Cuts of Meat -
Carving for Turkey, Chicken, Pheasant, Pigeon, Lamb, Beef, Venison
Identify the various
cuts of meat
with diagrams plus
instructions on how to carve beef, turkey, chicken, goose,
pheasant, lamb, venison and fish.
This page is also ideal for those who want to know more about
home butchering and the various
cuts that need to
be made after the
animal has been slaughtered.
Carving meat correctly,
how to cook the various meat cuts
can make the difference between eating a wonderful piece of meat,
or chewing something that resembles your shoe leather. Learn all about
the various cuts of meat of the animal and the best methods of carving.
word about the care of
carving knives: a fine steel knife
should not come in contact with intense heat, because it destroys
its sharp edge. Table
carving knives should not be used in the kitchen, either around the
stove, or for cutting bread, meats, vegetables, etc.; a fine
whetstone should be kept for sharpening, and the knife cleaned
carefully to avoid dulling its edge, all of which is quite
essential to successful carving of cuts of meat.
How to Cook the Different Parts
of a Beef Hind Quarter
CUTS OF MEAT for BEEF HIND-QUARTER
No. 1. Loin, used for choice roasts, the porterhouse and sirloin
No. 2. Rump, used for steaks, stews and corned beef.
No. 3. Aitch-bone, used for boiling-pieces, stews and pot
No. 4. Buttock or round, used for steaks, pot roasts, beef a
la mode; also a prime boiling-piece.
No. 5. Mouse-round, used for boiling and stewing.
No. 6. Shin or leg, used for soups, hashes, etc.
No. 7. Thick flank, cut with under fat, is a prime
boiling-piece, good for stews and corned beef, pressed beef.
No. 8. Veiny piece, used for corned beef, dried beef.
No. 9. Thin flank, used for corned beef and boiling-pieces.
CUTS OF MEAT FOR
No. 10. Five ribs called the fore-rib. This is considered the
primest piece for roasting; also makes the finest steaks.
No. 11. Four ribs,
called the middle ribs, used for
No. 12. Chuck ribs, used for second quality of roasts and
No. 13. Brisket, used for corned beef, stews, soups and spiced
No. 14. Shoulder-piece, used for stews, soups, pot-roasts,
mince-meat and hashes.
Nos. 15, 16. Neck, clod or sticking-piece used for stocks,
gravies, soups, mince-pie meat, hashes, bologna sausages, etc.
No. 17. Shin or shank, which is cut from either the leg or the
shoulder as a lot of muscle and so therefore used mostly for soups and
No. 18. Cheek.
The following is a
classification of the qualities of cuts of meat,
according to the several joints of beef, when cut up.
First Class — Cuts of meat
the sirloin with the
suet (1), the rump steak piece (2), the fore-rib (11).
Second Class —
Cuts of meat include the buttock or round (4), the
flank (7), the middle ribs (11).
Third Class —
Cuts of meat include the aitch-bone (3), the
(5), the thin flank (8, 9), the chuck (12), the shoulder-piece
(14), the brisket (13).
Fourth Class — Cuts of meat
the clod, neck and
— Cuts of meat include the shin or shank (17).
How to Cook the Different
Parts of a Veal Hind Quarter
CUTS OF MEAT FOR VEAL HIND-QUARTER
No. 1. Cuts of meat include the loin, the choicest cuts used for
roasts and chops.
No. 2. Cuts of meat include the fillet, used for roasts and
No. 3. Cuts of meat include the loin, chump-end used for
No. 4. Cuts of meat include the hind-knuckle or hock,
used for stews, pot-pies,
CUTS OF MEAT FOR VEAL FORE-QUARTER
No. 5. Cuts of meat
include the neck, best end used for roasts,
stews and chops.
No. 6. Cuts of meat
include the breast, best end used for
roasting, stews and chops.
No. 7. Cuts of meat
include the blade-bone, used for
and baked dishes.
No. 8. Cuts of meat
include the fore-knuckle, used for soups
No. 9. Cuts of meat
include the breast, brisket-end used for
baking, stews and
No. 10. Cuts of meat
include the neck, scrag-end used for
In cutting up veal,
generally, the hind-quarter is divided
loin and leg, and the fore-quarter into breast, neck and
The Several Parts
of a Moderately-sized, Well-fed Calf,
about eight weeks old, are nearly of the following
weights:—Loin and chump, 18 lbs.; fillet, 12 lbs.;
hind-knuckle, 5 lbs.; shoulder, 11 lbs.; neck, 11 lbs.;
breast, 9 lbs., and fore-knuckle, 5 lbs.; making a total of 144
How to Cook the Different Parts
of a Whole Sheep
CUTS OF MEAT FOR MUTTON
No. 1. Cuts of meat include the leg, used for roasts and for
No. 2. Cuts of meat include the shoulder, used for baked
No. 3. Cuts of meat include the loin, best end used for
No. 4. Cuts of meat include the loin, chump-end used for
No. 5. Cuts of meat
include the rack, or rib chops,
used for French chops, rib chops,
either for frying or broiling; also used for choice stews.
