From Panic to Pro: How to Order Custom Beef and Pork Cuts at Blondie’s Butcher Shop

In this episode of Blondie’s Butcher Shop, Lindsey provides a comprehensive guide on how to place a meat processing order, focusing on quarters of beef and pork, with insights into cuts, customization, and considerations for sharing with another customer.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What to order and how to customize your cuts to your preferences, with options for steaks, roasts, soup bones, short ribs, and more.
  • Why to consider sharing and the importance of specifying your desired cuts, as sharing a quarter of an animal requires coordination.
  • Where to opt for specialty cuts like picanha, skirt steak, and tri-tip, and learn how Blondie’s Butcher Shop maintains equal weight distribution for shared quarters.


Lindsey: Hey, it’s Lindsey with Blondie’s Butcher Shop. We’re back again to answer our number one customer question. And that is the ultimate fear of how do I order a beef and what is my cutting order? Complete pandemonium panic sets in for everybody. Don’t worry, we got you covered. I’m gonna walk you through a quick tutorial on quarters of beef, half a beef, three quarters or a whole beef or a couple. We’ll even touch on pigs on this one too, and maybe we’ll do sheep and lamb at a later time. They’re all pretty much the same, but let’s start with the two most popular.

Okay, so you call your local butcher, you found a quarter of beef you want to get from your farmer, we’re going to start with the smallest portion. So a quarter of beef you have to understand is being shared with another quarter on one side of a beef, one side of that animal. So when we look at that, there’s gonna be certain cuts you can’t get and certain cuts you can get because you’re sharing that animal. So unless you know the person getting the other quarter, I’m gonna have to split your brisket in half. Those types of scenarios, there’s only one cut of some things that are really popular on one side of beef. So let’s jump into it.

Okay, so here is what a typical cut sheet looks like. Don’t be intimidated by it. It’s mostly for us to know and not you. We have our own language in meat lockers, so don’t panic. So here’s a typical cut sheet. All right. So let’s walk through a cut sheet for a quarter of beef. So when we start out, I’m gonna ask you first of all, name, address, phone number, and whose beef it is. Because the state wants to know all those requirements in case we ever have to track back something back for contamination reasons, sickness reasons, which Lord knows we all hope never happens. Then we’re gonna ask you, are you getting a whole, a half, or a quarter? So you say, Lindsey, I’m getting a quarter of beef. I’m like, great, let’s start from the top and we’re gonna work our way down. All you’re gonna have to say to me is yes or no. So I’m gonna wanna start at your round steak. So I’m gonna wanna know if you want them. And people are gonna be like, well, what’s a round steak? We’ll give you examples of what they’re used for. Some people use them for fajita meat, stew meat. Some people like to make chicken fried steak out of it. That’s another episode for that one. But depending on which age genre you’re in, I would say most of our customers prefer. Most of our customers prefer to put round steak into their hamburger right away. It’s not a common cut that they like to keep. It comes from the top of the pelvis. It’s a hind quarter cut. Next question we’re gonna go down, we’re gonna get into your steaks. T-bones, porterhouses, sirloins, rib eyes. What do you wanna do with them? If it’s a quarter of a beef, then we’re gonna probably ask you if you know the person getting the other quarter, but we’re traditionally gonna have to cut them at like a three quarter inch thickness in to make sure that both quarters are getting and equal amount of sizes because I can’t just break it down it comes on a full loin. The other thing we’re going to know about that as well is how many steaks do you want to a package? Do you want one? Do you want two? Do you want four? It’s okay. Just know that if you want a single wrap, that’s probably going to be an extra expense to that because it’s extra labor, extra wrapping. Two is definitely the most common for most people, and if you have a nice finished beef, you’re going to get 10-inch T-bones and rib-eyes, and they’re going to be big cuts of meat. So you’ll usually be pretty good with just two steaks to a package. Then we’re gonna get into your roast. Let’s talk about your chuck roast, your arm roast, your sirloin tip, your top and bottom roast. We have a Pike’s Peak roast that’s a Missouri cut here. But know, they’re just all roast. How big do you want them? Typically three to four pounds fits perfectly in your crock pot. If you’re like me, I don’t want a big roast to go to my crock pot because I want to put it in the morning and leave and not worry about the lid falling off. So three to four pounds will definitely cover you on that and should feed a family of five to six pretty easily. If you’re a family of one or two, go ahead and drop it down to two to three pounds. We can do that as well without any added expense to that.

