Meat Cuts Descriptions

Dear Customer,

In answer to many of your inquiries, we have put together a resource document for you to use as a reference regarding the different cuts of meat per meat type.  We have gathered this information from multiple sources and have sited those sources.  If you believe there is misinformation, please do send us email with information, site, source etc and we will be happy to review and post.

As always, many thanks for making this a resource site for the betterment of others.


Norwich Meadows Farm



Goat meat is reported by the US Department of Agriculture to be lower in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey. It is also higher in protein and iron than any of these meats. Goat meat is high in vitamin B12 and has balanced amino acids. Because it has such little fat compared to other meats, goat can become tough when cooked at high temperatures. Therefore, slow cooking with low, moist heat such as with stews and braises are best, while marinating the meat before high heat methods such a grilling or roasting is also recommended.

Boneless Goat Stew-Diced, boneless goat meat is prepared from any portion of the carcass but will usually exclude the shin/shank muscles. This cut of meat is good for stews, braising and slow cook dishes.

Bone-in Goat Stew-Cubed mutton/goat pieces are prepared from any portion of the carcass and Bone-in pieces prepared from a combination of carcass primal. This cut of meat is good for stews, soups and crock pot dishes.

Leg Stew-Whole leg of goat (upper and lower); made great for roasting and stews because of its combination of bone to meat ratio and fat around the tendons.

Leg Bone-In– The goat leg is a thick but tender meat cut ideal for braising, stewing or roasting. The upper part of the leg is the cut with the most meat. Cooking it at a low temperature tenderizes the meat even more. Moist heat methods are typically used on tougher cuts of meat but work well on the leg. It can be cooked with vegetables and made into a stew. Grilling leg meat is another way to cook it, but because it is a thick cut of meat, it should be butterflied first so it can cook quickly. Leg of goat can also be roasted at a low temperature.

Shank– Shanks are cuts with a big bone from the lower part of the animal’s leg. The shank is good for braises, stews and for roasting.

Shoulder/Roast– Goat shoulder (i.e., a cut of the shoulder muscle) is a tougher cut of goat meat but is perfect for braising. The tougher cuts of meat should be cooked with moist heat to tenderize it, and braised goat meat should always be cooked until well done. Marinating the shoulder first and slow-cooking it for about two hours will make the most of this cut. Shoulder is another cut that is good for stew but can also be broiled or roasted.

Ribs-Goat ribs, like beef ribs, can be tenderized by cooking with a moist heat at a low temperature. Although goat meat is slightly tougher than other rib meat, it’s just as tasty. Barbecued goat ribs are a good choice for grilling and can be also be cooked in a pan and wrapped in tinfoil for a slow cooking method. When cooked long enough, goat ribs will fall off the bone. Goat ribs are exactly what they are termed..the rib cage of the Goat.

Loin– Loin chops, the part of the goat between the lower ribs and low part of the back, are some of the tenderest parts of the goat. This cut of meat is perfect for grilling or sautéing. It can be easily marinated for grilling, which will further tenderize it, as well as sautéed with some butter or cooking oil. Cooking the chop to a medium rare temperature is considered the best temperature for goat loin chop. A goat loin roast can also be cooked in the oven. Frying is another good technique for this cut of meat.

Neck –Goat neck does not consist of much meat, but packs plenty of flavor. It is best when used for marinades and stocks, or slow cooked/braised or stewed.

Kidney-Goat kidney is to be treated as the liver would of any animal; a quick cook. Cooking too long will make the meat rubbery and tough, fried or in a rice dish/pilaf will allow for the meat to remain moist and tender.




Loin Chop – This is a higher end cut than the rib or shoulder chop. Lamb loin chops contain part of the backbone. Muscles include the eye of the loin (separated from the tenderloin by T-shaped finger bones) and the flank. Kidney fat is on the top of the tenderloin, and the outer surface is covered with fat, but with the fell (a thin, paper-like covering) removed. The loin chops include only a chine bone. Loin chops look like little T-bone steaks and have a generous portion of meat. Lamb loin chops are usually prepared by broiling, grilling, pan-broiling, or pan-frying.

