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Diagram of How to Butcher a Beef Cow

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Diagram of How to Butcher a Beef Cow

So you want to know how to butcher a beef cow? Well, this diagram right here is extremely useful. If you look further down, there are even some relevant videos about the process, and some how-to guides on the entire process. Keep in mind that there are numerous ways to name each part of the cow, so I made sure to add a few different pictures so you get the full definition of what each piece of the butchered cow is.

A cow's body described

A cow's body described

Why Write a Blog on This?

Well, there seemed like a high need.  It seemed that there were few sites that really went into any detail or tried to thouroughly answer the question, so I thought I'd try my hand as I know a good deal about meat. I still think that the phrase "i want a diagram of how to butcher a beef cow" seems oddly placed as such a popular search term, but who am I to understand the internet. But then again, I guess it's needed information so here's my best attempt:

Pieces of a cow, with a more realistic view

Pieces of a cow, with a more realistic view

Description of the Various Pieces

1,2 - Neck and Shoulder. This piece of the cow should not go alone. It is recommended that you put it into a soup or broth so that it is easier to swallow.

3 - Spinal area - This is what you should put in your barbeque!! It's decent meat

4. - Sirloin - Everyone knows that the sirloin is the best part of the meat. This should primarily be used for a simple steak dinner. It can be used in a soup, but other parts can just as easily be used, and they don't taste as well on their own.

5. - Rump - The rump can be roasted with the bone. If you do this,then put it into a soup for the best taste.

6. - Leg - Great to make cutlets with, or once again to go in soup. The leg is a nutritious part of the cow as it doesn't have extremely high amounts of fat on it.

7. - Aitchbone - Cut of beef from the upper part of the leg. There is some extremely rich fat along the aitchbone (also incorrectly called the edgebone) that is extremely tasty, so make sure to get it in whatever you do with the Aitchbone.

8, 9 - Humeral and Breast - These are two more pieces that are fantastic in soups or bullion. This can provide quite a bit of nutrition when cooked properly.

10. - Groin - Yea, the groin! Believe it or not this can be made into something edible and relatively tasty when made into cutlets or soup. Nevertheless, some people toss it out instead because of where it's from.  In my opinion that's simply a total waste of meat.

11,12 - Front and rear shank - After marinating, cook the meat at 325 degrees, until it begins to bubble. Following this, simmer for 1 hour. Add vegetables. Cover and simmer for 1 1/4 hours. This will make some fantatsic beef shank.

Cutting the Rump out and Cooking it

Want more diagrams of other things?  Visit Total Diagrams!! 


Emile R on October 15, 2014:

Just wanted to point out the sirloin is OK, but the best cuts are from the loin and rib section. I agree with Mary, if the article is intended to help someone butcher a cow proper handling and storage should be covered in depth. But, this is a great article to help the buyer of a side of beef familiarize themselves, somewhat.

mary on September 04, 2013:

Scroll to Continue

I've been a Butcher for over 30 years, Nice art work but there are a lot of incorrect primal cuts, but for the most part I can tell you put a lot of work into this, good job. I would like it if you could add info on handling and storing meat most people don't know what they are doing. you have a lot of visits to your blog maybe you can spread the word.

Tony Mead from Yorkshire on June 28, 2013:


you've taken a bit of a battering here, but at least you got lots of visits even if a lot of the comments are rude, bad mannered and typical 'know it all' comments all hiding behind their email addresses.

Just shows, make sure that you know your facts before writing here.



Tony on March 20, 2013:

Do more research and go to SCHOOL for cutting up a cow before you post this type of article. You made your self look stupid, and a few others along the way.

Any idiot can make a blog, any idiot can copy and paste. Eduacte yourself before you try to educate others.

Fail. on December 03, 2012:

I am brazilian and i want to know where is locate the pice of the cow is PATINHO, in your butcher cow.

Thanks for help

Beef Eater on September 13, 2012:

Where is the prime rib roast? How long do you lat a carcas age befor cutting it up?

