A side of beef is made up of prime cuts and secondary cuts.
Your cut sheet will determine exactly what ends up in your freezer.
This deep dive lays out all the cuts, your typical cut choices and some cooking tips for each section!
T-Bone Out Fillet
Welcome to the Half A Cow Online complete breakdown of a side of beef!
Some cuts will have “options” which you may find on your ‘cut sheet’ when ordering. These instructions tell the butcher how you would like each portion of meat prepared to best suit your eating habbits.
If you’re ordering a beef box, or a very small portion of a “side of beef” you will generally not recieve any choices. In order to split a side of beef between 8 people, the meat must be cut and prepared a certain way.
However if you’re ordering a half side (quarter cow) or a whole side of beef, you’ll have a much greater selection of cut choices.
T-bone steak is a favourite amoung die hard carnivores!
Can be kept bone in for that Authentic experience with handy meat handle, or have the bone removed, and you get a fillet steak and a porterhouse!
Removing the Bone from a T-Bone steak will give you a porterhouse steak and more 'fillet' steak in your side of beef. You will however lose some meat to the boning process, and you will have more dog bones left over!
Choose this option for maximum yield form your side of beef! If you like a large steak, with a mix of lean and fatty sides, then this is the option for you!
The beef shank is the leg portion of a the cow. There is a front and rear shank, however the front shank is typically not suitable to create a “thors hammer” due to the different shape of the bone. This is generally made into Osso Bucco or used as part of premium mince / diced beef.
The whole beef shank! Can be roasted, smoked or slow cooked. Very tasty if cooked correctly.
Exactly the same as the beef shank, just with a handy, "handle" The meat which has been trimmed off the bone is added to the premium mince.
Beek Shank, Sliced. Osso Bucco makes a great stew meat and the bone marrow adds a unique flavour to any dish. Must be slow cooked!
Blade. Derived from the shoulder region of the animal, blade accounts for around 5.5% of the carcase. Flavoursome and versatile, it contains several muscles with layers of fat and connective tissue and performs well as a slow braise or roast.
Bet you've never heard of the Y-Bone steak! Made from the sholder blade, cut into individual steaks. You'll get more "steaks" and less "mince" with this option.
A bit fiddly for the butcher, the Y-Bone steaks can be "boned out" to get more diced beef or mince. As you can see some meat is lost on the bone due to the shape.
Scotch Fillet is an amazing cut of meat. Juicy and flavourful, with a good mix of lean meat and fat for flavour.
Cut in a variety of different ways, this cut of meat is a true favourite.
In this cut, the bone is removed from the scotch fillet. Sadly you'll lose your meat handle, but it is easier to cook, and cut thinner!
Scotch Fillet with the bone on, and pictured with the rim meat untrimmed. This is usually trimmed off and added to the mince.
Bone off, but not sliced. This is a great way to get steaks cut to the thickness you want. You can also season and roast the whole thing!
Silverside comes from the outside of the rear leg and sits between the knuckle and the topside. Made up of five distinct muscles, it’s named after the silver wall of connective tissue that sits on the side of the cut.
Whole Sliverside is usually corned. I personally think this is a tremendous waste of meat, but my girlfriend seems to like it. We usually compromise and get the whole silverside corned .
Sliced silverside is good for marinating, or as quick sizzle steaks. You won't get the same taste as a scotch fillet but they do well on a BBQ steak sandwitch
Once sliced, the siverside can also be crumbed into schnitzels at home or by your butcher. Typically added material does not count towards your "dressed weight" price , but some butchers can charge more for this service.
This is the whole bolar section before segmenting into smaller roasts.
bolar roasts are great for winter feasts!
As with any cut, you can generally choose for this to be minced or diced.
Generally this is one of the leanest, or most fat-free, cuts of beef available, but it is often bought surrounded by a layer of fat. This is typically trimmed off by the butcher before you see it!
Here you can see the layer of fat that surrounds the topside.
All cleaned up! This is now ready to be made into roasts or steaks.
Topside steaks - as you can see these are very lean and cut thinly, will fry quickly. This is good for use in stirfry dishes.
The larger side of a T-Bone steak. A porterhouse steak is essentially a “boned out” T bone steak with the other side making up the “Eye Fillet”
This is whole porterhouse before we cut it into steaks. Typically the fat is left on for more flavour.
Perfect porterhouse steaks. A BBQ Favourite and a great tasting, if somewhat fatty, piece of steak!
Flank steak is a cut of beef steak taken from the abdominal muscles of the cow, located just behind the plate and in front of the rear quarter. It is a long, flat cut with a significant grain, and is known for its bold flavor and chewiness.
The flank of the cow is quite large, and can have external fat which must be trimmed and disposed.
As you can see, we could barely fit the flank on our big board!
Flank steak can be trimmed, diced or minced depending on your preferences.
Meat from the chuck, once divided, is usually used for stewing, slow cooking, braising, or pot roasting and is ideal in a one-pot cooker. The top blade part of the chuck is preferred for grilling because it is the second most tender steak once the gristle is removed.
Here's the whole chuck piece! There's not too much external fat here and trims quite well.
Sliced into steaks, these can be slow cooked into pies, curries, or even steak sandwiches.
Chuck steak can also me minced or diced into cubes for stews and other slow cooking methods.
Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the lower breast or pectoral muscles of a cow. This is a tough piece of meat which requires slow cooking in order to reach is maximum potential. The rising popularity of briskets has lead to a number of “Facebook” enthusiast groups with thousands of followers!
Shown here cut into four pieces, a brisket is best slow cooked or smoked. Smaller brisket pieces will cook faster , but feed fewer people.
Don't like brisket ? This can be diced or minced. We do not recommend this option as a well cooked brisket tastes fantastic!
A good butcher will try to get as much meat off your “side of beef” as possible. Trimmed fat and beef is added to either the high fat mince, or the low fat mince. The examples below show just how much meat can come off your side of beef that can be used for mince!
Pictured are some rib bones from our side of beef. There isn't enough meat on here to get a good quality meal, but the meat can be trimmed off and sorted into Prime and B-Grade Mince
Here's a close up of a beef rib that has been untrimmed. You can see just how much "good meat" is just sitting there!
Here's that same beef rib, trimmed up. All of the good meat is added to the 'mincing box' for our side of beef and turned into Prime or B- Grade Mince.
Here you can see the different grades of beef mince available from your side of beef. We’ve left our A grade mince as 1kg bags and our B grade turned into Sausages, Patties and a few bags of mince for comparison. The orange colouring you see is the spice mix added to the burgers and sausages.
This mince is made using the good offcuts that have a low fat content. Your cut sheet selections can have a massive impact on the overall quantity of mince.
This mince is made using offcuts that have a higher fat content. The yellow colouring is a result of the flavouring added to the sausage and burger mix.