Shoulder Chop– Shoulder chops are usually considered inferior to loin chops. Budget-friendly shoulder chops are larger and a bit chewier and fattier than the other versions. They are best for Pan-frying, roasting, broiling, and grilling.

Rib Chop– Rib chops are cut from the rack, have a long bone on the side and are prized for their tenderness. Lamb rib chops contain backbone and, depending on the thickness, a rib bone. The chops have a meaty area consisting of rib eye muscle. These are also cut to certain thicknesses so that they can be quickly cooked by grilling, broiling or frying. Lamb rib chops are usually prepared by broiling, grilling, pan-broiling, pan-frying, roasting, or baking.

Leg bone-in– Taken from the hindquarters, a leg typically weighs 8 to 10 pounds and feeds 6 to 8 people. Cutting a leg open from the middle creates a butterflied leg. This yields thin steaks that lie flat and cook faster, which are ideal for grilling. A butterflied leg can also be rolled and stuffed with a mixture of garlic and herbs. Roasting and grilling are best cooking options for this cut of meat.

Leg Boneless-The same methods of cooking for bone-in legs are used but with a shorter cook time.

Neck– Lamb neck does not consist of much meat, but packs plenty of flavor. It is best when used for marinades and stocks, or slow cooked/braised or stewed.

Riblets– Lamb riblets are the bones cut from the spareribs on the lamb near the lamb’s shoulder. They are a small, tender cut of meat. Lamb riblets are among the most versatile of the cuts of lamb because they can be grilled, braised or even pressure cooked, and they will remain tender and juicy if they are cooked correctly. However, like other cuts of lamb, you should still marinate the riblets for maximum flavor and tenderness, or the riblets can dry out and become tough.

Kidney– Grass-fed lamb kidneys will make a great tasting kidney stew and a perfect venue to increase organ meats in the diet from grass-fed lambs.100 gram serving of lamb kidney will yield ~ 15 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 0.2 grams carbohydrate and 97 calories. Good for stewing/braising.

Stew – bone-in– Lamb for stew consists of meaty pieces of lamb with a small amount of fat, cut into one- to two-inch squares. It is usually prepared by braising or by cooking in liquid.

Shank– Lamb shank is cut from the arm of shoulder, contains leg bone and part of round shoulder bone, and is covered by a thin layer of fat and fell (a thin, paper-like covering).Lamb shank is a cut of meat from the upper part of the leg. Slow cooking and stewing are good for this cut.



Angus Beef:

The American Angus Association set up the “Certified Angus Beef” brand in 1978. The goal of this brand was to promote the idea that Angus beef was of higher quality than beef from other breeds of cattle. Cattle are eligible for “Certified Angus Beef” evaluation if they are at least 51% black and exhibit Angus influence. They must meet all 10 of the following criteria, which were refined in January 2007 to further enhance product consistency, to be labeled “Certified Angus Beef” by USDA Graders:

  • Modest or higher degree of marbling
  • Medium or fine marbling texture
  • “A” maturity
  • 10 to 16 square-inch ribeye area
  • Less than 1,000-pound hot carcass weight
  • Less than 1-inch fat thickness
  • Moderately thick or thicker muscling
  • No hump on the neck exceeding 5 cm (2″)
  • Practically free of capillary rupture
  • No dark cutting characteristics

Hereford Beef:

Genetically, Hereford has a very small, nearly non-existent, fat eye in the center of the prime rib. Hereford beef is known for its natural flavor and authentic beef taste. It is recognized for its rich steak cuts and consistency.


Bottom Round Roast– The round is the rear leg of the cow. A frequently used muscle, the meat from this area is lean but tough. A bit tough and best suited as corned beef or pot roast.

