The Meat Knowledge Dump

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A LOT OF THIS POST WAS COPIED FROM A USDA GLOSSARY OF MEAT TERMS.  I have added some words and will continue to add more in the future.

Abattoir-  a slaughterhouse.

Abdominal Tunic- the heavy sheet of connective tissue between the flank muscles.

Acceptable Quality Level- the maximum number of defects per hundred units acceptable as a process average.

Acetabulum- the hip joint socket where the distal end of the femur fits.

Achilles Tendon- heavy connective tissue that extends from the gastrocnemius, superficial digital flexor, biceps femoris and semitendinous muscles into the hock.  Commonly called the gambrel cord.

Actin- a muscle protein.

Additive- any material other than meat or meat byproducts that is added to a meat product.

Adipose Tissue- fat.

Aerobes- microorganisms that live, grow and reproduce in the presence of oxygen.

Aging- changing meat flavor and tenderness by holding it under controlled conditions to allow enzymatic activity to degrade complex proteins.  Dry-aging is done in a humidity controlled cooler and wet-aging occurs in refrigerated vacuum bags.

Aitch bone- the split portion of the pubis (bone).

Anaerobe- microorganisms that live, grow and reproduce in the absence of oxygen.

Anterior- toward the front or directed toward the head.

Artery Pumping- a method of distributing a curing solution throughout a ham using the circulatory system.  The femoral artery is used.

Artificial Casing- a synthetic casing into which sausage is stuffed.  Could be either inedible cellulose or edible collagen.

Artificial Coloring- a synthetic dye either mixed into raw product of impregnated into casings to color the outer surface of stuffed sausages.

Atlas Joint- first cervical vertebrae, point used to remove heads during harvest.

Back Ribs- a common name for Pork Loin, Back Ribs.  IMPS item 422.

Backstrap- attaches the dorsal muscles to the spinous processes, ligamentum nuchae.

Bacteria- the most diverse group of one-celled microorganisms that affect food.

Bag odor- putrid odors caused by the growth of either facultative anaerobes or fully anaerobic bacteria that were originally present on vacuum packaged meat cut exteriors.

Ball of Femur- the round proximal end of the femur that fits into the hip socket.

Ball Tip- a common name for IMPS Item 185B: Beef Loin, Bottom Sirloin Butt Ball Tip.

Bark- a common name for the fat covering a carcass or cut.

Barrow- a castrated male swine.

Beef- either a bovine or the meat from a bovine.

Beef Blocks- 60 pound blocks of boneless, frozen, lean beef imported from high marginal land countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Uruguay.  The U.S. use a lot of this product to blend with domestic beef fat trimmings.

Bell Scraper- a bell shaped, handled device used to remove hair from scalded hog carcasses.

Belly- the wholesale cut of pork commonly further processed into bacon.

Biceps Femoris- a major muscle in beef bottom rounds and pork hams.

Binder- substances that bind materials in sausage emulsions, such as gelatinous muscle tissue, cereal flours, dried skim milk, etc.

Biogenic Amines- basic nitrogenous compounds formed mainly by decarboxylation of amino acids or by animation and transanimation of aldehydes and keytones.  Food containing high amounts of biogenic amines may have toxicological effects.

Blade Meat- IMPS Item 109B – Beef, Blade Meat.

Bladebone- scapula.

Blast freezer- a refrigerated room maintained at 0 to -40F with rapid air movement.

Block Chopper- a powerful meat grinder used to coarse grind partially frozen 60 pound blocks of meat.  Block choppers supply mixer/blenders and mixers in turn supply a fine plated run-out grinder.

Blood Splash/Shot- hemorrhaging within muscles caused by abnormally high blood pressure before exsanguination (sticking).  Cause is too long of a delay between stunning and sticking.

Bloom- the oxygenation process meat undergoes when exposed to air.

Boar- an uncastrated male hog.

Boar Odor- a urine-like, barnyard, sweaty odor often associated with intact mature male hogs.  Boar odor is most noticeable in affected finished products that are served hot.

Bob Veal- an very young veal calf, usually under 21 days of age.

Boilable Bags- thermoplastic pouches into which hot precooked soup or sauce items are filled; these same primary product containers can be placed in boiling tanks of water to reheat for serving.  Reheated bags are generally cut open and dumped in steam table pans.

