The A-Z Glossary of the meat trade.
Aitch Bone Out
A lamb hind leg with the aitch bone and knuckle tip removed leaving the leg, shank and femur bone remaining.
A plant or factory where livestock are slaughtered for food (also known as a processing plant or slaughterhouse)
The process of holding raw meat for a period of time before processing for the purpose of tenderizing and condensing flavour. Dry aging is performed by storing the meat exposed to air under refrigeration.
Evaporation of moisture from the muscles serves to concentrate the flavour and cause significant weight loss. Natural enzymes break down connective tissue to improve tenderness. Wet aging is performed by anaerobically packaging the meat and storing under refrigeration. Wet aging increases the tenderness of the meat, and moisture (weight) loss is minimized.
The portion of the pelvis that is exposed when a carcass is divided at the medial line.
Angus cattle comprises two breeds of cattle from the original Scottish Aberdeen stock, Black Angus and Red Angus (the original name of the breed was Aberdeen Angus). Black is the predominant colour.
The Aberdeen Angus, sometimes simply Angus, is a Scottish breed of small beef cattle. It derives from cattle native to the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine and Angus in north-eastern Scotland. In 2018 the breed accounted for over 17% of the UK beef industry.
An air-dried ham, similar to prosciutto, produced in the Ardennes region of Belgium. The hams are hand-rubbed with a mixture of salt, juniper berries, thyme, and coriander or brined, smoked over beech wood until dark brown, and aged. Finished hams typically possess a full-bodied flavor and soft texture. IGP-certified hams are marked with a yellow-numbered lead seal as a guarantee of quality and origin. The Belgium-French name is jambon d’Ardenne.
British Retail Consortium. A trade association certification that upholds specific standards within the industry.
The portion of the rib-cage structure that lies directly ventral to the loin on either lateral side of the spine. A full set contains 13 rib pieces along with the intercostal muscles. Unless otherwise specified, these ribs are from a pig.
A very large roasting cut, usually of beef, designed to serve a large number of people. The cut is usually produced from a carcass that has not been split into left and right sides. A baron of loins is the most common.
Sadly no longer possible to buy in UK as regulations require the removal of the spinal chord.
Jerky is one of the oldest ways of preserving food; the meat was cut into strips, smoked, and dried in the sun. Today it’s smoked and dried in smokers.
Jerky is ready-to-eat, needs no additional preparation and can be stored for months without refrigeration.
A brown to greenish yellow fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile aids in the emulsification and absorption of fats in the digestive process. Bile is used by the pharmaceutical industry for steroid production and for digestive aids.
The most commonly used commercial method for freezing meat products. Air is cooled to between -10C to -40C, then by blowers increased to an air velocity of 760 mph which causes the product to be frozen at a rapid rate. The meat products must be wrapped to protect from freezer burn.
The appearance of minute haemorrhages in the muscle, fat and connective tissue due to a transient rise in blood pressure at the time of slaughter. Particularly evident in pork that has been cured.
Development of the bright colour associated with the formation of oxymyoglobin on the lean surface of a cut of meat when exposed to oxygen. In beef this takes approximately 20 minutes. The colour goes from a purplish red to a bright cherry red.
A calf that has been removed from its mother. (In the case of a dairy cow, this generally happens when the calf is only a few days old so it doesn’t deplete the cow’s milk supply).
Reference to the style of butchered beef cuts commonly found in Boston at the turn of the 20th century.
A piece of equipment used in sausage making that consists a round bowl in which meat is placed that rotates so the meat is passed through a series of blades rotating at about 5000 rpm and is chopped into fine particles.
To brown meat in a small amount of fat then cook slowly in a covered pan with a small amount of liquid.
A sausage of German origin sausage usually composed of veal, pork, and or beef. In different parts of the world, this sausage made be sold either cooked or raw. In its various forms, the meat filling may either be emulsified, finely ground, or coarsely ground. The name is derived from the German words brät, finely chopped meat, and wurst, sausage.
