Slaughtering Cattle for Meat, What are Beef Cuts & Steak Cuts

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Slaughtering Cattle for Meat, What are Beef Cuts & Steak Cuts

Slaughtering Cattle for Meat, What are Beef Cuts & Steak Cuts

Slaughtering Cattle for Meat, What are Beef Cuts & Steak Cuts

Slaughtering Cattle for Meat, What are Beef Cuts & Steak Cuts


I want to explain what the basics of the slaughtering of cattle were.  In the race for self sufficiency, many people forget to get the basic knowledge of the self-sufficient life.  Using cattle for meat is a much needed skill if you want to live that lifestyle.

Before you begin, I know that all of these steps are long and it seems like a lot, but take it in small chunks.  And, hey, you could always jump to the bottom to see the youtube video that I placed in here!  All this being said, lets get started on the basic steps in slaughtering cattle:

  1. Prepare for the slaughter:  You will want to gather the require materials, ensure their cleanliness, and prepare your final slaughtering site.  This will get you prepared and organized so you dont botch the slaughtering.
    1. Equipment needed:
      1. Rifle such as 22 or 30/30.  22 is sufficient.
      2. Chain hoist or tractor with lift
      3. Beef Spreader or Singletree
      4. 6 inch boning knife
      5. 8 inch butchering knife
      6. 10-12 inch steel
      7. 26 inch Meat saw
      8. Pans for meat
      9. Lots of cold, clean water
  2. Ready, Aim, Fire: Find the imaginary X that is made when you draw two imaginary lines, one from the base of the right poll or horn to the left eye and another from the base of the left poll or horn to the right eye, and shoot right in the center of the X with your rifle.  This is probably the most humane way to kill cattle.  Don’t do this or any other steps in front of your herd please.  You will freak them out.
  3. Cut the throat: Stick your knife in the neck and cut outward and away from you, ensuring you hit the arteries.  To bleed it out, go ahead and pump the legs until you don’t get blood out anymore.  If the bovine has no signs of being alive, don’t worry about the legs moving, as this is a nervous system reflex.
  4. Remove head and testicals to reduce the chances of tainting the meat: cut around the entire neck, but between the skin and meat, not the hair.  Use a bonesaw to cut through the spine.  Careful on the testicals since it may still be kicking.
  5. Remove front feet/ lower leg: Put knife into knee joint and move around knee, keeping blade on cartilage until you can remove the leg.
  6. Grab front end loader or tractor with attachment, this will allow you to transfer the bovine to the slaughtering area, but you can also finish out the slaughter locally if you use a block and tackle chain hoist.
  7. Hook and move it to the clean slaughter area that we mentioned.  Hook it by making incisions through it’s “ankle” between its achilles tendon (or gam cord) and the hock bone.  You will attach the single tree or beef spreader to the holes and either move it, or hoist it up with the hoist on a large tree.
  8. Remove hind feet and shanks.  Skin the hind legs up to the hock.  If hanging we will saw through bone above the hock, or below the hock if you aren’t hanging it.
  9. Skin it:
    1. Cut around the hock starting at the gam cord hole, cutting outwards.
    2. Under skin, above muscle, slice a line down each leg to the center, then all the way down to the neck.  Makes a “Y” shape.
    3. Skin the belly, by pulling down hard from the hock cut while cutting skin free from flesh as you continue to pull down.
    4. Skin the back legs and back.  Careful around the scrotum and the utter if you want to save the hide, because it can be damaged easiest.  Keep as much fat as possible of the carcass.
    5. Continue skinning over the anus to the tailbone.  Jerk the tail hard to snap it from the spine.
    6. Work all around till you reach the forefront.
    7. Skin the forelegs near the shoulders, starting on the outside of the leg and working around to the front. Repeat for the other leg.
    8. Skin the neck and inner forelegs. By this time the hide should be completely shed.
  10. Remove offal/ viscera.
  11. Split the carcass.  Saw through the sacral vertebrae starting at the pelvic bone, where it attaches via cartilage.  Saw all the way up the back to the neck then split the ribcage by cutting through the brisket.
  12. Clean carcass with cold water and trim any bruised or bloodied meat.
  13. Hang carcass for aging in a pretty sterile environment that is away from any odors.  The carcass will soak these up.  It is usually recommended to age the carcass from 5-10 days and some say two weeks.

I was going to do beef cuts, but this post is long enough so enjoy the video!: (Somewhat Graphic, so beware!)

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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