Bone Chip Collector- a device attached to a meat grinder head that uses a grooved plate to separate out hard objects that  are too large to pass through the grinder plate holes.  AKA Bone extruder.

Bone Sour- putrid odors caused by either facultative anaerobes or totally anaerobic bacteria.  These anaerobic bacteria may have originally been present in lymph nodes, in bone joints or may gain entrance along bones after harvest.  Decaying joint-fluid is also thought to contribute to some cases of bone sour.  Post harvest chill coolers must be adequate to cause rapid body heat dissipation or else the above described growth of anaerobic microorganisms is likely to occurred; especially in heavy carcasses.

Boners- usually thin beef brood or dairy cow carcasses for ground products processing.

Bovine- of or belonging to the genus of cattle.

Boxed Meat- meat that has been cut into primals or sub-primals; vacuum packaged and closed into cartons.

Brachiocephalicus- a major muscle that extends the shoulder and flexes the neck.  Starts at the head and ends at the humerus.

Brander- a long metal wheel that is heated red-hot; it rolls over raw patties as they enter continuous ovens to make char-marks.

Break- reduce a carcass to primal cuts.

Breaker- usually beef brood or dairy cow carcasses that posses enough quality and muscling to be fabricated.

Break Joint- a point above the knee of lamb (young) carcasses from which the distal portion of the metacarpus will easily separate from the distal epiphyseal plate.

Brisket- the chest in live cattle; a beef cut that is ventral to the Square Cut Chuck and anterior to the Short Plate.

Bromelin- an enzyme isolated from pineapple that will degrade muscle protein; can be used as a meat tenderizer.

BRT- boned, rolled and tied (or netted).

Bucky- a male ovine (sheep) carcass which exhibits masculine secondary sex characteristics, such as, enlarged shoulders and thick necks.

Bull- a live uncastrated male bovine or a male bovine carcass in the B or older skeletal maturity group that exhibits masculine secondary sex characteristics.

Bullock- an uncastrated or latently castrated male bovine.  In the carcass it is difficult to determine if the animal was an intact male at the time of slaughter.  So, secondary sex characteristics are used to differentiate between steers and bullocks.  Bullocks must be in the A skeletal maturity group, otherwise they are classified as bulls.

Bursa- a pouch-like cavity or sac, usually found in joints.

Butcher’s Heart- IMPS Item 185B – Beef Loin, Bottom Sirloin Butt Ball Tip, Boneless.

Butcher’s Steel- a handled steel rod used to realign the fine cutting edge of a knife.

Butt- the thicker end of something.  Pork shoulder butts are the thicker end of the whole pork shoulder.

Buttons- the soft white cartilaginous tips of the dorsal end of the spinous processes (featherbones) of younger animals.

Calcification- the process by which organic tissues become hardened by a deposit of calcium salts.

Calcified (scratchy) Periosteum- calcified periosteum that is rough.

Calf- a young prepubescent bovine of either sex.  The lean meat is usually greyish red to moderately red in color.

Callous- nerve damage in the longissimus dorsi muscle caused by either physical or chemical trauma.  When muscle fibers die they are replaced by connective tissue and fat cells.  The effected area looks mostly fat.  Chemical causes of callous (steatosis) include pour-on products used to control insects and parasites.

Cannon Bone- long bone between the knee or hock and hoof.

Cap Meat- IMPS 109B – Beef Rib, Blade Meat.

Capon- a surgically castrated male chicken under 8 months of age

Captive Bolt Gun- device used to render an animal senseless by shooting a retractable steel rod in the brain.

Caramel Coloring- a water soluble food dye manufactured by heating carbohydrates, either alone or in the presence of acids, alkalies and/or salts.  Used extensively to provide desired cooked meat color to hydrated soy grit containing products.

Carcass- The prepared or dressed body of any porcine, bovine or ovine intended for human food.

Cartilage- a specialized fibrous, elastic, or hyaline connective tissue found in the carcass.  Cartilage ossifies as animals mature, making it an important consideration when determining carcass skeletal maturity.

Casing- natural or synthetic tubular sausage product container.

Catfish- a common name for the supraspinatus.  Other common names include the chuck tender, mock tender, scotch tender, etc.  IMPS item 116B.

Caudal- posterior/toward or neat the tail of an animal.

Caul Fat- meat industry term for fat that surrounds the stomach and abdominal organs.  This fat looks like lace.

