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Old 11-09-2006, 06:35 PM   #1
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ISO How to prepare/cut meats...?

Recently I've been looking at buying bulk meat packages since I've got a friend in a butcher shop who can get me a good deal. However, I've got no idea how to go about cutting it up into individual servings. On top of that some meat has extra prep-work that needs to put into it even buying off-the-shelf (like ribs with the flap and membrane) that isn't always straightfoward. Is there a central resource (other than asking here) like a web site or book that I can use as a reference for that kind of information?

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Old 11-09-2006, 07:36 PM   #2
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Butchering meat is a trade that is learned during several years of apprenticeship. It's not something that's learned in 10 minutes flat. I daresay a visit to your local library would result in a book which has the information you want. I've hunted for a few minutes on the internet, but didn't come up with anything helpful.

I suggest you ask your butcher friend to cut the meat up for you. For one thing, he knows how to do it, for another he has the necessary equipment (which includes saws for cutting through bone, not to mention mesh gloves for safety!).

Any butcher should be happy to oblige you. It's fair and reasonable that they might ask a small fee for the service. He will question you as to how big you want your roasts, how many steaks or chops you want, whether you want bone in or out, and that sort of thing and then prepare it to your requirements.

Alternately, you could ask your butcher friend if you could spend a day watching him at his work, asking questions and learning that way. Then you'll know whether you want to try it for yourself! It's not as easy as it looks. You might also try to pay a visit to a local abattoir to see if they'll allow you to watch and learn.
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Old 11-09-2006, 08:06 PM   #3
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I've done my share of cutting and packaging meat, Nessin. It helps if you find a diagram, so you know what part of the animal you're dealing with. That will affect whether you cut it into steaks, roasts, etc.
Be sure you have a good cutting board, good sharp knives, and packaging materials. You also might want Bandaids on hand.
For removing the membrane from the ribs, a screwdriver works best. As for the flap, my husband says either leave it on and cook it, or, if it's big enough, trim it off and cook it separately. That's good meat.
Remove any silverskin you can. I suggest you Google "Removing Silverskin". I'd show you how if I could.
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Old 11-10-2006, 07:07 PM   #4
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Try this. Hope it helps. http://virtualweberbullet.com/meatcharts.html
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Old 11-10-2006, 07:46 PM   #5
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See if you can find yourself a copy of NAMPS (North American Meat Processors Association) guide. It's a guide which breaks down primals, subprimals and fabricated cuts.

While it won't hold your hand and guide your knife, it'll give you all the information you need to know about cutting meat.

As someone earlier noted, it's not something that happens overnight.

Ciao,
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:43 PM   #6
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Old (1975), and out of print, but useful, and entertaining. (Amazon has used copies)

Cutting up in the Kitchen, by Merle Ellis.

He was a butcher, that somehow, or other made it onto the talk shows of the time to talk about cutting meat!

Actually, a pretty good instructional book that I used to borrow from the local library, and finally bought.
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:22 PM   #7
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Buying packages of meat in bulk doesn't necessarily mean you need to process it further to get individual portions - unless your butcher friend is selling you primal cuts which have to be broken down to individual fabricated cuts (the various cuts taken from a primal - and what you get from a primal depends on how it is cut). Look at the charts on the page GI Chef gave you a link to - or on the Meatman site (they also have books and videos for sale).

Around here I can buy beef "in bulk" in a couple of ways. I can either get a lot of one cut - or I can buy a 1/2 or 1/4 steer and have it processed into the cuts the way I want them.

Daisy and Constance have both given you some good advice. You will need some equipment - and it takes time to both learn how and to do. Trust me ... it takes a lot longer to process meat using a hand saw than the big electric meat saws the butchers use.

One other source of information is to visit the base library and talk to the librarian and find out which training manual covers meat cutting (or speak to the CPO/PO in charge of your mess and ask them which training manual covers meat cutting). I know the Navy has streamlined a lot of stuff- so they may no longer be buying halves of beef - but you might be able to find an old manual that covers meat processing.

As for a video demonstration on how to remove silver skin ... you can find one here on the FoodNetwork site.
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:44 PM   #8
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The situation depends, if you are just getting big chunks of fresh meat that have to be cut down into smaller pieces (by this I don't mean whole Primals that have be cut down) then it shouldn't take any special knowledge. If he is giving you the meat in it's original vaccum sealed packages (or like in it's Primal form) you are going to have to do more work than you might be willing to. You will definetly need to know your way around the fat and the connective tissue and be able to deal with bones and such things, it might not be worth it. If you want though, I'm sure he might give you some pointers. I always ask my butcher as much as I can about the meat he is cutting... extra knowledge never hurts.
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:59 PM   #9
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I have an old book by Jack Ubaldi which is quite good.

Jack Ubaldi: Books by Jack Ubaldi
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Old 12-08-2006, 11:47 PM   #10
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That's not much of a deal at all. You're going to have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment to take care of this processing. There is going to be a lot of waste as well. Your "friend" doesn't seem to be doing you any unusual favors except selling you meat at his cost. Seems like a friend would throw in a little labor. You need to give him a Christmas card and walk away from this raw deal.
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