No. 6. Cuts of meat
the breast, used for
roast, baked dishes, stews, chops.
No. 7. Cuts of meat
used for cutlets, stews and
mutton or double loin is two loins cut
off before the carcass is split open down the back. French chops
are a small rib chop, the end of the bone trimmed off and the meat
and fat cut away from the thin end, leaving the round piece of meat
attached to the larger end, which leaves the small rib-bone bare.
Very tender and sweet.
Mutton is prime
when cut from a carcass which has been
fed out of doors, and allowed to run upon the hillside; they are
best when about three years old. The fat will then be abundant,
white and hard, the flesh juicy and firm, and of a clear red
For mutton roasts, choose
the shoulder, the saddle, or the loin
or haunch. The leg should be boiled. Almost any part will do for
Lamb born in the middle of
the winter, reared under shelter, and
fed in a great measure upon milk, then killed in the spring, is
considered a great delicacy, though lamb is good at a year old.
Like all young animals, lamb ought to be thoroughly cooked, or it
is most unwholesome.
How to Cook the Different Parts of a Whole Pig
CUTS OF MEAT FOR PORK
No. 1. Leg, used for smoked hams, roasts and corned pork.
No. 2. Hind-loin, used for roasts, chops and baked dishes.
No. 3. Fore-loin or ribs, used for roasts, baked dishes or
No. 4. Spare-rib, used for roasts, chops, stews.
No. 5. Shoulder, used for smoked shoulder, roasts and corned
No. 6. Brisket and flank, used for pickling in salt and smoked
The cheek is used for pickling in salt, also the shank or
The feet are usually used for souse and jelly.
For family-use the leg is
the most economical, that is when
fresh, and the loin the richest. The best pork is from carcasses
weighing from fifty to about one hundred and twenty-five pounds.
Pork is a white and close meat, and it is almost impossible to
over-roast or cook it too much; when underdone it is exceedingly
dangerous and you could end up with tape worm.
to Cook the Different Parts of a Whole Deer
CUTS OF MEAT FOR VENISON
No. 1. Cuts of meat
include the shoulder, used for roasting;
may be boned and
then afterwards baked or roasted.
No. 2. Cuts of meat
include the fore-loin, used for roasts and
No. 3. Cuts of meat
include the haunch or loin, used for
steaks, stews. The
cut close may be used for soups. Good for pickling and making into
No. 4. Cuts of meat
include the breast, used for baking
No. 5. Cuts of meat
include the scrag or neck, used for soups.
The choice of venison
should be judged by the fat, which, when
the venison is young, should be thick, clear and close, and the
meat a very dark red. The flesh of a female deer about four years
old, is the sweetest and best of venison.
Buck venison, which is in
June to the end of
September, is finer than doe venison, which is in season from
October to December. Neither should be dressed at any other time of
year, and no meat requires so much care as venison in killing,
preserving and dressing.
a Sirloin of Beef
HOW TO CARVE A
SIRLOIN ROAST BEEF
should be cut with one good firm
stroke from end to end of the joint, at the upper part, in thin,
long, even slices in the direction of the line from 1 to 2, cutting
across the grain, serving each guest with some of the fat with the
lean; this may be done by cutting a small, thin slice from
underneath the bone from 5 to 6, through the tenderloin.
Another way of carving
this piece, and which will be of great
assistance in doing it well, is to insert the knife just above the
bone at the bottom, and run sharply along, dividing the meat from
the bone at the bottom and end, thus leaving it perfectly flat;
then carve in long, thin slices the usual way. When the bone has
been removed and the sirloin rolled before it is cooked, it is laid
upon the platter on one end, and an even, thin slice is carved
across the grain of the upper surface.