Chuck Roast– A thicker version of the Chuck Steak is sold as a “7-Bone Roast” or “chuck roast” and is usually cooked with liquid as a pot roast. The bone-in chuck steak or roast is one of the more economical cuts of beef.

Eye Round Roasts– This is a boneless roast that looks like tenderloin, but it is much tougher. It is typically used as a roast or cut into steaks. Steaks cut from the roast are used in stews or processed into cube steak.

Tenderloin Roasts– The central section of the Psoas major muscle in the Short loin primal of the steer. It is extremely tender with an almost buttery texture. It is also very low in fat. Pan frying or grilling because of low fat content, basting with oil/butter will help retain moisture of meat.

High-End Cuts:

Filet Mignon – This is a higher end cut of meat because of its portion size and meat content. When cut as a large, center-cut roast, (feeding two or more) this is the name given to the Tenderloin cut of beef. Typically used for a roast or grill.

NY Strip – This is a higher end cut of meat. This is the Longissimus dorsi muscle, towards the rear-end of the steer in the Short loin primal (that’s the primal just behind the ribs). Tight texture with a definite grain means strip steaks are moderately tender, but still have a bit of chew. It has good marbling and a strong beefy flavor. Not as robust as ribeye, but much easier to trim with no large pockets of fat, making it an easy-to-cook, easy-to-eat cut. A favorite of steakhouses.  Good for Pan-frying, grilling and broiling. It’s easier to grill than ribeyes, as less fat means less burning.

Porterhouse – Also a higher end cut of meat. A rib-eye steak is cut bone-in, meaning that it will still have the rib bone attached. A T-bone or Porterhouse steak also has the rib attached, with the tenderloin on the other side of the bone. A Porterhouse steak is cut from further back and has a section of tenderloin at least 1 1/2-inches wide. Good for grilling/boiling.

Additional Cuts:

Chuck Steak– Chuck steak is a cut of beef and is part of the sub primal cut known as the chuck. The typical chuck steak is a rectangular cut, about 1″ thick and containing parts of the shoulder bones, and is often known as a “7-bone steak”. (This is in reference to the shape of the bone, which resembles the numeral ‘7’, not to the number of bones in the cut.) This cut is usually grilled or broiled.

Flank Steak– The flank steak is a beef steak cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. A relatively long and flat cut, flank steak is used in a variety of dishes and as an alternative to the traditional skirt steak in fajitas. It can be grilled, pan-fried, broiled, or braised for increased tenderness. Though it’s extremely flavorful, flank steak is one of the tougher cuts of beef that can be prepared using moist heat cooking techniques such as braising. Flank steak is also frequently prepared using dry heat cooking methods, in which case it’s a good idea to marinate it well and not overcook it. Popular flank steak recipes include carne asada and beef stir fry. Flank steak can be identified by the characteristic grain of the meat. It’s important to slice flank steak across this grain, not alongside it.

Ribeye Steak – Another higher end cut of meat. This is the front end of the Longissimus dorsi, from the Rib primal of the steer. The further towards the head of the steer you get, the more of the Spinalis muscle you’ll find in your steak—that’s the cap of meat that wraps around the fatter end of the steak.  This cut is highly marbled, allowing for fat to wrap around the meat for even flavor content and moisture when cooked. Fat is where a lot of the distinctive flavor of beef comes from, making ribeye one of the richest, beefiest cut available. The central eye of meat tends to be smooth textured with a finer grain than a strip steak. This steak is great for almost any time of cooking method, but best when pan fried, grilled or broiled.

Sirloin Steak – A medium end cut, not too expensive, but still recognized for its quality and texture. The sirloin steak is a steak cut from the rear back portion of the animal, continuing off the short loin from which T-bone, porterhouse, and club steaks are cut. The sirloin is actually divided into several types of steak. The top sirloin is the most prized of these and is specifically marked for sale under that name. The bottom sirloin, which is less tender and much larger, is typically marked for sale simply as “sirloin steak.” The bottom sirloin in turn connects to the sirloin tip roast. The sirloin is the hip section of the beef, behind the short loin section and in front of the round section.  Some of the sirloin muscles can be cut into flavorful and tender steaks and roasts, while others are not well-suited for steaks or roasts but may be used in stews, for hamburger, and the like. The meat from the sirloin section is much less expensive than that from the short loin and rib section.