The breast area of a carcass located in the forward lower portion of the chest.
A intact male beef animal that is less mature than a bull. Skeletal maturity distinguishes the difference between the two. Bullock carcasses have slight red and slightly soft chine bones, and the cartilage on the ends of the thoracic vertebrae have some evidence of ossification; the sacral vertebrae are completely fused; the cartilage on the ends of the lumbar vertebrae are nearly completely ossified; and the rib bones are slightly wide and slightly flat.
Meat obtained by hunting wild animals especially in Africa and Asia
Chump Knuckle Tip
A lamb hind leg with the chump and knuckle tip are removed, with shank, aitch bone, and femur bone remaining, and can also be referred to as a short cut lamb leg.
The weight of an animal’s carcase. Generally refers to price quotes, eg: £/kg – pence per kilogram carcase weight.
Caul fat is the thin, lacy membrane of an animal surrounding the internal organs, known as the greater omentum. In the culinary world, the animal from which it comes is usually a pig, but the caul fat of other animals is also available.
Thin and lacy, and very similar to a web of netting, caul fat is widely used in French charcuterie, providing sausages and cured meats with a succulent flavour and additional moisture.
(French) In French butchery in the early 20th century, the beef tenderloin was divided into five portions of approximately equal length. The second piece from the rump end, the one where the iliacus and the psoas major join, was the chateaubriand.
In the mid-20th century in America, this piece was used as a roast cut for two people in fine restaurants. There is also a 19th-century French steak dish by the same name that uses the same cut.
The small intestines of the pig.
A highly-seasoned, spicy sausage whose red colour comes from spices made from red-coloured peppers. Spanish varieties are cured, dried, and ready to eat, similar to other dried, cured sausages. Mexican varieties are fresh and require cooking before eating.
The wholesale cut of beef which includes the first five ribs of the forequarter minus the brisket and shank.
This is an economical cut that is flavourful but a less tender meat. It is cut from the middle of the shoulder and usually sold as stewing steak or used in burgers. Suitable for slow cooking in stews.
Corning refers to pickling beef in a seasoned brine or curing beef in salt. The term “corn” comes from the Old English word used describe any small hard particles. Today, briskets or eye of rounds are used to make corned beef, originally all cuts were used when corned beef was used for both land- and sea-based military units.
The crisp residue remaining after lard has been pressed from rendered pork fat or tallow pressed from rendered beef fat.
A prime cut of beef steak meat also known as a ribeye.
Delivered duty paid
A delivery agreement whereby the seller assumes all of the responsibility of the transporting of the goods until they reach the destination. This includes all transport costs and export clearance and customs documentation.
Beef with lean tissue that is dark in colon. It is the result of stress that has reduced the glycogen content in muscle prior to slaughter, The muscle pH of a dark cutter is generally high which results in higher water-holding capacity and more light absorbency than normal thus causing a dark lean colour.
A cheaper cut of meat used in stew for braising. Usually inner cheek meat.
The percentage of an animal’s liveweight that is its carcase weight. Used to estimate a live animal’s carcase weight from its liveweight: carcase weight / final liveweight x 100.
The application of a curing mixture of salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, erythorbate and spices by rubbing them on the product to be cured, such as dry cured bacon.
Dry curing bacon involves the meat being packed in a dry salt rub rather than immersed or injected with a wet brine.
The dry salt can be combined with other flavours and ingredients to provide a desired taste to the bacon. For instance herbs or spices may be used as part of the salt rub to provide a distinctive taste.
The dry cured bacon may also be smoked after the curing process.
Portions of the animal other than the carcass that are suitable for human consumption.
include hearts, livers, tails, tongues, lips, kidneys, tripe (stomach), brains, sweetbreads (the thymus pancreas gland, melt (spleen), fries (testicles), head meat, fats and other trimmings, chitterlings and natural casings (intestines), blood, and certain bones.
The French word for rib eye. The word means “between the ribs”.