Then we get into kind of some of the fun stuff. If you want soup bones for stock for later in the winter time or in the summertime broth, anything like that, make sure you ask for soup bones. If you want short ribs or brisket, those are both things. And remember, if you say no to any of these things, whether it’s a steak, a roast, or a cut of some sort, like short ribs, we automatically put it into your burger and grind it. So it’s not a loss to you, we just debone it, add it to your hamburger, so you gain on that end. Short ribs are really common. You can do multiple cuts. You could do Asian short ribs. You could do bigger box. You could keep the whole plate if you want it, if you’re a barbecuer and want to practice. You can always ask for those things. Traditionally, we’ll normally cut them at about two inches thick and package them two to a pack. Then we get into stew meat as a specialty thing. A lot of people like stew meat cut. There is an added expense to that as well. Then we talk about hamburger package size. We offer one, one and a half, and two pounds on your hamburger packages. If you’re like me, you’ll do half one pounders and half two pounders, because it’s just easier depending on the size of family or friends we have over that night. I would say most people just do one pounders, because that’s what most recipes call for. Don’t be afraid to ask that. Do you want more fat added to your hamburger? Do you want us to try to keep more fat out of your hamburger for a leaner burger? These are all things you can ask for. Depending on the animal, I’ll tell you whether I can do it or I can’t do it. So don’t be afraid to ask. We’ll tell you the truth up front. And if I don’t know, I’ll go find your beef and look at it and come back to you and be like, I can swing this, I’m not sure I can swing that. So just know there’s other certain cuts that are really popular right now, like a picanha cut, which comes off the top rump. You might be looking for a skirt steak, a flank steak, a tri-tip. Tri-tips are pure murder for a butcher. They are really, really hard to find and they actually destroy a lot of your hind- quarter to get to it and they’re really not I would say just buy them from us directly separately off your beef then it doesn’t wreck any of your porter houses into your loins and it doesn’t wreck any of your rows so sometimes a lot of things can get damaged and you’ll understand why those cuts are so much more expensive in the grocery store because they’re a lot harder to find and they actually wreck other cuts to get that main cut so don’t be afraid to ask about that Skirts take flank steak are all specialty ones and we can do that as long as the other person doesn’t ask for it on your quarter. What we’ll do is we’ll take the weight of that and take that out of your burger and put that into the other quarter’s burger. So Everything will always be equal if you’re afraid of the other person getting the other half of your quarter. Thinking there might be getting more than you. We always make it even in weight no matter what. And then also don’t be afraid to ask it’s super common now for cheeks. But make sure you ask when your animal comes in for harvesting because we’ll harvest cheeks at that point in time. Um, we’ll also harvest the tongue and the heart and the liver at that point in time too. So those are all cuts that I do need to know before your animal comes into process so we can save it. Otherwise we will render it out to a dog food company. Go figure.

Alright, so let’s talk a little bit about hogs and what a cutting order for a hog looks like. So if you were going to go into a half hog or a whole hog, it’s very similar to a beef. We’re going to ask you about pork chops. How many do you want to a package? Is it two, four, six? Do you want a three-quarter inch cut, an inch cut, a two-inch cut? I’ve done it. Traditionally, most people ask between two and four pork chops to a package, which works really, really well. If you want to do your shoulder roast, which is also known as a pork butt, we can break that down into three to four pound roasts for you. We can leave it as a whole pork butt that you could put on your smoker, whatever your family wants. Your spare ribs, they come off the back sides of your bacons. Go ahead, we can peel those off. We can either trim them out and put them into your added trim at the end. or you can keep your spare ribs and throw them on the pit. I prefer my pork spare ribs. We will cut them really close to give you the biggest bacons possible. So most of those spare ribs that we’ll do will be trimmed pretty light so they’re more of a crock-pot rib than they will be a grilling rib because we’re trying not to wreck your bacons for that and give you the most bacon back possible.

Also, we get into the hams. Do you want your ham smoked and cured? Do you wanna do that at home? Do you just want it fresh so it’s like a pork roast? Lots and lots of options. We can also cut them if you do want your hams into quarters, halves, or whole. So we can break it down into three to four pounds. We can do a half ham, then a 10 to 12, do a whole ham where it’s 16 to 18 pounds, depending on what you want for your holiday and for your family and what you have for freezer room as well.

Okay, so let’s talk about trim on a pig. We can go back and look. We usually get about 30 pounds of trim off of an entire hog, so that’s 15 if you’re getting a half of a hog. Usually we can do two things with a whole hog and whether you want to do a seasoned sausage, a ground pork, a breakfast flank, a breakfast patty, or a brat for that matter. Also note that we have a lot of deer hunters that ask for their hog trim to be big so they can do their own at-home venison without buying trim in. More bang for your buck there. So that is a little bit of how I would do a cutting order. And make sure you shoot comments down below or questions.

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