One of the Holiday Traditions is to prepare a Holiday Roast. But how much do you know about your Roast? Here is a little more information on meat fabrication and preparation.
When beef, or any meat for that matter, is harvested it is cut down from a whole carcass to the individual cuts we serve on our plates. Every cut in the process has its own name. A carcass on the rail is cut into two halves. These halves are cut down into 8 “primal” pieces: the Chuck, Rib, Brisket, Plate, Loin, Round, Flank, and Shank. These primal cuts are then broke down further into sub-primal or retail cuts, the steaks and roasts we buy. All of these cuts of meat have specifications that must be met in order to sell. These specifications are called the Institutional Meat Purchasing Specifications (IMPS). There are IMPS for all common meat species and for processed meats too. They can be found at this link: https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/imps.
Much like a car, or canoe the front half of quadrupeds is used for more dynamic movement, or steering. This requires more individual muscles to allow this control. But more individual muscles usually equate to a tougher cut of meat. Most roasts come from these cuts of meat. This is why we use different cooking techniques for roasts as opposed to more tender cuts like steaks. In order to make the roast tenderer we have several options, but perhaps the least used is an enzymatic marinade. Certain fruits including kiwi, pineapple, papaya, and mangos contain enzymes that help break down the tougher connective tissue in meat. Also when cutting meat always cut against the grain, this makes the muscle fibers shorter, and thus tenderer.