A premium cut of beef used for steaks and roasts. Usually a variation of a ribeye but sometimes the fingerbones are left in.
Femur Bone Only
A lamb hind leg with the shank, aitch bone, chump and tail are removed, leaving just the femur bone remaining.
Once Livestock reach market specifications and are ready for processing, they are described as ‘finished’.
The front half of a carcass or side made up of the forelimb, one half of the chest, including ribs, and the neck.
The shank portion of a front leg, including the end of the humerus along with the radius and ulna bones with their associated muscles and connective tissues.
Greyish-brown leathery spots on frozen food that occurs when air reaches the food’s surface and dries out the product.
A sophisticated and elegant presentation where the meat is removed from the bottom portion of the bone.
With lamb, pork and beef, it is usually the loin of the animal that is used, and the rib bones that are trimmed.
Fried chicken, also known as Southern fried chicken, is a dish consisting of chicken pieces that have been coated with seasoned flour or batter and pan-fried, deep fried, pressure fried, or air fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior of the chicken while retaining juices in the meat. Broiler chickens are most commonly used.
A translucent, collarless, brittle, flavourless, irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food. Common sources for production include porcine skin, bovine hides, and animal bones. In the kitchen, gelatin is a common by-product from the production of charcuterie and stocks.
The collective term for edible poultry viscera, such as gizzards, hearts, and livers.
Organ found in the digestive tract of birds, filled with stone or grit used for grinding up food.
(Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)–A systematic approach to identification of potential food safety hazards, assessing the risk and setting up controls and procedures to prevent problems.
Scotland’s national dish is haggis (sheep’s stomach stuffed with the animal’s minced heart, liver, and lungs).
Lamb, venison or pork chump on leg.
Refers to the whole skin or pelt from one of the larger animals (cattle, etc.). Pelts from smaller or younger animals are usually referred to as skins.
The rear half of a beef carcass side composed of the loin, flank, and round. Usually separated form the forequarter by a cut between the 12th and 13th ribs (the last two ribs).
The lining of the second compartment (reticulum) of the ruminant stomach which has honeycomb.
A very old strain of black-skinned pigs with very little hair. The adult has slender legs and a very long snout. Iberico pigs also have a high fat content. The large amount of fat covering each ham, enables the meat to be cured for a much longer period, resulting in a much more complex, intense ﬂavour.
Proof of inspection that the harvested animal is fit for human consumption.
This is a lean tender cut of beef from the shoulder used for braising, also know as the bullet muscle.
not to be confused with beef fillet from the hind quarter that is a pan frying or grilling cut.
The rounded structure of the kidney and the surrounding fat.
Beef harvested from an ancient stock of cattle called “kuroge wagyu” (black haired Japanese cattle). It is raised exclusively in Hyogo Prefecture, of which Kobe is the capital. Kobe beef is considered the most exclusive beef in the world. True Kobe beef is not available outside of Japan due to Japanese export restrictions.
A Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or meatloaf. They consist of balls of minced or ground meat, usually beef or lamb, mixed with spices and or onions. They are often shaped into meatballs which are prepared with a mixture of ground meat, rice, leeks and some other ingredients.
Lamb shank, a cut from the shin of the lamb, is one of the most flavoursome cuts of lamb. The connective tissue, which gives lamb shank its flavour, also leads to toughness if not prepared correctly. Lamb shank needs to be cooked over low heat for a long time to become velvety, flavoursome, and fall-off-the-bone juicy.
Lard is simply Pork fat that has been rendered (cooked down) to remove impurities. The culinary qualities of lard vary somewhat depending on the origin and processing method; if properly rendered, it may be nearly odourless and tasteless.
Rendered beef or sheep fat is called tallow.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) or gas flushing is a proven and natural method of extending the shelf life and quality of food products. It uses a specific single gas or a mixture of gases to create a protective atmosphere around the food. This protective atmosphere, combined with appropriate packaging material and, in many cases, lowered temperatures, preserves the taste, safety and appearance of the food for longer.
