All About Meat For Consumers


Be Smart. Keep Foods Apart.

Don’t Cross-Contaminate.

Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards, utensils, etc., if they are not handled properly. This is especially true when handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood, so keep these foods and their juices away from already cooked or ready-to-eat foods and fresh produce. When handling foods, it is important to Be Smart, Keep Foods Apart — Don’t Cross-Contaminate. By following these simple steps, you can prevent cross-contamination and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

When Shopping:
Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery-shopping cart. Place these foods in plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. It is also best to separate these foods from other foods at check out and in your grocery bags.

When Refrigerating Food:

Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Raw juices often contain harmful bacteria.
Store eggs in their original carton and refrigerate as soon as possible.

When Preparing Food:
Wash hands and surfaces often. Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
To prevent this:
Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers; or handling pets.
Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills. Washcloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water may be used to sanitize surfaces and utensils.

Cutting Boards:

Always use a clean cutting board.
If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them.

Marinating Food:

Always marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Sauce that is used to marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood should not be used on cooked foods unless it is boiled just before using.

When Serving Food:

Always use a clean plate.
Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.

When Storing Leftovers:

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours or sooner in clean, shallow, covered containers to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying.


For Beef Grading Go HERE

The following is the path that great beef steaks and roasts take to get to your favorite meat case.
The weights are approximates.
Today the carcass, in most cases, is processed at the packinghouse into primal cuts for delivery to retail market.
For the purpose of this article will will assume the carcass is delivered to the retail market in hindquarters and forequarters, just like it was in the old days.

Live weight 1200—–Carcass weight 590 lbs

This is the path from beef carcass to individual beef cuts.

Carcass to Primals Path
(1)Chuck to Sub-Primals (i.e. Shoulder Clod)
(2) Sub Primal to Individual Cuts (i.e. Beef Clod Roast)

The Beef carcass consists of a FOREQUARTER and HINDQUARTER.
The Beef carcass has 13 ribs.
The FOREQUARTER is separated from the HINDQUARTER between the 12th and 13th rib, leaving 1 rib on the HINDQUARTER and 12 ribs on the FOREQUARTER

The forequarter is separated into two primals, CHUCK (ribs 1 to 5 inclusive) and RIB (ribs 6 to 12 inclusive)

The hindquarter is separated into two primals, ROUND and LOIN

Primals are groups of muscles from a particular section of the carcass.

Sub-Primals are produced, from the Primals, by meat cutters at retail market meat departments.

NOTE: The amount of Beef processed and boxed at the packing house, and delivered to supermarkets, began to grow in the 1970s.
Very little beef comes into retail operations in carcass form anymore.
I suspect, with the interest in grass-fed beef, this might change back going forward

Sub-Primals are then cut into individual cuts.

Beef cuts can be single muscles (ribeye) or can include sections of several muscles (Porterhouse (part of tenderloin & top loin)

Cuts from the center of the animal (LOIN & RIB ), which get little or no exercise, are the tender cuts, cooked using DRY HEAT
Cuts from the CHUCK or ROUNDwhich get the most exercise, are the tough cuts, cooked using MOIST HEAT

Cut names may vary from region to region or country to country.

Popular Cuts From Each Primal.
Bone-in cuts in RED
Stew meat can be made from any part of the primals.
Meat for grinding can be made from any of the primals.
CHUCK…generally requires MOIST HEAT Method (described here)
Sub Primal: Brisket
chuck blade steak—chuck blade roast—chuck 7-bone steak—chuck 7-bone roast—o-bone steak—o-bone roast—boneless chuck steak—boneless chuck roast—chuck eye steak—chuck eye roast—flat iron steak—shoulder clod roast-shoulder steak—brisket whole—brisket flatcut—brisket point cut—petite roast—flanken ribs—neck pot roast
Other Names: western grillers—cross rib roast—english cut roast—espaldilla

RIBusually cooked using DRY HEAT Methods (described here)
Sub Primal: Plate
rib steak large end–rib steak small end–rib
roast( ribs 9-12)–large end rib roast ( ribs 6-9)–whole rib roast–boneless ribeye steak–boneless ribeye roast–beef back ribs
Other Names:Delmonico steak/roast–Market steak–Spencer steak–Standing rib roast

LOINusually cooked using DRY HEAT methods
Sub-Primals: Short Loin–Headloin.

t-bone steak–porterhouse steak–top loin steak–top loin steak–top loin roast
Other Names: new york steak–new york strip steak–new york strip roast–shell roast
strip loin roast–Kansascity steak–filet mignon–filet steak-chateaubriand

top sirloin–top sirloin roast–bottom sirloin steak–bottom sirloin roast–tritip steak-tritip roast–tenderloin steak–tenderloin roast–sirloin butt
Other Names: filet mignon–filet steak–chateaubriand–culotte–triangle–cattleman steak–

