Monday, 25 June 2012

Food: Cuts of Pork, Beef & Lamb

My apology for missing out the Friday entry, I was really too busy to complete it.

My apology to all vegetarians in this entry, but this is an essential part of English and I highly recommend anyone to at least learn a few of the following terms in order to communicate well with English speakers, and of course, place good orders in restaurants.

In fact, words like "cow", "sheep" and "swine" came from the English speaking farmers, and the a la carte version such as "beef", "mutton" and "pork" came from the French back in the years of 1300. So you must thank the French for what you are going to learn here.

Interestingly (or sadly) enough, the cuts of the livestocks are not universal, so different countries will use different cuts, and I suppose it has a lot to do with food culture, that is the preferences of the people from different countries. Through looking at the cuts, you can more or less understand which part of the meat a particular culture has the most emphasis on.

American Cuts of Pork
Image from Wikipedia

British Cuts of Pork
Image from Wikipedia

Basically, American cuts doesn't have terms like "belly" and "trotters".

Can you tell what kind of cuts the following image uses?
Image from The Cultured Pig

Things get really complicated when you get to beef,

Brazilian Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

British Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

American Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

Dutch Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

Comparing all the beef cuts, you can see that the Brazilians have the most emphasis on the hind legs, the British come second in this aspect; the Americans and the Dutch simply take it as a whole.  All cuts except the British, have singled out the tenderloin and the regions around it, but the British are definitely not without demand on the forequarter

Overall, the Brazilians are the most detailed about beef cuts with 20 cuts, the British come second with 14 cuts, the Americans third with 13 cuts, and the Dutch 12 cuts including the tongue. Seems like only the Dutch understands the amazing texture of the ox tongue.

Another exercise for you, can you tell what cut is used in the image below?


Lastly, we will look at the lamb cuts.

Cuts of lamb in the wholesale level is called "primal cuts", at the retail level, it will be subdivided.

British Cuts of Lamb
Image from Wikipedia

Image from American Lamb Board
Australian Cuts
Image from mla
Maybe due to the size of a lamb, it seems to me that there are much less variations in the lamb cuts. The Aussies have 9 primal cuts, the British has 8, and the Americans 5. Then again, when retail cuts are involved, there could be many.

So when you do get to visit a country, knowing their cuts might just get yourself a better dish!

A final note here. In general, whenever you see the word "Prime", it usually means this is of top quality. For example, only 2.9% of the U.S. beef is graded as Prime according to Wikipedia's reference. However, you will never know when the use of the word "Prime" is appropriate enough, so just take it as a reference, and don't get too serious about it.

Don't forget those Crabs and Fish we have talked about previously!!!

swine -- (n)[C] (plural swine or swinesold-fashioned a person who you consider to be extremely unpleasant and unkind
a la carte -- (adj, adv) [before nounIf you eat à la carte, you choose each dish from a separate list instead of eating a fixed combination of dishes at a fixed price
emphasis -- (n)  [C or U] (plural emphasesthe particular importance or attention that you give to something


The Norman Conquest - The History of English (2/10) @ YouTube

Pork @ Wikipedia

Beef @ Wikipedia

Lamb and Mutton @ Wikipedia

Lamb Primal Cuts: Leg, Loin, Rib, Breast & More @

Food: More x2 Fish@Hong Kong Wet Market @ Locky's English Playground

Food: Serious Crab Time!!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Food: Groupers@Hong Kong Wet Market @ Locky's English Playground