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Recognize cuts

When it comes to cooking a delicious dish, finding the perfect cut or the ideal seasoning is the key to surprising diners. Here's how to do it. The constitution of the animal, local habits and sometimes even the needs of the market mean that the method and names for cutting the beef are different depending on the Italian region of origin.

We need to clarify so as not to make mistakes and risk choosing the wrong cut of meat!

The age of cattle

The different cuts of beef meat are obtained from animals that respond to different ages and characteristics. Having a general overview that allows you to identify the type of cattle is useful for knowing how to choose.

The calf
Veal is a bovine that is slaughtered between 5 and 7 months of life. It offers pink meat rich in water since the animal is raised only on milk from birth.

The veal
The young calf is between 8 and 12 months old. From an animal with these characteristics we obtain a valuable meat, especially in terms of nutritional values ​​given that it is very rich in proteins.

The female heifer
The female heifer is precisely a female that varies between 14 and 16 months of age. It is used for reproduction and milk production. It has very similar characteristics to veal, with the difference that slaughter takes place with weight control: it must be less than 5 quintals to offer cuts of meat that are not excessively fatty.

The hot one
The scottona is a female aged between 16 and 22 months with the peculiarity that she has not reproduced. It is also called manzarda and offers very tender meat thanks to the presence of infiltrating fat.

Adult cattle
The adult bovine can be male or female, is over 12 months old and is classified into categories from A to E:

  • A : Male under 24 months of age
  • B : Male over 24 months of age
  • C : Castrated male
  • D : Female who has already given birth
  • E : Female who has never given birth

The beef
The male is a neutered male and has an age ranging between 1 and 4 years. Its cuts of meat are quite tasty and rich in nutrients. The softness and ability to offer tender meat depends on the age at which it is slaughtered and the type of feeding.

The Ox
The ox is a castrated male who has exceeded the age of 4 years. It was usually used as a working animal and employed by farmers who needed more strength to drag manual tools.

The cow
The cow is the female bovine which, after giving birth to calves, is slaughtered. Generally around 6 and 8 years of age. Today it is used in large-scale retail trade to create industrial preparations, offering lean meats that are rather poor in flavor and proteins.

How is cattle slaughtered ?

The animal is divided into two parts called half-carcasses which in turn are divided into quarters with the addition of a fifth quarter. The front quarter includes the neck, shoulder, part of the side and chest. The hindquarter contains the thigh, belly and part of the back and loin. The so-called fifth quarter is composed of the head and all offal: heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, tripe, brain, tongue and tail.

In addition to the cut, it is necessary to know the classification given to the meat. With rare exceptions, which recall fine meats corresponding to a specific specification, such as Japanese wagyu meat, we tend to classify cuts of meat into three categories: from the most valuable to the cheapest. The factors that differentiate the three categories are given by the thickness of the muscle mass, the quality of the fat and the connective tissue present.

First class cuts of meat

Excellent for a succulent grill, the first-class cuts of meat come from the hindquarter and more precisely from the lumbar back and thigh. To obtain tender meat it is necessary to use the cut that has the lowest percentage of connective tissue. The muscles of the back, being part of an anatomical area that undergoes little movement during the animal's life, represent the ideal cut of meat.

Among the first category cuts of meat there are: the loin, the fillet, the rump, the external rump, the walnut, the internal rump and the thigh round. All rich in quality and with little fat, they are mainly suitable for grilling, but can also be used for roasts and stews.

The loin
The loin is obtained from the back of the bovine and can be either front or rear. It belongs to the first category because it offers a fine cut of meat especially in Tuscany near Florence.

The ribs are obtained from the front part, while the rear cut provides the Florentine steaks: those with the T-bone that separates the fillet from the counter fillet, good with everything! Rare, well done or medium rare, the Florentine steak is a jewel in the crown of Tuscan cuisine.

If deboned, the sirloin is transformed into other equally delicious cuts of meat. Roast beef and steaks used as cuts are the result of removing the bone from the sirloin.

The sirloin is the cut of meat that everyone can agree on. In America, for example, the famous T-Bone and Porterhouse are made from this part of the bovine.

The fillet
The poorly developed muscles, as the part under the loin has no nerves, offers the finest cut of meat called fillet .

The fillet is a very particular and quite rare cut, in fact only two can be obtained from one animal for a maximum weight of 6 kg. The fillet is also a cut of meat that is suitable for grilling. It allows faster cooking and can turn into a succulent roast.

The rump
The rump is that part that divides the fillet from the hip of the animal. It is a very lean cut of meat that adapts to different cooking methods: from the grill to the pan without losing its flavor. It is a rather lean cut of meat, which is why if chosen in the final part of the animal - called the tail - it is ideal for stews and stews.

The external topside
Together with the fillet, the external rump represents the finest cut of meat. The distinctive characteristic is the low presence of fat and connective tissue, for these reasons it lends itself to the preparation of cutlets, roasts, stews and roast beef, perhaps with the addition of grains of coarse salt and a few slices of lemon.