T-Bone – Higher end cut, Named the Porterhouse (when tenderloin section is 1 1/2-inches or wider). The T-bone is a two-for-one cut—it’s comprised of a piece of tenderloin, and a piece of strip separated by a T-shaped bone. The regular T-bone is cut from the front end of the Short loin primal, just after the tenderloin starts, giving it a smallish piece of tenderloin (between 1/2- and 1 1/2-inches wide). Good for grilling/boiling.

Top Round Steak– A round steak is the eye (of) round, bottom round, and top round still connected, with or without the “round” bone (femur), and may include the knuckle (sirloin tip), depending on how the round is separated from the loin. This is a lean cut and it is moderately tough. Lack of fat and marbling makes round dry out when cooked with dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or grilling.Round steak is commonly prepared with slow moist-heat methods including braising, to tenderize the meat and maintain moisture.

Brisket– Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef prime cuts. Brisket can be cooked many ways. Basting of the meat is often done during the cooking process. Popular methods include rubbing with a spice rub or marinating the meat, then cooking slowly over indirect heat from charcoal or wood. This is a form of smoking the meat. Barbeque is also a good form of cooking this meat.

Ground Beef– Ground beef can come from anywhere on the cow or steer carcass but, in general is a mixture of ground chuck and ground round. A maximum of 30% fat by weight is allowed in either hamburger or ground beef. Both hamburger and ground beef can have seasonings, but no water, phosphates, extenders, or binders added. Ground beef is often marketed in a range of different fat contents, to match the preferences of different customers.

Short Ribs– Beef short ribs are larger and usually more tender and meatier than other animal ribs. Short ribs are cut from the rib and plate primals and a small corner of the square-cut chuck.A full slab of short ribs is typically about 10 inches square, ranges from 3-5 inches thick, and contains three or four ribs, intercostal muscles and tendon, and a layer of boneless meat and fat which is thick on one end of the slab and thin on the other. Good for barbecuing and braising.

Ox Tail– This is the culinary name for the tail of the cattle. Oxtail is a bony, gelatin-rich meat, which is usually slow-cooked as a stew or braised. It is a good stock base for a soup. Although traditional preparations often involve hours of slow cooking, modern methods usually take a shortcut by utilizing a pressure cooker.

Boneless beef stew– Beef for stew is boneless, pre-cut cubes, typically from the chuck or round. The ideal size for uniform cooking is about a 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch cube. If you prefer to cut your own cubes, any chuck or round cut -except top round – may be used. Trim the excess fat and cut into the appropriate size for your recipe.

Soup Bones– Soup bones add flavor to your soup or broth. The best soup bones have a little meat attached, but clean bones will still add flavor. Use a raw bone, straight from the butcher, or a bone left over from roasted meat or baked ham. For best flavor, a long slow cooking process is needed, but some of the bone’s cooking time can be accomplished while the other soup ingredients are cooking. Soup bones found in stores are usually leg/shank bones. They are round and have marrow and normally cut in about 4 inch lengths.




Heart– Beef heart is not organ meat. It is the purest cut of muscle, just like steaks, except there is very little fat, which means it is tender no matter which way you cut it. It can be braised, or even stuffed.

Kidney– The key to kidneys is to not overcook them unless you need to boil it to make a stew. The kidneys have plenty of nutrients and vitamins.

Liver –This is the most common organ available, particularly beef and veal liver, which fry up well. Chicken livers often are sold separately and can be prepared as chopped liver to use as a spread.

Tongue– Lamb tongue is popular in Middle-Eastern cuisine both as a cold cut and in preparations like stews. The Tongue is very high in fat and can be used in a sauce, boiled with spices and onions, or even pickled.



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