronounced flavor and texture. Baby lamb and spring lamb are both milk fed. Baby lamb is customarily slaughtered between ages six and eight weeks, spring lamb between three and five months. Most lamb produced in the United States is finished on a grain diet and butchered at age six to seven months. The age at which the change from lamb to yearling mutton takes place is approximately between 12 and 14 months; the bones become harder and whiter. Lamb that comes from a sheep older than 16 months or more is sold as mutton. Lamb becomes tougher as it ages and develops a strong, gamy taste. The color of mutton flesh ranges from light to dark red, compared with medium pink to light red in yearling mutton and light to dark pink in lamb. Because lambs can be raised under agricultural conditions that prevent beef cattle from thriving, lamb has been for countless centuries the staple meat for most of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean basin. Lamb is particularly responsive to subtle seasoning and spices. Compared to American-raised lamb, Australian and New Zealand leg of lamb is much smaller and is shipped with the aitch bone removed. The primary cuts of lamb are the shoulder, rack, rib, and leg. Subprimal cuts are the neck, foreshank, breast (brisket), and flank. Like some veal primals, lamb primals are crosscut sections and contain both bilateral halves. Figure 10-15 shows the skeletal structure of a lamb. Figure 10-16 shows the primal cuts of lamb and how to cook them. GRADES OF LAMB There are four quality grades for lamb and yearling mutton. Quality grades indicate the expected eating satisfaction of lamb. USDA Lamb Quality Grades are based upon palatability indicating characteristics of the lean and carcass conformation. The factors used in quality grading lamb carcasses are: (1) maturity, (2) lean quality, and (3) carcass conformation. The grades, from highest to lowest quality, are U.S. Prime, U.S. Choice, U.S. Good, and U.S. Utility. Mutton may only be graded U.S. Choice, U.S. Good, U.S. Utility, or U.S. Cull. The distinction between lamb, yearling mutton, and mutton is based primarily on the absence or presence of the spool at the break joint on the foreleg trotter. The break joint is a cartilaginous area of the cannon bone that is not bony. This joint becomes bonier as the animal ages and becomes what is called a spool joint. Lamb will not display this spool. A mutton carcass has two spool joints. A yearling carcass usually has at least one spool joint. Yield grades of lamb, yearling mutton, and mutton carcasses are calculated based on the external fat with 1 having the least external fat and 5 having the most external fat. Generally, only Prime and Choice quality grade lamb is offered for grading. covering of the carcass. Yield grades are identified by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, with 1 having the least external fat and 5 having the most external fat. Generally, only Prime and Choice quality grade lamb is offered for grading. CUTS OF LAMB LEG PRIMAL Leg of lamb is very versatile; it can be roasted whole, boned and stuffed, or rolled and tied. However, the leg is often cut into two pieces; the shank (lower) end is less meaty and tougher than the sirloin (upper) half, which is usually more expensive and bonier. A lamb center roast contains the leg bone (femur), the inside (top) round, the bottom round, and the knuckle with the shank and the sirloin removed. A lamb bottom roast is a boneless roast taken from the shank end of the lamb leg. A frenched leg of lamb has been cut to expose the end of the shank bone. If the bone at the end is simply chopped off, it’s called an American leg. Steaks can also be cut from the bone-in leg, with the sirloin end producing the better quality. Leg meat makes for tender cuts that sauté well. The shank can be diced, ground, or braised. LOIN PRIMAL The loin is located between the primal rib and leg. It contains portions of the backbone, the loin eye muscle, the tenderloin, the flank, and rib number 13. Except for the flank, loin meats are tender; quick-cooking methods achieve the best flavor and texture. Roasting is a good method for whole cuts (bone-in or boneless); sautéing, grilling, or broiling works well for chop. Saddle of lamb is a regal bone-in cut that consists of both sides of the loin and includes the loin eye muscle and the tenderloin. English chops are bone-in and may be a single or a double bone cut. Saratoga chops are boneless; they may also be single or double cut. Most commonly, the loin is cut into small lamb T-bone steaks. Boneless cuts may be used for cutlets, émincé, medallions, or