The walnut
The nut is a large cut and is taken from the outside of the thigh, just before the start of the hip. This cut of meat is also suitable for multiple uses: from roast to a slightly thicker slice, it manages to be a multifaceted ingredient as it is characterized by the almost absence of fat and connective tissue.

The internal topside
Next to the nut is the internal rump which is a muscle located on the upper inner part of the thigh. If the stew is the next dish to be cooked, this cut of meat is ideal, it is also suitable for breaded slices and pizzaiola-style meat.

Being a very lean cut of meat, the internal rump requires cooking rich in ingredients capable of creating a sauce to release all its flavour.

The thigh walker
Very lean meat, this is the main characteristic that the thigh round offers. It is obtained from the outside and back part of the thigh. Its imposing and rectangular shape makes the thigh round suitable for making roasts and roast beef. Like the internal rump, the thigh round prefers moist grilled cooking.

Second category cuts of meat

Second category cuts of meat are rich in fat and cartilage, which is why they are more suitable for stewing or roasting. The front quarter is a section of the animal that offers second category cuts, in particular they are obtained from the back, ribs and shoulder, and are: the fish, the shoulder fesone, the cover, the shoulder drumstick, the royal cut , the royal fusel, the chest, the pocket and the flap.

The fish
Fish is a highly prized part of beef and is obtained from the rear part of the animal near the leg attachment. Stews, stews, casseroles and boiled meats have a section of fish as their main ingredient, generally the internal part.

The shoulder feson
The chops are obtained from the fesone and are obtained from a cut between the scapular-humeral joint and the under-shoulder. Braised meats, cutlets and escalopes find the ideal part of beef in shoulder fesone to release all its qualities and enhance the flavor of the secondary ingredients.

The cover
The cover is obtained from the front part of the bovine and contains the shoulder muscles. On the cover you can notice a slight marbling which is also found in the famous Japanese meat. Being a very lean cut of meat, it lends itself to dishes defined as "poor" such as boiled meats or ham. If it is chosen for stews and goulash it can offer a good result even if it is not the ideal cut of meat.

The shoulder stud
Shoulder drumstick is the ideal cut of meat for roasts, stews, stews, chops and boiled meats. Very similar to the shoulder walker, it comes from its back cut. To increase its value, you can use the shoulder drumstick accompanied by other cuts that lend themselves to the desired cooking. This is why we offer different cuts in the boxes that are suitable for similar preparations!

The real cut
The most renowned cut among those in the second category is the royal cut: it comes from the muscles of the first 5 anterior dorsal vertebrae. The meat is mixed: not too lean, not too fatty.

Precisely because of this characteristic middle ground, it lends itself to preparations such as boiled meats, roasts and stews. It is the cut we usually use for our roast .

The royal chop
The royal chop is obtained between the neck and loin in the front part of the beef. If stews and cutlets are a must have in most cuts of beef, the royal chop does not disdain baking.

The chest is a large area that starts from the neck and ends with the belly of the cattle. This is why it can be divided into two other areas called brisket and bow. The consistency of the breast is rather fatty and tasty, which is why it lends itself perfectly to the preparation of boiled meats accompanied by mustard or green sauce, or even for braised meats rich in vegetables and shaded with red wine.

The flap
The shoulder of the bovine offers a cut with a bizarre name: priest's hat or fin. This cut of meat is found in the front part of the animal and is obtained from the shoulder cover.

The pocket
The pocket is obtained from the hind quarter of the cattle, immediately under the nut. It is a tender, triangular-shaped meat that is often served in the kitchen with a tasty filling.

Third category cuts

Third category meats are perfect for long cooking such as broths, boiled meats, or for being minced. The presence of an abundant quantity of fat makes them less valuable and relegated to the third step of the podium, nevertheless they offer a stronger flavor and if added to more valuable cuts they increase the flavor of the dish. Among the third category cuts there are: posterior and anterior geretto, belly and neck.

The posterior and anterior geretto
The geretto is a bundle of 13 muscle fibers obtained from the leg at the tibia. The steaks obtained are generally circular in shape and with the bone in the center containing the marrow. The most common and used name for the posterior and anterior geretto is the osso buco. Perfect for stewed preparations and broths.

The tummy
The alternation between fat and muscle provides good tenderness to this cut of meat. In addition to this characteristic, the belly has no particular requirements, which is why it is the part that is best suited to different cooking methods and the preparation of different dishes such as: minced meat for ragù, burgers and meatballs.

The neck
The neck is easy to identify precisely because it corresponds to this part of the animal. The neck is mainly used for the preparation of broths, meatballs and minced meat thanks to the presence of fat and connective tissue. For the same reason, it is not recommended to use the neck to bring steaks and ribs to the table.

Finding the ideal cut of meat is the first step to unleashing your imagination and bringing delicious dishes to the table. Choose the box that contains the qualities you need and wait for delivery! Do you know the different names that cuts of meat take on in the different regions of Italy ?