Skeletal Anatomy of Large Domesticated Livestock
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When discussing Sheep, Cattle or Swine, the skeletal anatomy, that we follow to derive meat cuts, is similar with sides, quarters and primal cuts around the upper half shoulder, ribs, loin & rump sections and the lower half chest, foreleg, plate/flank & rear leg. The most tender meat in all animals comes from the “Tender”-“Loin” or the part of the animal farthest from the head and hoofs that has the lightest work load. Identifying those tender cuts is most easily accomplished if we have a familiarity with the type of bones found in each area. The bones are like sign posts that tell us where we are.

Bone-in meat cuts from the torso and along the spine of the animal are fairly easy to identify because of the distinctive  T-Bones, & Rib Bones. As you move out forward into the shoulder or back to the hip it can get more confusing.

In the Sirloin, the vertebrae will still remain but portions of the Hip Bone begin to make their appearance in the Bone-In Sirloin Steaks. Because the steaks are sliced an inch or two thick, the shape of the hip bone in the steaks is not round as in anatomy class but a cross section of the hip bone that resembles different shapes, such as a “pin” or a “wedge” as we work backwards from the Short Loin to the rump. The shape of the bones in Bone-In Sirloin Steaks, as we work backwards are Pin BoneRound BoneFlat Bone, and Wedge Bone.

The Round Primal Cut will have some of the Hip Bone and pelvis as well as the Leg Bones.

In the Chuck (or shoulder area) portion cuts might contain sections of the Shoulder Blade Bone, or Arm Bone.

In the Sirloin, the vertebrae will still remain but portions of the Hip Bone begin to make their appearance in the Bone-In Sirloin Steaks. Because the steaks are sliced an inch or two thick, the shape of the hip bone in the steaks is not round as in anatomy class but a cross section of the hip bone that resembles different shapes, such as a “pin” or a “wedge” as we work backwards from the Short Loin to the rump. The shape of the bones in Bone-In Sirloin Steaks, as we work backwards are Pin BoneRound BoneFlat Bone, and Wedge Bone.