Cellar Trim- the lean and fat that overlies the bladebone of a Pork Shoulder, Boston Style Roast, boneless.

Cellulose Casing- an inedible sausage casing made from cotton liner or wood pulp.  Such casings are permeable to both water and air.

Cervical- of or toward, or pertaining to the neck.

Channel Fat- adipose tissue located on the ventral side of thoracic vertebrae.

Child Nutrition Labeling- a voluntary program that evaluates formulations to determine the contribution toward the meal pattern requirements.

Chine Bones-  the split spinal vertebrae resulting from the longitudinal division of the carcass into sides.

Chitterlings- small intestines of the hog.

Chub- a meat product in a relatively large diameter casing,

Chuck Cover- common name for the trapezius muscle of the chuck.

Chuck Tender- supraspinatus muscle.  Mock tender, scotch tender, catfish etc.

Chunked and Formed- a meat product made from meat chunks where salt-soluble meat protein is extracted to bind meat pieces together when cooking coagulates extracted protein.  Forms are usually casings or loaf pans.

Closed Side- the right side of a beef carcass where the kidney knob fat is closely attached to the side.

Coccygeal- of or pertaining to the vertebrae or the tail.

Cod Fat- fat in the scrotum of steers.  Fat sometimes resembles a cluster of grapes.

Cold Shortening- condition caused when muscles are exposed to extreme cold while still in a pre-rigor state.  Affected muscles shorten up and remain tough.

Collagen- the main protein in skin, bone, cartilage and connective tissue.

Collagen Casings- a sausage casing manufactured from a collagen source, such as the corium layer of beef hides.

Combo Bins- meat storage containers that hold approximately 2000 pounds of usually raw meat.  They are either thick plastic with the bottom part molded for fork truck lifting or collapsible cardboard bins that are set up on pallets (skids).  Forklift-able stainless steel containers of similar size are called vats or tanks.

Continuous Oven- an in-line oven equipped with a metal conveyor belt.  For pre-cooked patty operations such ovens sometimes start with a gas-fired char-marker, then a long stretch of gas-fired broiling; then a segment of steam cooking to quickly bring product up to temperature.

Continuous Smokehouse- a long thermal processing unit where trees of product on rail trolleys slowly move through cooking and showering phases, such houses are often used in high volume emulsion type sausage production.

Continuous Thermal Screw- in-line machine to brown ground meat either in cooking oil or water.  When water is used water some soluble meat nutrients (protein, minerals & vitamins), as well as meat fines, are washed out.

Cooler Shrink- primarily moisture loss from initial carcass chilling.

Comitrol- a machine that slices/flakes meat into a desired size what can then be formed into restructured meat products.

Comminuted- reducing meat piece size; usually by grinding, dicing or bowl chopper.

Complexus- a muscle that helps raise the head.  It begins at the skull and ends posterior to the scapula.

Condemned- carcasses, products or ingredients that the FSIS has declared to be unfit for human consumption.

Conformation- The way a carcass is shaped with emphasis on the relative development of muscles and bones.  Good conformation in meat animals is indicated by a comparatively high meat to bone ratio with an added emphasis on high-priced cut carcass regions.

Connective Tissue- A fibrous tissue that supports and connects other tissues of an animal’s body.

Corned Beef- salted cured beef.

Costal Cartilage- cartilage that attaches the distal end of the ribs to the sternum.

Cow- a female bovine that has given birth or is over approximately 42 months of age (as determined from skeletal carcass maturity).

Cranial- toward the head or front.

Cross Rib Roast- a cut from the arm portion of the beef chuck that contains the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs.

Cryogenic Freezing- a system that uses condensed gasses, such as liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide as the refrigerant.  This is the fastest method to freeze meat, small ice crystals form thereby reducing meat cell rupture.

Cubed Meat- meat that has been tenderized by a machine that has two wheels of cutting teeth that score fresh boneless meat without cutting all the way through it.

Culotte- industry term for the bicepts femoris portion of the sirloin butt.

Cure- a mixture of ingredients used in meat curing that may include salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (and/or nitrate), sodium erythorbate, sodium phosphate, spices and water.

Cured- meat products that have been infused with solution or rubbed with ingredients to enhance flavor, color, and shelf-life.

Cushion of Ham- the semimembranosus.  Rounded, inside, heavily fleshed posterior surface of ham.

