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How To Butcher a Cow (Every Cut of Beef Explained)

Steaks, briskets, roasts, beef ribs, every single part of a cow is delicious! Here’s a guide on how to butcher a cow from the guys at Bon Apetit. There are so many different cuts that come out of a steer, therefore we won’t go into how to cut every single one of them. Watch the video below for some great tips on butchering and trimming beef.

Whether you are a butcher, you raise our own animals, or just got a great deal at the local meat market, here’s how to butcher a cow and learn more about every cut of beef imaginable…

How To Butcher a Cow (Every Beef Cut Explained)

For this demonstration, half a steer was used. You can of course apply the exact same principles to the other half!

The first thing you’ll want to do is separate the half steer into its four “primal” cuts (or main sections): The round, the loin, the rib and the chuck. These are larger cuts, but can be managed easier than a whole animal. Each of these main sections produces a multitude of amazing beef cuts. Let’s dive right in!

The Round

The round is the rear leg of the steer, where many great beef cuts come from! Many of them are roasts, and there’s a lot of leaner meat as well. You also get larger bones that are great for bone marrow or stock.

Beef cuts you can get from the Round:

  • Oyster steak
  • Sirloin Tip (Knuckle)
  • Sirloin Tip Steaks
  • Eye Round
  • Roast Beef
  • Bottom Round
  • London Broil Steaks
  • Top Round
  • Shank
  • Osso Buco
  • Femur Bone (for bone marrow)

The Loin

The loin consists of mainly two parts: the drop and the short loin. Some of the most popular beef cuts can be found here, with a great mix of tender and leaner meat to suit all tastes. Here’s what you can expect to find in the loin section:

The Rib

Everyone is familiar with the rib section. Those giganctic dinosaur ribs you’ve seen in the Flinstones? Beef ribs are the closest you’ll get. But that’s not the only cut coming from the Rib Primal. Here’s a list:

The Chuck

There’s a TON of amazing beef in the Chuck- such a variety of flavors and textures, it’s probably the most interesting out of the four Primals.

Hopefully you got a few pointers on how to butcher a cow. Have fun!

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