noisettes. LAMB/HOTEL RACK PRIMAL The cuts of lamb from the hotel rack primal include the following: • Rack (split, chine removed) • Frenched rack (cap meat removed and rib bones cleaned) The hotel rack primal is located between the primal shoulder and loin. Containing eight ribs and portions of the backbone, a standing rib of lamb is also known as rack of lamb. The rib eye muscle is exceptionally tender and valued. The rack can be roasted, either as a rack or as a crown roast or bone-in roast However, the rack is usually split in half and cut into chops. When the ends of the rib bones are exposed, it is called a frenched rib or rack. The chops may be sautéed, broiled, or grilled. BREAST PRIMAL The primal lamb breast contains the breast and foreshank portions and is the lower part of the front half of the lamb’s carcass. It tends to be quite fatty, but very flavorful. The lamb foreshank is the front lamb leg from the knee to the shoulder primal. The primal breast is located beneath the primal rack and contains the rib tips. These rib tips, when separated from the breast, are called Denver ribs. The breast can be roasted or braised. Riblets are treated like pork ribs. Lamb foreshanks are very meaty and are used to flavor broths, braised, or ground SHOULDER SQUARE PRIMAL The lamb shoulder is the primal cut that includes the upper front leg, the shoulder blade, ribs 1 through 5, and the neck. The shoulder is one of the larger cuts of lamb. Because these muscles get a lot of exercise, shoulder meat is tougher and more flavorful than the lamb loin or hind leg. Lamb shoulder cuts are usually cooked using moist heat, although meat from young animals can be successfully roasted at low temperatures. Bone-in lamb shoulder roast can be used in a variety of recipes and is a more economical cut than lamb leg roast. Although many cooks believe that a bone-in lamb roast produces better flavor, the complex bone structure of the lamb shoulder makes it difficult to carve. The bone-in lamb shoulder is also known as the square-cut lamb shoulder. The shoulder may be cut into chops, or boned and stuffed. Shoulder meat is often diced for stew or ground for patties. The shoulder can also be divided into three subprimals: neck, blade, and arm. VENISON AND FURRED GAME Game meats that are sold in restaurants originate in animals that were commercially raised for food. Inspection of game meats is voluntary. The meat from most game animals tends to be dark red, very lean, and free of intramuscular fat. Because their diets and activity levels are not the same as that of domestic animals and poultry, the meat of farm-raised game animals has a different flavor—stronger than domesticated species and milder than wild game. The factors that determine the meat’s quality include the age of the animal (younger animals are more tender), the animal’s diet, and the time of year the animal was harvested. (The best is in the fall, after a plentiful spring and summer feeding.) Large native game animals living in America include antelope, buffalo, bear, caribou, deer, elk, moose, reindeer, and wild boar. In general, wild game is less tender than meat from domestic animals because the wild animals get more exercise and have less fat. Any fat is generally bad tasting and should be removed. VENISON AND FURRED GAME Cont: Venison is a popular game animal that is widely farm raised. In current usage, the term venison is used to describe the meat of a deer or antelope. Venison comes from animals such as North American native whitetail deer, reindeer, moose, elk, and several nonnative animals such as axis deer, fallow deer, sika deer, blackbuck antelope, and Nilgai antelope. Venison meat is typically dark red with a mild aroma. It is leaner than other meats, having no intramuscular fat or marbling. The most popular commercial venison cuts are the loin, leg, and rack. Large game animals are rarely sold whole or in primal portions. A chef is more likely to find the meat available in precut portions or subprimals, with the exception of rabbit. Depending on the cut of meat, wild game meat should be cooked in one of two ways: a little or a lot. Tender cuts (such as loins and filets) should not be cooked past medium rare, or the meat will become tough and dry. Working cuts (such as those from the shoulder or leg) should be cooked at low temperature for several hours. Buffalo and wild boar are other popular large game animals. The same general rules that determine how to cook a red meat cut will work for the following meats: VENISON AND FURRED GAME Cont: • Cuts from less exercised portions (the loin and the rib) may be prepared with any