How do I Order Beef Processing?

raw t-bone steak image by Kathy Burns from

Cutting a beef carcass into retail cuts is known as beef processing. A whole or half carcass is cut into steaks, roasts and other products, customized for the purchaser. An order for beef processing includes information about the cutting and wrapping preferences. The beef carcass is initially cut into seven or more wholesale cuts by the butcher. The wholesale cuts are further processed into retail cuts and the cuts may be boneless or bone-in. After processing, the beef is wrapped in freezer paper, frozen, and has a freezer life of up to one year.

Note the size of the beef carcass and the number of days it will be aged in a cooler prior to cutting and wrapping. An average whole beef carcass is about 600 pounds and ages in the cooler for 10 or more days. Order the desired number of servings per freezer package and the pounds in each ground beef package.

Determine the total pounds of ground beef to wrap and freeze. Approximately 25 percent of the carcass is ground or made into stew meat. Any part of the carcass may be used for ground beef and additional chuck or sirloin may be ground for hamburger.

Calculate the desired thickness of the steaks. T-bone, Porterhouse, filet mignon and strip steaks are cut from the short loin wholesale cut. The filet mignon may also be used for a tenderloin roast.

Order the rib wholesale cut sliced into steaks or whole for a rib roast. If the rib roast is boned, the bones will provide back ribs.

Determine if the sirloin should be cut into steaks, tri-tip roasts, or some of each. The sirloin may also be cut into cubes for kabobs or sliced for stir-fry.

Order the round wholesale cut processed into top and bottom round steaks, eye of round roasts, or round tip roasts. The round steaks may be tenderized to make cube steaks.

Decide the number of steaks or roasts cut from the shoulder or chuck. Chuck roasts or steaks are less tender than steaks from the rib and loin and are often prepared as pot roasts or marinated steaks. Chuck also makes lean ground beef.

Note if the brisket should be left whole, corned or made into ground beef and the flank made into steaks or hamburger.