Medallions are when the eye of the loin is trimmed totally of all fat and silver skin to leave just a perfectly lean cut of meat.
Industry terminology for spleens. The large organ in the upper left abdomen lying near or across the surface of the stomach. Modifies and regulates the cellular components of blood.
Oxidised form of the protein myoglobin, which is found in meat and contributes to its colour. Responsible for the browning of meat after cutting. Also occurs in a different form in the hip muscles of beef, where rainbow-like colours appear from the reflection of light.
The meat of a mature sheep is called mutton, and it’s basically the same as lamb, though it can be slightly tougher, with a more pungent flavor, but still appetizing. In fact, mutton used to be a mainstay on menus across Europe and the United States. This lamb is a particularly good meat type for long and slow cooking and can stand up to strong spices. Mutton is still served frequently in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India, and when cooked adequately it makes a wonderful meal.
One of two proteins producing the colour or pigment of the muscles. Myoglobin quantity varies with species, age, sex, muscle, and physical activity of muscle.
Middle neck is a portion of the animal behind the scrag end that reaches about a third of the way down the back of the animal. Both the scrag end and the middle neck contain lots of bones from the spine and a high proportion of connective tissue and fat. Although they can be cooked with the bone in, it is possible to take the bone out and roll the remaining meat into a joint for oven roasting.
Over Thirty Months –
Until November 2005, cattle could not be sold for food if they were aged over 30 months, as BSE did not develop fully in cattle until they were older. This was called the Over Thirty Months Rule. An additional control was also introduced banning the process of recovering meat mechanically from the bones of cattle.
A dish made from veal shanks cross-cut into slices and braised in olive oil, white wine, stock, onions, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, carrots, celery and lemon peel. Traditionally garnished with gremolata and served with risotto.
Pret A Decoupe. The meat has been de-fatted and is ready to slice or dice.
The common name for the nuchal ligament of cattle and sheep. The nuchal ligament is a thick, elastic band of tissue that connects the back of the head to the neck.
The gland, located in the duodenal loop, that secretes the glucose regulating hormone, insulin. It also secretes digestive enzymes for fat (lipase), starch (amylase), and protein (trypsin). This organ, in swine, is called the “false” sweetbreads and is used by the pharmaceutical industry for insulin production.
Highly seasoned, smoked beef, typically served in thin slices. Raw meat is brined, seasoned with various herbs and spices, smoked, and steamed.
Picanha beef is cut from the rump cap and is the most prized cut of meat in Brazil and incredibly popular across both Latin America and Portugal.
Picanha makes a fantastic BBQ cut or roasting joint. A decent amount of fat coverage to keep it moist, whilst packing plenty of flavour.
A term for the heart, liver, lungs, and trachea of a slaughtered food animal.
Basic major cuts that result from cutting carcasses and sides into smaller portions.
Pulled pork is a method of preparation in which pork, usually shoulder, is slow-cooked until tender and then separated into small pieces.
Potential hydrogen; the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A scale is used to measure the level of pH in meat carcasses [0 = acidic or dry – 7 is neutral – 14 = alkaline or moist). A living unstressed animal would indicate a 6.5 pH prior to death.
The Quality Standard Mark (QSM) scheme, which is fully funded by the AHDB, was launched in 2004 as an assurance scheme with requirements which have a positive impact on meat quality such as age specifications for cattle and sheep and maturation times.
AHDB is to wind down the scheme for the beef and lamb sectors in March 2022.
Assured Food Standards is a United Kingdom company which licenses the Red Tractor quality mark.
Red Tractor is the UK’s largest food and farm standards scheme, covering all areas of food production from animal welfare and food safety to traceability and environmental protection.
The Standard Quality Quotation (SQQ) is an average price for all lambs sold at market in Britain, marketed within predefined weight bands of 25.5kg and 45.5kg. For many years the range has been used as an indicator of market requirements.