Roast ribs should be
carved in thin, even slices from the thick
end towards the thin in the same manner as the sirloin; this can be
more easily and cleanly done if the carving knife is first run
along between the meat and the end and rib-bones, thus leaving it
free from bone to be cut into slices.
carve this it should be cut crosswise,
the middle being the best; cut in very thin slices,
improving its delicacy, making it more tempting; as is the case of
all well-carved meats. The root of the tongue is usually left on
Carving a Breast of Veal
HOW TO CARVE
BREAST OF VEAL
This piece is quite
similar to a fore-quarter of lamb after the
shoulder has been taken off. A breast of veal consists of two
parts, the rib-bones and the gristly brisket. These parts may be
separated by sharply passing the carving knife in the direction of
the line from 1 to 2; and when they are entirely divided, the
rib-bones should be carved in the direction of the line from 5 to
6, and the brisket can be helped by cutting slices from 3 to 4.
The carver should ask the
guests whether they have a preference
for the brisket or ribs; and if there be a sweetbread served with
the dish, as is frequently with this roast of veal, each person
should receive a piece.
Though veal and lamb
contain less nutrition than beef and
mutton, in proportion to their weight, they are often preferred to
these latter meats on account of their delicacy of texture and
flavor. A whole breast of veal weighs from nine to twelve
Carving Fillet of Veal
CARVING A FILLET
A fillet of veal is one of
the prime roasts of veal; it is taken
from the leg above the knuckle; a piece weighing from ten to twelve
pounds is a good size and requires about four hours for roasting.
Before roasting, it is dressed with a force meat or stuffing placed
in the cavity from where the bone was taken out and the flap
tightly secured together with skewers; many bind it together with
To carve it, cut in even
thin slices off from the whole of the
upper part or top, in the same manner as from a rolled roast of
beef, as in the direction of the figs. 1 and 2; this gives the
person served some of the dressing with each slice of meat.
Veal is very unwholesome
unless it is cooked thoroughly, and
when roasted should be of a rich brown color. Bacon, fried pork,
sausage-balls, with greens, are among the accompaniments of roasted
veal, also a cut lemon.
Carving a neck of Veal
CARVING A NECK OF
The best end of a neck
veal makes a very good roasting-piece;
it, however, is composed of bone and ribs that make it quite
difficult to carve, unless it is done properly.
To attempt to carve
each chop and serve it, you would not only place too
piece upon the plate of the person you intend to serve, but you
would waste much time, and should the vertebrate have not been
removed by the butcher, you would be compelled to exercise such a
degree of strength that would make one's appearance very
ungraceful, and possibly, too, throwing gravy over your neighbor
sitting next to you.
The correct way to carve
this roast is to cut
diagonally from fig. 1 to 2, and help in slices of moderate
thickness; then it may be cut from 3 to 4, in order to separate the
small bones; divide and serve them, having first inquired if they
This joint is usually sent
to the table accompanied by bacon,
ham, tongue, or pickled pork, on a separate dish and with a cut
lemon on a plate. There are also a number of sauces that are
suitable with this roast.
How to Carve a
Leg of Lamb
HOW TO CARVE A
LEG OF LAMB or LEG OF MUTTON
The best mutton, and
from which most nourishment is
obtained is that of sheep from three to six years old, and which
have been fed on dry, sweet pastures; then mutton is in its
prime, the flesh being firm, juicy, dark colored and
the richest gravy. When mutton is two years old, the meat is
flabby, pale and flavorless.
In carving a roasted leg,
the best slices are found by cutting
quite down to the bone, in the direction from 1 to 2, and slices
may be taken from either side.
Some very good cuts are
taken from the broad end from 5 to 6,
and the fat on this ridge is very much liked by many. The
cramp-bone is a delicacy, and is obtained by cutting down to the
bone at 4, and running the knife under it in a semicircular
direction to 3. The nearer the knuckle the drier the meat, but the
under side contains the most finely grained meat, from which slices
may be cut lengthwise. When sent to the table a frill of paper
around the knuckle will improve its appearance.
How to Carve a Lamb Forequarter
HOW TO CARVE A
FORE-QUARTER OF LAMB
The first cut to be made
in carving a fore-quarter of lamb is to
separate the shoulder from the breast and ribs; this is done by
passing a sharp carving knife lightly around the dotted line as
shown by the figs. 3, 4 and 5, so as to cut through the skin, and
then, by raising with a little force the shoulder, into which the
fork should be firmly fixed, it will easily separate with just a
little more cutting with the knife; care should be taken not to cut
away too much of the meat from the breast when dividing the
shoulder from it, as that would mar its appearance. The shoulder
may be placed upon a separate dish for convenience.
process is to divide the ribs from the brisket by cutting through
the meat in the line from 1 to 2; then the ribs may be carved in
the direction of the line 6 to 7, and the brisket from 8 to 9. The
carver should always ascertain whether the guest prefers ribs,
brisket, or a piece of the shoulder.
