The Basic Building Block of the Butcher's Trade.
Primal Cut
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A Primal Cut is the basic building block of the butcher’s trade. When butchering a food animal, the carcass is typically halved lengthwise and then quartered into "Forequarters" & "Hindquarters" and "Upper-Half" & "Lower Half." Each of these is then "Broken-Down" into the 8 (or 9 depending on your region and what is counted as Primal) major or primary body parts.

The result of the separations are the Primal Cuts, which refers to one of the larger general body sections of the animal, for example in Beef, the Rib or the Loin. The Primal Cuts, or "Primals" can then be further broken down into Sub-Primal Cuts or "Sub-Primals" and further still into Portion Cuts.

The names of the Primal Cuts, the basic body parts, vary from species to species but in large, domesticated, grazing livestock, though the names of Primals are different, they are often analogous because much of the Skeletal Anatomy of Large Domesticated Livestock, like, cattle, sheep or swine, is similar.


For more specific information on the Primal Cuts for each type of Livestock visit the appropriate Primal Cuts Page on Smart Kitchen.

Beef Primal Cuts

Chicken Primal Cuts