technique; frequently, they are prepared with dry-heat methods such as grilling or roasting. • The areas of the animal that were well exercised, such as the leg (or haunch), shank, and shoulder, are best when cooked using moist-heat or combination methods. These cuts are also used for preparing pâtés and other charcuterie items. The most common small game animal is rabbit. Rabbit meat is fine-textured, lean, mildly flavored, and tender. Hares weigh between 6 (2.7 kg) and 12 (5.5 kg) pounds. Mature rabbits weigh between 3 and 5 (1/4 and 2.3 kg) pounds. Young rabbits weigh approximately 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg). Rabbit meat works will with most cooking methods. Hare is extremely lean and should be cooked similar to other lean game meat. ANTELOPE Nilgai antelope originate in India and Nepal. They were originally introduced to southern Texas in the 1930s. The meat has a mild flavor with a good texture, much like veal. It is extremely low in fat, averaging well under 1 percent for most cuts. They are large animals, weighing an average of 280 pounds (127.3 kg) on the hoof. Blackbuck antelope, which are significantly smaller than the Nilgai antelope, are ranch-raised in North America. The meat is extremely lean but retains a high amount of moisture. Its flavor is slightly stronger than deer(venison) with a fine grain. DEER The deer family includes elk, moose, reindeer, redtail and whitetail deer, and mule deer. Collectively they are all known as venison. Farm-raised venison is commercially available all year. The butchering procedures for venison are similar to those for lamb. As a rule of thumb, venison may be substituted in almost any beef, lamb, or pork recipe. AXIS VENISON Considered by many to be the finest venison in the world, the axis deer, a native of India, was introduced to ranches in the Texas hill country in the 1930s. Like cattle, axis deer graze on grass, so their meat is finely textured and tender. Research has demonstrated that bison is a highly nutrient-dense food because of the proportion of protein, fat, minerals, and fatty acids compared to caloric value. It tastes similar to beef, but because it is extremely lean, it is easy to overcook. The meat is flavorful and maybe handled in the same manner as lean beef. BISON (AMERICAN BUFFALO) ELK Elk meat is a form of venison. It is one of the larger deer species, exceeded only in size by the North American moose. Elk meat is always farm-raised and usually given a diet abundant in grass and alfalfa, with occasional grain supplement. Elk meat is known for tastiness and a lack of gameness. Rare cooking is key to elk meat taste and tenderness. Because the meat is so lean, it will dry out quickly if overcooked. Ranch-raised rabbit is available all year, whole or cut, fresh or frozen. The average weight of a whole dressed rabbit is around 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg). Rabbit meat is lean and tender with a flavor and texture similar to chicken. Rabbit can be processed and cooked just like chicken. RABBIT WILD BOAR Wild boar is becoming even more popular because it is leaner and more flavorful than its cousin the domesticated hog. Wild boar meat is darker in color than domestic pork (Figure 10-19). It has a distinctive flavor with a hint of its wild heritage. Mature animals, 1 to 2 years old, have the best flavor. Wild boar can be used in any pork recipe. Like many types of game meat, wild boar should be cooked to medium rare or medium, allowing the meat to retain its moisture and distinguishable flavor. VARIETY MEATS/OFFAL Offal is the edible entrails (such as the heart, kidneys, liver, sweetbreads, and tongue) and extremities(such as oxtail and pig’s feet) of an animal. The quality of variety meats varies; however, they are best if eaten when very fresh, within 1 or 2 days. Often these items are frozen, which tends to destroy their delicate flavor. Sweetbreads and brains should not be frozen; freezing tends to spoil their delicate flavor and texture. When cooked correctly, variety meats offer rich and unusual dishes. Unfortunately, with the exception of fish, few foods are more maltreated, and as a result, they have acquired a poor reputation. Calf ’s, pig’s, or sheep’s head is normally sold skinned, whole, or slit in half. They should be soaked overnight before cooking. Calf ’s head meat is tender and gelatinous; it may be boiled or braised. Pig’s head is traditionally used for head cheese or other jellied meat dishes. European corned pig’s cheeks are known as bath chaps and are boiled and eaten cold. Sheep’s head is the least commonly available; it is usually roasted