The Perfect Guide
to help you get the most from your Scotch meat
Because they do more work, the muscles in the neck tend to be tougher than other cuts. However, when cooked slowly they produce a deliciously tender and tasty product perfect for stews and curries. A perfect example of this is the “Scrag” cut of lamb which is usually sold on the bone.
The shoulder joint is very versatile and extremely popular amongst chefs. For a delicious and tender result, the shoulder should be cooked much slower and longer than the leg joint. The shoulder is also an alternative source of steaks such as the “neck fillet” which is packed full of flavour. Marinade with garlic and wild herbs for a unique experience.
This meaty cut called the “Fore Shank” from the lower end of the shoulder is packed full of flavour and becomes deliciously tender when slow cooked. Lamb shank has had a big rise in popularity in recent years, but is still an affordable option that yields a generous amount of meat.
The best end is the joint between the neck and loin comprising the first eight ribs and the lean meat between them. It’s a very versatile cut that can be prepared in a number of ways. The rack of lamb makes a supreme roast, A “Crown of lamb” is a show stopper for the centre of the table, or it can be cut into small chops known as cutlets.
Loins can be roasted but are more commonly available as quick cooking cuts for the eager chef. Compared with other parts of the animal, loin cuts can be very lean. The eye of the loin can be trimmed of all fat and treated as a mini fillet which is called a “cannon” of lamb. Barnsley chops, double loin and Noisettes can all be cut from this versatile part of the carcase. Loin of lamb when left together by the backbone are called a “saddle of lamb”.
Often underused, the breast contributes around 14% of carcase volume. It’s one of the least expensive cuts of lamb, and can be supplied bone-in or boned. Lamb breast is full of flavour but needs to be cooked slowly. It is generally used most with a stuffing and rolled or can be minced to make the perfect Shepherds Pie. Although this cut has layers of connective tissue the fats melt off during cooking and can be poured away.
Lamb chump is the point where the Gigot (Leg) and loin meet. It’s either sold as chops or with the bone removed as steaks, and is ideal for baking slowly in the oven. If roasting isn’t your thing, it’s versatile enough to fry, braise or even BBQ for a delicious result.
Leg of lamb is extremely well known and lends itself to a number of delicious products. It can be roasted bone-in or boned, rolled and tied with a stuffing of your choice. Cuts from this include Topside steaks, Mini lamb joints or Butterflied leg of lamb. Alternatively you can source Scotch Lamb leg steaks, which can be grilled/pan fried whole or cut into strips for a stir-fry.
This meaty cut from the lower end of the leg is called the “Hind Shank” and is packed full of flavour and becomes deliciously tender when slow cooked. Lamb shank has had a big rise in popularity in recent years, but is still an affordable option that yields a generous amount of meat.
As a result of being heavily exercised, the neck and shoulder area of the animal comprise a range of intricate muscles, rich in collagen and full of flavour. Generally they are cheaper cuts of meat such as diced steak for pies and stews as there is a reasonable amount of fat and connective tissue throughout. For best results, it is recommended to cook slowly with plenty of moisture. Further up the neck and situated on the head is the Ox cheeks which ultimately provide a long slow cook to tenderise the meat.
One of the more economical cuts, the shoulder clod is a versatile cut that’s full of flavour with a reasonable amount of fat and connective tissue throughout, usually utilised for dicing steak. For best results, it is recommended to cook slowly with plenty of moisture.
The chuck and blade are Ideal for slow cooking, braising and slow roasting. It’s also very popular for marinating and mincing because of the balance between flavoursome beef and fat content. Flat Iron steaks, Featherblade (Spalebone) muscles comes from this area, and when cooked slowly gives a gelatinous consistency much loved by chefs. Chuck steak when minced gives lovely steak mince.
This unusual cut is gaining in popularity historically turned into stew or minute steaks. Located inside the shoulder, once fully seamed, the leg of mutton cut is lean, fine textured and full of flavour. Cut thinly, it’s ideal for frying, care should be taken to avoid overcooking. Can be rolled whole for a traditional Pot roast.
Brisket is located further forward than flank, but shares a lot of similarities. With lots of texture and reasonable fat cover, it works well with a moist slow heat. You wont get many better cuts for curing, braising and slow cooking. Usually sold rolled in Scotland and a good inexpensive joint of meat.
The cut from the Foreleg of the animal which is generally inexpensive. It should be given plenty of time to cook slowly and can be obtained either on or off the bone. Foodies particularly enjoy the marrow in the bone – a very continental delicacy.
