Educating your Aussie Butcher - A Pitmasters Guide to American Cuts

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by sgtraven, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. sgtraven

    sgtraven Member

    Sep 10, 2004
    Vic, Glenroy
    With the great feedback i have received from the last article on Australian Brisket i thought i would write another article.
    I am always put in the diplomatic position of having to tell someone that maybe their statement of "my butcher has the best meat" may not be true.

    Don't get me wrong.....there are some fantastic butchers out there but for every GREAT one i have found there is 2-3 absolute duds.
    Its not to say that your butcher isn't willing to learn hence the below.

    I have devised a few questions you can put to your butcher to "REALLY" understand whether he or she knows Aussie produce as well as the trending market.

    1. Are you organic only or can you get grain fed cattle?
    2. Can you bring in boxed meat?
    3. what is the average carcase weight of your Bovine and Sow's?
    4. Can you provide american cuts such as Boston Butt, loin on baby back, Tritip and Louisiana ribs?

    I will go though each of these questions in detail and explain why we ask them.

    1. Are you organic only or can you get grain fed cattle

    The first reason you ask this is to ascertain whether they are able to get Wagyu or other LARGER cuts of brisket that is needed for the big low and slow cooks you want to do. There is a common pitfall with new cooks to purchase a 2.5kg brisket as their first brisket and fail miserably. Brisket is an "all in or nothing" kind of meat and the min size you want to cook is 3.5kg.
    Grain Fed cattle will give you that extra marbling that is required for ease of cooking. Bare in mind there IS grass fed cattle out there that has great marbling so if your butcher is organic only ask to see their brisket. if its below 2.5kg with no marbling on the point then walk away.

    2. Can you bring in boxed meat

    So, your butcher has said that he/she doesn't have a grain feed beef. its not the end of the world.
    Grass fed beef is a superior taste BUT there are few grass fed bovine that are up to the task of a GOOD american low and slow brisket.
    If your butcher can bring in boxed meat then ask about Cape Grim. Its one of the few grass fed (if your butcher is an organic only) that is big enough and marbled enough for a great cook.

    3. what is the average carcase weight of your Bovine and Sow's

    Many butchers bring in their own cattle 1/2 a carcase or full carcase at a time and break it down on site.
    For Cattle (if you are after brisket) the yield weight is about % (that's for 2x briskets) so 1.9% yield for a single point end brisket.

    Dressed carcas to brisket weight is below. so anything under 190kg dressed is too small a dressed cow is 52% of its actual weight so that is a 396kg beast


    190- 3.61
    200- 3.8
    210- 3.99
    220- 4.18
    230- 4.37
    240- 4.56
    250- 4.75
    260- 4.94
    270- 5.13
    280- 5.32
    290- 5.51
    300- 5.7
    310- 5.89
    320- 6.08
    330- 6.27
    340- 6.46
    350- 6.65
    360- 6.84
    370- 7.03
    380- 7.22
    390- 7.41


    Pork (like beef) has a Boston Butt yield which i have calculated. a good size pig will give you a butt which is ~3.5kg
    the reason i have stated sow is because male pigs should not be used for BBQ due to an off taste/smell
    so if your butcher is getting in sow's then ask for ones in the 80-85kg range (dressed head on)

    70- 2.8
    72- 2.88
    74- 2.96
    76- 3.04
    78- 3.12
    80- 3.2
    82- 3.28
    84- 3.36
    86- 3.44
    88- 3.52
    90- 3.6
    92- 3.68
    94- 3.76
    96- 3.84
    98- 3.92

    4. Can you provide american cuts such as Boston Butt, loin on baby back, Tritip and Louisiana ribs

    This is the most common issue, butchers saying they do american ribs/brisket ect ect.
    to be truthful many of our animals are quite small in comparison so its hard to do a proper 1:1 cut of american cuts however a properly trained butcher should be able to give you what you need.

    Boston Butt - take a full shoulder with blade in and ribs on. Identify the joint and trim through the joint. once turned over remove the rib/spine and then trim off the skin/fat.
    Brisket - otherwise know as a full packer or point end. there are 2 muscles, the point (breast piece) and the flat. the Flat extends along and eventually turns into flank. a butcher should trim off areas of flat that become too thin to make the "point brisket"
    Loin on Baby Back - baby back ribs traditionally don't have a lot of meat on the top of them so you can ask for loin on baby back ribs.
    spare/Louisiana style ribs - Louisiana style ribs are spare ribs with the tip cut off through the rib knuckle and "squared off" removing the membrane and diaphragm is part of the Louisiana ribs. If you are cooking for a competition it is important to identify ribs that are straight and do not curve.
    Tritip - tritip is a cut from the bottom sirloin. refer to the muscle as IMPS/NAMP 185C. this is the remains of the bottom sirloin after removal of the Flap/Ball Tip (185a and 185b) it is triangular shaped with about 1cm of fat covering.

    I will be adding a lot more information to this guide so as to train up your butcher for what you want. It will eventually be put in a pdf form for you to print out and take to your butcher.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  2. twinhardballers

    twinhardballers Member

    Dec 27, 2006
    Looking good mate, for me maybe some pictures/diagrams of what the cuts should look like and where they come from. I have a pretty great relationship with my butcher and he has some amazing quality meat. I feel if I could get him onto it I could get a hold of MBS9+ wagyu brisket and have amazing cookouts :D

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