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What part am I eating?

Have you ever been half way through a great piece of meat and wondered....what part of the animal is this? I feel like most people at one point or another have wondered that and since most of us don't kill and butcher our own meat we really have no idea about it. So I thought i'd put together this interesting little blog to help explain what your eating and where it comes from.

Now I know humans eat a wide range of animals but for the most part a large chunk of the meat we consume is either Beef, Pork, or Chicken. And since the chicken doesn't really have many parts worth mentioning, I thought i'd stick to Beef and Pork. 

So I found some really cool butcher charts that diagram what part of the animal correlates to what cut of meat. Let's start with cow!

Feel free to download the photo for a closer look but for the most part i'll break it down like this. 

The top of the back is split into 4 parts, the bottom into 4, and then there's the butt.

The Chuck (closest to the head) is a grab bag of different meats. Most of which you probably don't eat very often...except Short Ribs.

The Ribs (right behind the chuck) is cut into Ribeye Steaks, Rib Roast, and Beef Ribs (soooo good!)

Then you have The Short Loin ( behind the ribs) that gives us the T-bone, Porterhouse, and Tenderloin Steak (aka Filet Minion)

The Sirloin (right before the butt) has your Sirloin, Top Sirloin, and Tri-Tip cuts

The Round (aka the butt) has the rump roast plus any cut with Round in the name

Moving to the bottom of the animal...

The Flank (closest to the dirty parts) has the flank steak

The Short Plate (aka the belly) has the Skirt Steak otherwise known as Carne Asada at every mexican restaurant

And last but not least is the Brisket (the bottom chest area) houses guessed it the Brisket.


And moving on to the lovable Pig!

Unlike cows when most of us think about pigs we usually think of Ham, Ribs, and Bacon. (Especially Bacon)

But we all know there are a ton of different cuts we eat from our little swine friends. Here's the breakdown.

The pig is broken into 4 parts...

The Shoulder - A bunch of random cuts but the most known is probably the cut they use for Coppa Salami

The Loin - Baby Back Ribs, Pork Chops, and Pork Tenderloin

The Leg - Ham and Prosciutto

and The Belly - BACON!!! as well as Pancetta and Spare Ribs. But  mostly BACON!!!!


So there you have it. Next time you get a plate of meat in front of you you'll at least know if your eating the front, back, top, or bottom of the animal who gave it's life for your taste buds to explode.


Till next time!

Charles D. Wizard