Salami is a cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meat, typically pork. Historically, salami was popular among Southern, Eastern, and Central European peasants because it can be stored at room temperature for up to 40 days once cut, supplementing a potentially meager or inconsistent supply of fresh meat.
A sausage is a type of meat product usually made from ground meat, often pork, beef, or poultry, along with salt, spices and other flavourings. Other ingredients such as grains or breadcrumbs may be included as fillers or extenders.
A tough connective tissue surrounding muscle; the pearlescent membrane found on certain cuts of meat that is removed before cooking to prevent curling.
This is typically sold boned and rolled. A prime cut which is suitable for a classic sunday roast. Sirloin Steak comes from the same area but cut into steaks such as “T”-bone, Porterhouse and Entrecote. Prime cuts which are suitable for grilling, frying, stir-fries and barbecuing.
Beef Fillet also comes from this section. Probably the most prized cut of beef, the fillet is very tender and very lean, as a steak it is suitable for quick cooking under the grill or frying. Larger peices are used for dishes such as Beef Wellington. Other names for cuts of fillet include Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, Tournedos and Chateaubriand.
Preserved or flavoured by applying smoke to meats, usually after curing. Cold smoking is done at lower temperatures so as not to cook the protein in the meat; hot smoking is done at higher temperatures to cook the protein and smoke it at the same time.
The process of removing the backbone of a chicken, making it possible to cook the chicken flat instead of whole. It’s often easier to cook and also cuts down on the cooking time.
Parts removed from beef animals over 30 months old to lessen the risk of BSE. Some of the parts removed are the head, brain, part of the intestines, and most of the backbone.
Breast of poultry with the wing bone attached.
In beef and lamb, this is the thymus gland and is used as a food product. In pork, this is the pancreas gland and is used for pharmaceutical production.
Refers to the close trimming of beef tongues. All bones, glands, and base muscles are removed.
Tallow is simply beef fat, usually suet, that has been rendered (cooked down) to remove impurities.
Rendered beef or sheep fat is called tallow.
Rendered pork fat is called lard.
The process of meats becoming tender through natural processes like aging or marinating or mechanical processes like pounding or using a specialised machine.
The tenderest part of the loin taken from under the short ribs in the hindquarters. Also known as a fillet.
Very heavy collagen that forms at the end of muscle groups, such as a beef shank, which joins a muscle group to a bone at or near the exterior of a bone joint.
This joint is also known as Top Rump good for slow roasting as a joint or braised in pieces. Also sold as “stir fry” strips or flash fry steak. These can also be called flank steak.
Refers to small pieces of meat usually produced as a by-product of a cut fabrication line.
The cleaned and denuded beef rumen and reticulum. Tripe from the rumen is considered regular tripe. Tripe from the reticulum is called honeycomb tripe.
Under Thirty Months –
Cattle will be considered as under 30 months of age ( UTM ) as long as the erupting third permanent incisor is not above the surface of the gum, whether it is at the back, on the top or at the front of the mandible.
Visually lean. Usually attributed to trimmings and is the visual gauge of a meat to fat ratio. E.g. a 80/20vl has been visually gauged as 80% meat and 20% fat content.
Process of placing food into plastic bags and removing air using a pump to create an oxygen-free environment.
Meat derived from the carcass of young bovine animals, usually under five months of age. Veal is pale in colour, ranging from light to dark greyish pink.
Meat from any of the species of the deer family.
White Fatted Cow-
White fatted cow. Specifically selected cow products that have a white coloured fat covering usually indicating a better quality of meat.
The muscular layer of the esophagus.
Vacuum-packaged carcass primal and sub-primal sections for further and longer periods of aging.
Usually used in terms of Lamb.
‘Double X’ is ex the suet and ex the breast. But the chump has not been removed.
Usually used in terms of Lamb.
‘Treble X’ is ex the chump, ex the suet and ex the breast.
A young adult male cattle that has been fed on barley to speed up the bulking up process.
A very strict inspection of the meat product to maintain all possible health hazards and upkeep of the greatest quality.