The loin is made up of various ribs known as steaks. Porterhouse steaks (Sirloin on bone with part of vertebrae removed) are cut from the rump end, T-Bone steaks (Sirloin & Fillet attached to vertebrae), sirloin (Striploin) are all cut from the Loin. Loin cuts from the hindquarter begin from between the 10th and 11th rib.
Rib eye is a forequarter cut taken from the fore rib, between the 6th and 10th ribs, cuts from this are “Cote de Boeuf”, Ribeye, Rib-chops and boned and rolled rib roast.
Although the fillet only covers less than 1% of the carcase and sits on the inside of the sirloin. It’s always the most expensive as It’s the least exercised muscle of the animal and is known for its tenderness, which is why it’s often referred to as tenderloin. Weighing approximately 2 – 2.5 kgs, it’s made up of the head (Chateaubriand) the canon/barrel (centre cut steaks) and the tail.
The flank is a long, flat and very flavoursome cut from the animal’s stomach muscles. As a result of being a well-exercised part of the animal, this muscle has an array of fibres and connective tissues. Steaks from the flank must be served rare or should employ alternative, slower cooking techniques.
Rump is made up of three very different muscles – rump cap (Picanha) rump heart (pave) and rump tail. These cuts can be cooked as roasts or sliced into high quality steaks, rump heart being the most tender. The cap (or cover) is often served in some countries as picanha (Latin American origin) Rump lends itself to very thinly sliced minute steaks.
Topside gives a full on beefy flavour can be served whole, rolled, cap on or off. When fully trimmed, there is not much surface or intra muscular fat, so topside should be cooked medium to medium rare to remain moist. Silverside is leaner than Topside as it is a working muscle. Pot roasted gives a great yield. Minute steaks are cut from the silverside. If the silverside joint is to be cooked well done a longer slower method will be better like Sous Vide.
Shin, also known as leg of beef in England, is rich in collagen and connective tissue and has delicious marrow running through the centre of the bone. It’s essential to cook slowly at a low temperature to produce a rich tasty sauce. Cut right through the bone, it’s perfect for Osso Bucco.
Joints, shoulder steaks, mince, sausages, diced (for casseroles).
Roast, pot roast, pan fry, grill, bbq, stew, soup, broth.
The neck or collar as it is sometimes referred, produces delicious meat which should be slow cooked wherever possible to allow intramuscular fat to melt – keeping the meat moist and tender. Pork shoulder cuts are diverse and can be roasted, used for steaks, diced or minced. The shoulder cut alone contributes over 14% to the overall carcass volume.
Joints, loin steaks, back bacon.
Roast, pan fry, grill, bbq.
Loin chops and steaks contribute over 22% of the carcass volume. The loin delivers a number of roasting cuts with joints available both on and off the bone. Alternatively, the loin is used for deliciously lean chops and steaks – available with the rind on or off. The fillet (or tenderloin) of pork is the delicate, lean piece of meat which runs through the loin. Cured, the loin will give you Back Bacon.
Joints, steaks, mince, sausages, bacon, spare-ribs.
Roast, pot roast, pan fry, grill, bbq.
Pork belly is an increasingly fashionable product to work with and offers versatile cuts for all standards of chefs. Ribs can be marinated in a delicious sauce, belly can be rolled, tied and oven-roasted or alternatively, sliced or cut into cubes. Cuts from the belly are fatty and as such offer great taste and beautifully tender meat. Alternatively, belly of pork is cured to make streaky bacon.
Joints, leg steaks, escallops, diced (for kebabs).
Roast, pot roast, pan fry, grill, bbq.
A vast number of legs of pork go for curing to make hams. Those that don’t are dressed as fresh pork – cuts include leg steaks and roasting joints (which can be on the bone or boned, rolled and tied). The leg is a lean piece of meat so be careful not to dry it out when cooking. Legs contribute approximately 22% of the total pork carcass volume.
Roast, pot roast.
Pork shank is the lower part of the leg. It is usually prepared by pot-roasting or oven-roasting slowly to retain the meat’s tenderness. Shank is generally a cost efficient cut and can add something very different to your menu.
Roast, pot roast, pan fry, grill, bbq.
The chump end is positioned at the rear of the loin. Chump chops are more generous than those from the loin. They’re boneless, wider and leaner – running into the top of the leg.