whole, boiled, or stewed. Hearts are nutritious with a very high yield but tend to be tasteless. Lamb hearts are considered the most flavorful, pork hearts are larger and slightly coarser, and beef hearts are the least tender. All require long, slow, moist-heat cooking. Buffalo steak. Tongues are sold fresh, smoked, or corned for cooking. A beef tongue can weigh from 2 to 5 pounds (0.9 to 2.3 kg), but smaller tongues are considered the best. Calves’ tongues lack flavor, although they are tender. Lambs’ tongues weigh about 1/4 pound (0.1 kg) and are often sold fresh or pickled; most pigs’ tongues are used commercially. To cook tongue, blanch it starting in cold water, drain, and then simmer until tender. Skin the tongue while still hot or warm. The skin is hard to remove when the tongue is completely cold. It is essential that a tongue be thoroughly cooked and tender; it is almost impossible to overcook. VARIETY MEATS/OFFAL Sweetbreads from young animals are prized for their delicate flavor and a smooth creamy texture. There are two kinds of sweetbreads: stomach sweetbreads (also known as heart or belly sweetbreads), which are an animal’s pancreas, and neck (throat or gullet) sweetbreads, which are an animal’s thymus gland. The thymus sweetbreads are more irregular in shape than pancreas sweetbreads and are considered less flavorful. Sweetbreads from milk-fed veal or young calves are the most desirable because of their firm texture and delicate flavor; they should be compact and white with no traces of pink (pinkness indicates that the animal was not milk fed). Lambs’ sweetbreads are smaller than calves’ sweetbreads and are white and tender. Baby beef sweetbreads are redder in color than those of calves and lambs, but they also can be tough. The thymus gland shrinks as the animal ages, so it is not found in older cattle or sheep. Raw sweetbreads often have a layer of fat and a sinewy outer membrane, which must be removed. To prepare sweetbreads, soak them for 3 to 5 hours in a cold-water acidic bath, changing the water several times. The soaking process makes the membrane easier to remove and removes any remaining enzymes and blood. Once the sweetbreads are peeled, deveined, and washed, they can be blanched and pressed. Brains must be very fresh and firm with a bright color. Calves’ and sheeps’ brains are considered the best, and pigs’ brains are also available. To prepare brains, soak them for 2 to 3 hours in salted water, changing the water every hour. Wash thoroughly in warm water to remove all traces of blood, then blanch and drain. Rinse the blanched brains and trim away any skin or membrane. Traditionally brains are poached in a court bouillon until just firm before the final cooking method. Liver is probably the most popular variety meat. Liver is usually fried or sautéed, but it can also be braised as one piece. Calves’ liver has the most delicate flavor when sautéed. Pigs’ liver has a very pronounced flavor and is best added to stuffing, pâtés, and terrines. Kidneys typically used for cooking come from beef, veal, lamb, and pork. Veal and lamb kidneys are a delicacy; they are usually broiled or sautéed. The shape of the kidney depends on its source. Beef and veal kidneys are multilobed and elongated. Lamb and pork kidneys are single-lobed and bean shaped. Kidneys from young animals have a more delicate flavor and a tender texture. Young animals’ kidneys are usually pale; those from mature animals are a deep reddish brown. Select kidneys that are firm and have a glossy, even color without dry spots. To prepare kidneys, remove the white membrane around the kidney by using a pair of scissors to snip the membrane from the core. Then peel the membrane back with your fingers and remove any excess fat. Kidneys may be soaked in vinegar or lemon water to reduce the strong odor. Pork and large beef kidneys should be soaked in milk or cold salted water for 2 hours to minimize their strong taste. Veal kidneys are often cut into slices and sautéed. Lamb kidneys are usually cut in half to complete cleaning. Pigs’ kidneys may be broiled or sautéed like lamb and veal kidneys, but they are best treated like beef kidneys because they have a strong flavor. Beef kidneys are typically braised or stewed. Tripe is the stomach lining of a number of animals, but usually comes from oxen, cows, or sheep. Beef tripe is normally what is found in a professional food service environment. Each of the stomach chambers renders a different type of tripe. Cuts from the second chamber are considered the best; they are tender and have a subtle flavor. The popular honeycomb type of tripe, the most expensive and