Neeraj on September 12, 2012:

Whoever has wrote this article , will be cursed and will die in a very cruel way, his/her family member will never be happy they will always fight with each other and will die in cruelsome manner..remember whoever eat beef is writing his/her own destiny of bad world ..

BossHogg on July 10, 2012:

These cuts are numbered wrong. He doesn't show where the porter house, N.Y. strip, t-bone & many other fine cuts of meat are at, nice attempt....

trtr on June 07, 2012:


follyfolly on June 03, 2012:

Now i know how to slaughter a cow cow surgery its called

eleanor on May 22, 2012:

good info it was help for my project

Dragonfly76 on May 16, 2012:

We are getting ready to have a cow butchered soon. This is a great way to get a visual to decide how to get it processed. Steak, roasts, stew meat, ground beef ect..... Thank you so much. This was very helpful.

eliza on April 19, 2012:

oooooooooooh?interested picture i like it.makes me hungry

suechef on March 01, 2012:

Surely there's more to the magnificent beef cow's legacy than soup! It seems that (according to this site, at least) all cuts of beef are best served in soups. Are they serious?

vijaykumar on February 28, 2012:

Its really great to learn, coz in future i would like to open a buchery shop.than u

Dillon on January 29, 2012:

I am about to buy a cow and slaughter it, well I am taking it somewhere to do that for me. But when I tell them what cuts I want, Can I just get the whole "backstrap"? That's what I call it. Instead of getting the sirloin, Rib, Rump, Chuck and neck.

butcher pete on January 21, 2012:

i am am a butcher and have been since 1979, im fed up with people who dont understand where there meat comes from and the work involed in prep , sick of being called a murderer,i am a skilled person with a skill that is dying out, it saddens me,in now looking to leave trade and work as undertaker

DW Roland on January 15, 2012:

I'm just a guy from OK and haven't ever butchered my own cow. But I had a cow that broke a leg and couldn't get up. So now I'm learning how to butcher my own beef. I've learned a lot, thanks for the information.

Emile R on January 15, 2012:

Very informative article.

Nals on December 12, 2011:

Cud you guys just stop killing the innocent animals please....

Kevin Knight on December 06, 2011:

Just a note on the diagram of cuts - Clod and Brisket are the wrong way around. There was an old diagram that had this error (titled something like "how to roast a beast") and the error has been replicated many times. Great page - Cheers, K

Brandon Kollasch on November 17, 2011:

Beef is cool and stuff

Bobby jo on November 16, 2011:

I like beef

Rebecca T on October 28, 2011:

In looking forward to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off the land, this site was extremely helpful. I would like more info on feeding for milk cattle too....

herman on October 20, 2011:

seven days without meat, makes one week!

Ryan Milton on September 23, 2011:

I have just purchased a half a cow for the second time and I had the butcher make the cuts too small (like 1 inch steaks). This is perfect so that I can tell them how to cut better.

BARRY CLARKE on September 12, 2011:



Debbie on June 25, 2011:

Hi, is there any truth in the following comment "if the carcass gets wet (by rain) while it is being slaughtered, the meat will be tough?

Thanks, Debbie

Gene on March 13, 2011:

Elsie is getting nervious. I wonder why

Chef Marty on March 06, 2011:

The "Description of various pieces" here sucks. There is almost no reference to the common names of the various cuts, e.g. prime rib, tenderloin, round, chuck, flank, brisket, etc. You'll get better info under "beef" in wikipedia.

mike on February 19, 2011:

any chance of getting the video back this is just what I've been looking for

countrygirl on February 13, 2011:

I found this to be very informative! People that raise cattle know they are going to lose some due to various reasons so cut it up and be done with it. No reason to waste good meat.

