Beef Loin Angle 101 Food For Thought

We all know that we are living and cutting in an age of boneless sub-primal cuts. As a matter of fact many meat cutters today (no criticism here) would not know how to properly cut a full beef loin on a band saw. Why should they? Everything is just about boneless except for the Short Loin. Well I believe that “post-primal band-saw meat cutters” need to understand why a proper cutting angle is so important. So lets call this lesson “Food For Thought”

If a meat-cutter doesn’t pre-set the angle of either a short-loin of full beef loin on the movable carriage tray. The cuts that are made will be showing less meat and more bone especially in the sirloin steak area. If your angle isn’t correct and you hit the aitch-bone instead of having a nice slab of sirloin-steak you will have a “gun-stock cut”; more bone than meat. Any old time cutter out there knows exactly what I’m talking about.

What causes this issue at the retail level? The packer! God love those men and women in the packing house business. They work very hard and their lives are controlled by a moving chain. So if you think it is so bad behind the cutting table, walk a mile in their shoes! Unfortunately they haven’t a clue when it comes to angling the beef loin correctly for retail cutting. First of all they use hydraulic scissors to separate loin from round, and the sirloin hip from short loin.

Supermarkets like to put short loins on sale often,(T-bones & Porterhouse). Try this out the next time you get ready to cut a short loin just take a long look at the porterhouse end after that turn it around and look at the T-bone or rib end. The Porterhouse end will look like a lumber-jack cut it with a “chain-saw” and the T-Bone end angle is non-existent. What does this mean? It means miss-cuts for you, and more “expensive trimmings” that you really don’t want.

Now lets get back to the retail cutter. What choice does he/she have? They simply push the Porterhouse end up against the guide and begin cutting and hope and pray they don’t have a “door-stop-cut” when they get to the rib-end of the loin. So what is the proper angle? Put your short loin down on the moveable carriage and take your boning knife and run it along the 13th rib and remove the tissue until the rib is visible. Take your thumb and index finger and place it over the 13th rib and pull it towards the end of the outside edge of the moving carriage so the entire 13th rib is parallel to the outer edge of the moving carriage. Now look at the Porterhouse end. You will be “shocked” at how far off the correct angle is. You see the packer has done their job and got the desired yield from the loin hip break. Unfortunately retail meat-cutter is left to correct the angle to the best of their ability.

Some cutters that know how to slowly correct the angle as they saw each steak. The novice cutter will be left with a” door-stopper cut” and will have to bone it out trying to create a saleable boneless New York strip steak.

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