How to Carve a Cooked Ham
HOW TO CARVE A HAM
The carver in cutting a
ham must be guided according as he
desires to practice economy, or have at once fine slices out of the
prime part. Under the first supposition, he will commence at the
knuckle end, and cut off thin slices toward the thick and upper
part of the ham.
To reach the choicer
portion of the ham, the knife, which must
be very sharp and thin, should be carried quite down to the bone
through the thick fat in the direction of the line from 1 to
slices should be even and thin, cutting both lean and fat together,
always cutting down to the bone. Some cut a circular hole in the
middle of a ham gradually enlarging it outwardly. Then again many
carve a ham by first cutting from 1 to 2, then across the other way
from 3 to 4.
Remove the skin after the
ham is cooked and send to
the table with dots of dry pepper or dry mustard on the top, a tuft
of fringed paper twisted about the knuckle, and plenty of fresh
parsley around the dish. This will always insure an inviting
Roast Pig.—The modern way of
serving a pig is not
to send it to the table whole, but have it carved partially by the
cook; first, by dividing the shoulder from the body; then the leg
in the same manner; also separating the ribs into convenient
portions. The head may be divided and placed on the same platter.
To be served as hot as possible.
A Spare Rib of Pork is
carved by cutting slices from the fleshy
part, after which the bones should be disjointed and separated.
A leg of pork may be
carved in the same manner as a ham.
HOW TO CARVE A
HAUNCH OF VENISON
A haunch of venison is
the prime joint,
and is carved
very similar to almost any roasted or boiled leg; it should be
first cut crosswise down to the bone following the line from 1 to
2; then turn the platter with the knuckle farthest from you, put in
the point of the knife, and cut down as far as you can, in the
directions shown by the dotted lines from 3 to 4; then there can be
taken out as many slices as is required on the right and left of
this. Slices of venison should be cut thin, and gravy given with
them, but as there is a special sauce made with red wine and
currant jelly to accompany this meat, do not serve gravy before
asking the guest if he pleases to have any.
The fat of this meat is
apt to cool soon, and
become hard and disagreeable to the palate; it should, therefore,
be served always on warm plates, and the platter kept over a
hot-water dish, or spirit lamp. Many cooks dish it up with a white
paper frill pinned around the knuckle bone.
A haunch of mutton is carved the same as a haunch of
HOW TO CARVE A
A turkey having been
relieved from strings and skewers used in
trussing should be placed on the table with the head or neck at the
carver's right hand. An expert carver places the fork in the
turkey, and does not remove it until the whole is divided. First
insert the fork firmly in the lower part of the breast, just
forward of fig. 2, then sever the legs and wings on both sides, if
the whole is to be carved, cutting neatly through the joint next to
the body, letting these parts lie on the platter.
downward from the breast from 2 to 3, as many even slices of the
white meat as may be desired, placing the pieces neatly on one side
of the platter. Now unjoint the legs and wings at the middle joint,
which can be done very skillfully by a little practice. Make an
opening into the cavity of the turkey for dipping out the inside
dressing, by cutting a piece from the rear part 1, 1, called the
Consult the tastes of the
guests as to which part is
preferred; if no choice is expressed, serve a portion of both light
and dark meat. One of the most delicate parts of the turkey are two
little muscles, lying in small dish-like cavities on each side of
the back, a little behind the leg attachments; the next most
delicate meat fills the cavities in the neck bone, and next to
this, that on the second joints. The lower part of the leg (or
drumstick, as it is called) being hard, tough and stringy, is
rarely ever helped to any one, but allowed to remain on the
HOW TO CARVE A
To carve a goose, first
begin by separating the leg from the
body, by putting the fork into the small end of the limb, pressing
it closely to the body, then passing the knife under at 2, and
turning the leg back as you cut through the joint.
To take off the
wing, insert the fork in the small end of the pinion, and press it
close to the body; put the knife in at fig. 1, and divide the
joint. When the legs and wings are off, the breast may be carved in
long, even slices, as represented in the lines from 1 to 2.
back and lower side bones, as well as the two lower side bones by
the wing, may be cut off; but the best pieces of the goose are the
breast and thighs, after being separated from the drumsticks. Serve
a little of the dressing from the inside, by making a circular
slice in the apron at fig. 3.
A goose should never be
over a year
old; a tough goose is very difficult to carve, and certainly most
difficult to eat.