MANAN UNDONG on January 24, 2011:

I have been doing butchering in a small abattoir, but this article is useful add-on tips to me. thanks for the author.

mfd_loghead on January 23, 2011:

Please tell us how to kill a human next time.

charles33 on January 23, 2011:

great article...actually kiling a cow in a few weeks.

getting an expert to come over for the first time just to show us what to do but this article gave me a bit more info on what needs to be done for next year

jhayfloyd22 on November 22, 2010:

tenderloin is the most tender part of cow

jhayfloyd22 on November 22, 2010:

kahapos mag ihaw baka

Barbara Hunt on November 21, 2010:

What parts of the cow are the most tender, and where does hanger steak come from?

neville on August 17, 2010:

here is an interesting and educational game

jinky on July 28, 2010:

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm pinag araln nmin yan nakaka antuk but so many lesson u can learn hahaha

Markie Mark on July 10, 2010:

Wow! I've just been inspired to go kill a cow!

thony on June 07, 2010:

i im a new butcher here in Qatar,i want to learn more how to cut the beef!!!

panda man on April 29, 2010:

u all suck

cosmo on April 24, 2010:

very explainitive thank you very much

Theo on April 07, 2010:

So soup for tea then.

Montana Man on April 06, 2010:

Yea I agree with some folks about the wrong cut of beef names but you still did a good explaining. We cut up a beef, several deer, an elk and two lambs each year as well as butchering 40 chickens, grind hamburger, make sausage, and jerky. It's nice to know what you eat...

khaled on March 18, 2010:

im good one at this jop i kill cow and cuting at 2 hours

Tricky on February 03, 2010:

I'm afraid he is right on target. Good job.

amisha on December 29, 2009:

hw informative is this

amisha on December 29, 2009:

hw informative is this

James on December 18, 2009:

Julie is correct. I was trying to teach my g/f something and after I got to number 4 I was like... This is all off by one. You messed me up.

MRS. DAWNY on December 11, 2009:


William Autut on October 15, 2009:

This works really well for caribou - up in the Canadian high arctic...thanks for the useful info!

Julie on August 10, 2009:

I just want to point out that you need to correct everything after area four. Area four is the short loin, which you missed. So everything after that is not right.

AK John on August 06, 2009:

Same techniques I use for moose caribou and sheep

glen the butcher on August 04, 2009:

you should probably go back and study the parts that you have labeled as spinal (which is ribeye) and sirloin(which is shortloin) rump (which is sirloin) Another words its labeled wrong but very good effort! I liked the setup for the diagram and the realistic look of the beef. please correct so that this info doesn't mislead people. Thanks

Lucian on July 03, 2009:

Im butcher thank's for this site i learn more

B.Z. Alixandre from Boise, ID on June 10, 2009:

I may not be butchering any time soon, but I always wanted the parts of the meat explained to me, thanks!

SCStrat from Seattle on June 05, 2009:

Funny, I was just talking about butchering a cow the other day for fun. Great article!!

christine almaraz from colorado springs on May 28, 2009:

Thanks for the info. Now I actually know how to cook each part.

Erick Smart on May 13, 2009:

We raise beef cattle on our small farm, but butchering is such a process I am more than happy to pay someone else to do it. The meat needs aged, you need a clean facility, and so many tools are needed. It is just easier to leave this to the experts.

farehamwine from Fareham, Hampshire on February 17, 2009:

These are the American cuts for beef, the British and French way of butchering a cow is completely different, but very interesting all the same.

livelovecoffee from Georgia on February 02, 2009:

This is a very interesting Hub! Thanks for the information.

bspilner from Altanta, Ga. on February 02, 2009:

If I ever need to pull a survivor man and there happens to be a cow around - i think i will do alright. excellent write up! does this work for other animals I may encounter if lost in the woods (bears, deer, etc.) Just Kidding.

You really did an awesome write up and have excellent use of imagery!

expectus from Land Downunder on January 19, 2009:

nice hub makes me hungry everytime :) , good work

real_pearl01 from Pakistan on January 10, 2009:

Nice Hub Dude

Masterman535 (author) from United States on January 09, 2009:

Well it is a bit random, but I enjoy writing hubs about all sorts of topics :)

JoeM on January 09, 2009:

Beef, its what's for dinner!

J_Eds from Blackpool on January 09, 2009:

How random... but interesting all the same!!

I would HOPE that only butchers would be doing this, and I'd HOPE they'd get training :P

nnain from India on December 23, 2008:

I am never going to butcher a cow, but its good to know information :)

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