INTRODUCTION TO BEEF
Section I. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
Listed below are important terms with which the inspector must be familiar.
a. The State of Refrigeration. Carcasses have terms denoting their state of
refrigeration. Hot carcass beef is beef just after slaughter that retains most of its original
body temperature (about 100F). After slaughter, the hot carcasses are placed in
refrigerated rooms for about 48 hours until their internal core temperature is below 38F
(3.4C). Then the carcasses are termed chilled carcass beef. Subsequently, if chilled
carcasses are placed in freezers and the internal temperature is decreased to less than
0F (-17.8C), the carcasses are termed frozen carcass beef. Note that beef freezes at
28F (-2.2C) unlike water that freezes at 32F (0C). State of refrigeration
requirements and information, such as freezing options are listed in the General
Requirements of the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications.
b. Primal/Wholesale Cuts. The primal or wholesale cuts of beef are the square
cut chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, round, foreshank, brisket, plate, and flank.
c. Sub-Primal Cuts. The subdivision of primal cuts. Sub-primal cuts can be
further divided into portion-cuts.
d. Quarters and Their Weight. The landmark for dividing a side of beef is
between the 12th and 13th ribs. The resulting two pieces are termed quarters. The
anterior quarter is known as the forequarter, and comprises 52 percent of the weight of
the (trimmed) side. The posterior quarter is known as the hindquarter, and comprises
48 percent of the weight of the (trimmed) side.
e. Ribbing Down. Ribbing down is the process of dividing the side of beef into
a forequarter and hindquarter, though this procedure does not completely separate the
quarters. This is accomplished by cutting through the back, splitting the 12th thoracic
vertebra in half, completing the cut between the 12th and 13th rib, and exposing the eye
of beef. All carcasses should be ribbed down before being accepted in order to expose
a cross section of the rib eye muscle and backbone so that it can be assigned a grade
f. Beef Forequarter. The forequarter is the anterior portion of the beef side
remaining after severance from the hindquarter and contains the 1st to the 12th rib,