Cuts of meat which bit comes from where

By : | 0 Comments | On : January 11, 2017 | Category : Food Fact, General

cuts of meat

Cuts of meat which bit comes from where.

I left school at the tender age of 15 and my first job was a trainee butcher. It was hard work and early mornings but I learned a lot about meat and where it came from and not just out of a delivery lorry!

I did have to visit a slaughter house on numerous occasions and witnessed the whole process. I found it bizarrely fascinating and at that age a tad disturbing. However, I needed to know everything from farm to table.

Most of us just go to the supermarket and buy prepackaged cuts of meat or to our butchers without really thinking about which bit of the animal it comes from. I’m sure some of you wonder which bit of the cow brisket comes from.

Let’s look at Beef first.

Click the image to enlarge.

beef cuts

On average, a 750lb beef carcass gives approximately 520lb of retail cuts. One of the few things I remember from that long ago. There are now cuts available in the supermarkets that I don’t really understand.

For example; what on earth is silverside salmon cut. It appears to be almost triangular in shape. The texture looks close grained with hardly any marbling.  Just look at the difference between the two below.




In most butchers, certainly the one I worked it looked like this. I know which one I would prefer.


Meat produced for the large supermarket is in my opinion inferior. Compare the two images above. The so called salmon cut from a supermarket has little or no fat cap compared to the example from a butcher in the image below.

The supermarket version is also immature as you can see from it’s bright pink colour. The butchers example is much darker due to the ageing process, this develops flavour and tenderness.

I digress. The aim of this post is to give you an idea of where these cuts come from.

So on to pork.

Click the image to enlarge.


I love pork. Proper pork that is. I know I keep banging on about supermarket offerings but you just can’t beat free range. Yes it’s more expensive from the butchers.

I agree that not everyone can afford to shop in the butchers. So the thing with pork is to look out for a piece that has a lot of fat under the skin. I buy from supermarkets too so the two things I look for are; is it British and does it have loads of fat.

Now here is the difference.



Free range.


The supermarket offering has the skin wrapped around and underneath. There is very little fat.

The butchers free range version is slightly darker, has the skin cut where it should be and plenty of fat.


Click on the image to enlarge.


So I’m not going to bang on about Lamb. Well apart from if you can afford it and I can’t, buy Welsh spring lamb leg or shoulder. And for goodness sake cook it slowly.

As an example try my recipe for Lamb braised in Beaujolais.

I hope you find the charts interesting. At least now you can find out where silverside comes from!

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