HOW TO CARVE A
First insert the knife
between the leg and the body, and cut to
the bone; then turn the leg back with the fork, and if the fowl is
tender the joint will give away easily. The wing is broken off the
same way, only dividing the joint with the knife, in the direction
from 1 to 2. The four quarters having been removed in this way,
take off the merry-thought and the neck-bones; these last are to be
removed by putting the knife in at figs. 3 and 4, pressing it hard,
when they will break off from the part that sticks to the
To separate the breast
from the body of the fowl, cut through the
tender ribs close to the breast, quite down to the tail. Now turn
the fowl over, back upwards; put the knife into the bone midway
between the neck and the rump, and on raising the lower end it will
Now turn the rump from
you, and take off very
neatly the two side bones, and the fowl is carved. In separating
the thigh from the drumstick, the knife must be inserted exactly at
the joint, for if not accurately hit, some difficulty will be
experienced to get them apart; this is easily acquired by
There is no difference in
carving roast and boiled
fowls if full grown; but in very young fowls the breast is usually
served whole; the wings and breast are considered the best parts,
but in young ones the legs are the most juicy.
In the case of a
capon or large fowl, slices may be cut off at the breast, the same
as carving a pheasant.
HOW TO CARVE A ROAST
A young duckling may be
carved in the same manner as a fowl, the
legs and wings being taken off first on either side. When the duck
is full size, carve it like a goose; first cutting it in slices
from the breast, beginning close to the wing and proceeding upward
towards the breast bone, as is represented by the lines 1 to 2. An
opening may be made by cutting out a circular slice, as shown by
the dotted lines at number 3.
Some are fond of the feet,
and when dressing the duck, these
should be neatly skinned and never removed. Wild duck is highly
esteemed by epicures; it is trussed like a tame duck, and carved in
the same manner, the breast being the choicest part.
HOW TO CARVE A ROAST
Partridges are generally
cleaned and trussed the same way as a
pheasant, but the custom of cooking them with the heads on is going
into disuse somewhat. The usual way of carving them is similar to a
pigeon, dividing it into two equal parts.
Another method of carving
a roast partridge is to cut
it into three pieces, by severing a wing and leg on either side
from the body, by following the lines 1 to 2, thus making two
servings of those parts, leaving the breast for a third plate.
third method of carving a roast partridge is to thrust back the body
from the legs, and cut
through the middle of the breast, thus making four portions that
may be served. Grouse and prairie-chicken are carved from the
breast when they are large, and quartered or halved when of medium
HOW TO CARVE A PHEASANT
Place your fork firmly in
the center of the breast of this large
game bird and cut deep slices to the bone at figs. 1 and 2; then
take off the leg in the line from 3 and 4, and the wing 3 and 5,
severing both sides the same. In taking off the wings, be careful
not to cut too near the neck; if you do you will hit upon the
neck-bone, from which the wing must be separated.
Pass the knife
through the line 6, towards the neck,
which will detach it. Cut the other parts as in a fowl.
wings and merry-thought of a pheasant are the most highly prized,
although the legs are considered very finely flavored. Pheasants
are frequently roasted with the head left on; in that case, when
dressing them, bring the head round under the wing, and fix it on
the point of a skewer.
A very good way of carving
is to insert the knife
fig. 1, and cut both ways to 2 and 3, when each portion may be
divided into two pieces, then served. Pigeons, if not too large,
may be cut in halves, either across or down the middle, cutting
them into two equal parts; if young and small they may be served
Tame pigeons should be
cooked as soon
as possible after they
killed, as they very quickly lose their flavor. Wild pigeons, on
the contrary, should hang a day or two in a cool place before they
are dressed. Oranges cut into halves are used as a garnish for
dishes of small birds, such as pigeons, quail, woodcock, squabs,
snipe, etc. These small birds are either served whole or split down
the back, making two servings.
Other Meat Resources
Now that you know your different meat cuts, do you know how to manage
your meat and how to freeze it? See our section on preserving
meat for more information on storing, freezing and thawing
You can Add your Own
Comments on Cuts of Meat and Carving!
We have lots of pages
where you can
contribute to throughout this website. We love hearing from our
readers, and hope
you will be one of those we hear from too. Feel free to add anything you
like related to cuts of meat and carving.
Leave a Comment
Do you have anything that you would like to add after reading this page? We would love to hear your thoughts. If you can add additional information to what has been written here you will be adding value to the website! No need to have any special skills - just type and submit. We will do the rest!
Did you find this page helpful?
Sharing is a way of saying, "Thanks!"
Follow Us and Keep Up to Date
miss out on our latest news and articles. Sign up for our free monthly