prized, comes from the second chamber. Tripe should be white or pale in color. All tripe is sold cleaned, washed, and blanched. Tripe needs long, slow cooking. Tripe can be found in most cuisines, not only in Europe and Latin America, but also in Asia;. Chitterlings, or chitlins, are the small intestines of a young pig. They are typically stewed or braised until tender, then sautéed or deep-fried. Pigs’ trotters and calves’ feet are bought whole or split in half and are used for making strong, gelatinous stock; consommés; and aspic. TRIMMING Many cuts of meat and poultry have some fat that you want to cut away before cooking. Visible, or surface, fat is usually trimmed. Sometimes, you will want to leave a thin layer of fat to provide natural basting, especially during long, slow cooking methods such as roasting or braising. For quick-cooking methods such as sautéing, you may need to remove the fat completely. Another portion of the meat or poultry that you may need to remove before cooking is any gristle, sinew, or silverskin, because they do not cook at the same speed as the lean meat tissue. Silverskin is a tough membrane that surrounds some cuts of meat. It gets its name from its somewhat silvery color. Silverskin is likely to shrink when exposed to heat. When it shrinks, it can cause meats to buckle and cook unevenly. As you trim meats and poultry, work carefully to be sure that you do not cut away edible meat. Silverskin SHAPING A MEDALLION Boneless cuts from the loin or tenderloin of beef, veal, lamb, or pork may be called medallions, noisettes (so named because they are like little nuts of meat), or grenadins (large cuts from the loin). The terms noisette and medallion are often used interchangeably to refer to a small, boneless, tender cut of meat. Tournedos and châteaubriand are special terms generally used only for beef tenderloin cuts. Medallions—small, round pieces of meat—are cut from the tenderloin. After the medallions are cut, they are then wrapped in cheesecloth and molded to give them a compact, uniform shape. Not only does this give the meat a more pleasing appearance, it also helps the medallion cook evenly. CUTTING AND POUNDING CUTLETS A meat cutlet or scallop is a thin, boneless cut of meat, which may come from the loin, the tenderloin, or any other sufficiently tender cut of meat, such as the top round. Cutlet, scaloppini in Italian, and escalope in French are different words for the same cut and are used as fitting in a menu’s particular style. CUBING AND MINCING MEATS Meats for stewing and grinding are usually tougher and fattier than other meats. To be sure that your stews are tender and flavorful, remove gristle or silverskin that may not soften beforethe meat is overcooked. To cut meats for grinding, be sure that your cuts are small enough to slide easily through the feed tube of the grinder MINCING MEATS FOR SAUTÉS The French word for this cut is émincé, or cut into slivers. Because the meat is generally sautéed, choose a tender cut. TYING A ROAST Tying a roast with secure knots that have the right tension is one of the simplest and most frequently required types of meat fabrication. It ensures that the roast will be evenly cooked and that it will retain its shape after roasting. Although simple, the technique is often one of the most frustrating to learn. For one thing, knot tying is not always easy. As long as the string is taut enough to give the roast a compact shape without being too tight, however, the result will be fine. GRINDING MEATS Grinding meat calls for scrupulous attention to safe food-handling practices. See the box titled “Guidelines for Grinding Meats” for guidelines to obtain best results. Summary Many meat fabrication techniques are the same for different species. Understanding the characteristics of the species and the specific cuts will give you the knowledge to determine how the item is best prepared, including what fabrication method and cooking technique to use. Review Questions 1. What is the difference between inspection and grading of animals? 2. What is the difference between quality grading and yield grading? 3. What is a packer’s grade? 4. What breeds of cattle are typically used for beef production? 5. What breeds of cattle are used for dairy and veal production? Why are they not the same as for beef production? 6. What are the grades of beef? 7. What are the four primal cuts of beef? 8. What are the grades of veal? 9. How is pork fabricated differently from other animals? 10. What is silverskin? What effect does silverskin have on meat when it is exposed to heat?
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