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Diagram of How to Butcher a Beef Cow

Updated on May 13, 2009

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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

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    • profile image

      Emile R 3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      mary 4 years ago

      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.

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 4 years ago from Yorkshire


      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.




    • profile image 5 years ago

      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.


    • profile image 5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Beef Eater 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Neeraj 5 years ago

      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 ..

    • profile image

      BossHogg 5 years ago

      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....

    • profile image

      trtr 5 years ago


    • profile image

      follyfolly 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      eleanor 5 years ago

      good info it was help for my project

    • profile image

      Dragonfly76 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      eliza 6 years ago

      oooooooooooh?interested picture i like it.makes me hungry

    • profile image

      suechef 6 years ago

      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?

    • profile image

      vijaykumar 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Dillon 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      butcher pete 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      DW Roland 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Emile R 6 years ago

      Very informative article.

    • profile image

      Nals 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Kevin Knight 6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Brandon Kollasch 6 years ago

      Beef is cool and stuff

    • profile image

      Bobby jo 6 years ago

      I like beef

    • profile image

      Rebecca T 6 years ago

      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....

    • profile image

      herman 6 years ago

      seven days without meat, makes one week!

    • profile image

      Ryan Milton 6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      BARRY CLARKE 6 years ago



    • profile image

      Debbie  6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Gene 7 years ago

      Elsie is getting nervious. I wonder why

    • profile image

      Chef Marty 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      mike 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      countrygirl 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      MANAN UNDONG 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      mfd_loghead 7 years ago

      Please tell us how to kill a human next time.

    • profile image

      charles33 7 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      jhayfloyd22 7 years ago

      tenderloin is the most tender part of cow

    • profile image

      jhayfloyd22 7 years ago

      kahapos mag ihaw baka

    • profile image

      Barbara Hunt 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      neville 7 years ago

      here is an interesting and educational game

    • profile image

      jinky 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Markie Mark 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      thony 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      panda man 8 years ago

      u all suck

    • profile image

      cosmo  8 years ago

      very explainitive thank you very much

    • profile image

      Theo 8 years ago

      So soup for tea then.

    • profile image

      Montana Man 8 years ago

      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...

    • profile image

      khaled 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Tricky 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      amisha 8 years ago

      hw informative is this

    • profile image

      amisha 8 years ago

      hw informative is this

    • profile image

      James 8 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      MRS. DAWNY  8 years ago


    • profile image

      William Autut 8 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Julie 8 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      AK John 8 years ago

      Same techniques I use for moose caribou and sheep

    • profile image

      glen the butcher  8 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Lucian 8 years ago

      Im butcher thank's for this site i learn more

    • B.Z. Alixandre profile image

      B.Z. Alixandre 8 years ago from Boise, ID

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

    • SCStrat profile image

      SCStrat 8 years ago from Seattle

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

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 8 years ago from colorado springs

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

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 9 years ago

      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 profile image

      farehamwine 9 years ago from Fareham, Hampshire

      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 profile image

      livelovecoffee 9 years ago from Georgia

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

    • bspilner profile image

      bspilner 9 years ago from Altanta, Ga.

      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 profile image

      expectus 9 years ago from Land Downunder

      nice hub makes me hungry everytime :) , good work

    • real_pearl01 profile image

      real_pearl01 9 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice Hub Dude

    • Masterman535 profile image

      Masterman535 9 years ago from United States

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

    • JoeM profile image

      JoeM 9 years ago

      Beef, its what's for dinner!

    • J_Eds profile image

      J_Eds 9 years ago from Blackpool

      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 profile image

      nnain 9 years ago from India

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