ROUNDgenerally requires MOIST HEAT methods
Sub Primal; Knuckle
round steak full cut—round steak full cut—top round steak—top round roast—bottom round steak—bottom round roast—eye round steak—eye round roast—sirloin tip steak—sirloin tip roast—silverside roast—rump roast—rump roast—watermelon roast—heel of round roast—hind shank—
Other Names: london broil—milanesa-


Typical Yields From A Beef Carcass
Live Weight
Dressing %
Slaughter Weight
Top Round
Bottom Round
Stew/ Ground
Fat/ Bone
Strip Steak
Sirloin teak
Tenderloin Steak
Stew/ Ground
Fat/ Bone
Rib Roast
Rib Steak
Short Ribs
Stew/ Ground
Fat/ Bone
Blade Roast/ Steak
Arm Roast/ Steak
Cross Rib Pot Roast
Stew/ Ground
Fat/ Bone
Flank, Brisket, ect.
Flank Steak
Pastrami Squares
Outside Skirt
Inside Skirt
Boneless Brisket
Stew/ Ground
Fat/ Bone
Kidney, Hanging Tend.
Breaking Fat
1100 Pounds
% of Carcass Wgt  Pounds
4.85% 32.5
4.38% 29.4
2.36% 15.8
1.09% 7.3
4.68% 31.4
4.49% 30.1
2.75% 18.5
1.37% 9.2
2.10% 14.1
2.15% 14.4
0.95% 6.4
3.18% 21.3
3.72% 25.0
3.23% 21.7
1.29% 8.7
1.21% 8.1
2.31% 15.5
1.18% 7.9
4.75% 31.9
4.98% 33.4
3.56% 23.9
11.68% 78.4
4.40% 29.5
0.50% 3.4
0.41% 2.8
0.31% 2.1
0.35% 2.3
2.24% 15.0
12.24% 82.1
2.82% 18.9
0.69% 4.6
3.90% 26.2
Total Yield
In Lbs

Cooking Methods Described

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Roasting is to cook foods by surrounding them in dry heat usually in an oven or by spit roasting over an open fire or on an outdoor grill.

Broiling is to cook foods at a high temperature with an overhead heat source, four to six inches below the heat source. meat is usually only turned once during cooking

Sauteing is to cook fast in a small amount of fat. The pan should be preheated to allow the food to be seared quickly.


In this method of cooking, the food is cooked using convection heating. The food is put into an enclosed area where heat is then applied and the movement of heat within the confined space, acts on the food to cook.

Boiling is cooking in liquid at 212 °F at sea level. The liquid may be water, a seasoned liquid, wine, stock, or a mixture
to 205 Simmering is cooking in a liquid just below the boiling point. The temperature of the liquid is 185 °F
Poaching is to cook in a liquid that is not actually bubbling at 165°F to 180 °F It is usually used to cook delicate foods such as fish and eggs.


In the process of cooking using the stewing method, food is cooked using a lot of liquid. Different kinds of vegetables are chopped, diced or cubed and added to the pot with pieces of selected meat, fish or chicken is also chopped and added to the stew. The liquid is slightly thickened and the stewed food is served in that manner.


Grilling is done an on open grid or grate over a heat source.
The heat source can be electric,charcoal, or a gas flame.

There are two types of frying:

Pan frying is done in a moderate amount of fat over moderate heat.
This method is used for larger pieces of meat, turned more than once during cooking.

Deep fat frying
is to fry foods completely submerged in fat, meat must be fried at 350°F to 360°F degrees to minimize fat absorption of the nutrients are not lost in cooking.

The method of cooking food by barbequing is usually associated with fund raising activities, parties or picnics. It is most suitable to cooking meat cutlets, fish or chicken pieces. The food is usually marinated with spices and tenderizers (for meat cuts) for sometime before it is cooked. With this method of cooking, a sheet of metal with stands is heated up and oil is used to cook the food. A sufficient amount of oil is heated up and the food is added.


Steaming is cooking foods by exposing them directly to steam, on a rack above the boiling liquid, by wrapping foods tightly, or in a covered pan allowing the food to cook in its own steam, it is a good method for fish, not meat.

To cook food items briefly in boiling water is known as blanching, meats are placed in cold water and brought to a boil or placed directly into boiling water.
After a brief cooking time, they are removed and plunged in ice water to stop the cooking process and to set the color. Meats are blanched briefly to leach out impurities or salt.