Custom Exempt- inspection status of a meat packing plant that slaughters animals as a service and does not sell any meat products.

Cut- a specific segment of meat.

Cutaneus Trunci- thin surface muscle.  On a beef shoulder it is commonly called the shoulder rose and the flank portion of it is often called the elephant ear.

Dark Cutter- a beef carcass that exhibits a dull, darker than normal ribeye.

Deckle- the coarse strip of lean and fat located between the rib bones and deep pectoral.

Deep Pectoral- the major muscle in the brisket.

Defect- any nonconformance of a sample with specified requirements.

Denuded of Fat- remove all surface fat from a meat cut.

Diaphragm- the large sheet of muscle and fascia that separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities.  The muscle is commonly called the outside skirt.

Dicer- a machine that cuts meat into relatively uniform cubes.

Distal- farthest from point of attachment, usually refers to limbs.

Dorsal- of, on, near or toward the back.

Dressing Percentage- the percentage of live animal weight left in a dressed carcass.

Dried Meat- substantially dehydrating fresh or cured meat.  Such meat may be dehydrated with or without heat.

Dry Cure- the application of a curing mixture by rubbing it on the exterior of meat cuts; this method easiest on thin cuts.

E. Coli- a mesophilic microorganism that is sometimes contained in fecal material.

Edible- any material that is safe for human consumption.

Electrical Carcass Stimulation- electrical stimulation of freshly harvested meat animal carcasses to accelerate the natural processes leading to rigor mortis; this process is also believed to enhance meat tenderness.

Elbow Joint- the juncture of the distal end of the humerus and the proximal ends of the radius and ulna.

Emaciated- abnormally thin or weak, normally associated with old cull dairy cows.

Emulsion- the semi-fluid mixture of chopped meat, water, spices and cure prior to stuffing and thermal processing to yield sausage products.

Encapsulated- inside a capsule, walled off or set apart by a membrane.

Enhanced- usually fresh pork or poultry cuts pumped by a meat packing plant with water, salt microbial inhibitors and sometimes sodium phosphate.  Such meat cannot be pumped with a sodium phosphate containing brine and still be labeled “Natural.”

Erythorbates- isomers of ascorbates that speed up the development and stability of cured meat color.  They are also used to reduce residual nitrite in cured meat products.

Establishment Number- inspection legend.

Ewe- an adult female sheep.

Excellent Condition- exposed lean and fat surfaces that are of a color and bloom normally associated with the class, grade, cut of meat and typical of meat which has been properly stored and handled.

Extender- a non-meat additive that increases weight of sausage products, e.g., hydrated soy grits, flour, NFDM, etc.

Extruder- a mechanical device that pushes product through a tube.

Exudates- cellular fluid that has separated from product.

Fabricating- fashioning or constructing one or more pieces of meat into an end or intermediate meat product.

False Lean- the trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles imbedded in the fat overlaying the pork shoulder or loin.

Facultative Anaerobes-  bacteria that can live in both the presence and absence of atmospheric oxygen.

Fascia- the sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue that forms an envelope for muscles or organs.

Fat Cap- fat on the surface of sausages or canned meat products.

Feather Bones- a common name for the split dorsal processes of the thoracic vertebrae.

Feathering- fat deposits that lie beneath the pleura and between the intercostal muscle bundles.

Fell Membrane- the inner layer of skin on a lamb carcass after pelt removal.

Femoral- of, arising from or pertaining to the femur.

Fermentation- the addition of a specific “friendly” bacteria to meat in order to produce lactic acid.

Fibula- the long thin bone that lies along the lateral surface of the tibia.

Fiery Fat- blood spots on subcutaneous fat from the same cause as Blood Splash in muscle tissue.

Filet Mignon- a beef tenderloin steak.

Fillets- boneless meat portions.

Finish- the amount of subcutaneous fat on a meat animal.

Finger Bones- a common name for the split dorsal processes of the lumbar vertebrae.

Finger Meat- the intercostal muscle, commonly called rib fingers or finger trimmings.

Flank Streaking- a stratum of fat within and upon the inside flank muscle.

Flap- Meat- a common name for the obliquus abdominis internus, IMPS 185A.

Flat- a common name for the biceps femoris in the outside round and the deep pectoral in the brisket.

Flow Meter- a device that measures the number of water gallons added to a mixer.  Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon; flow meter calibration is checked off mixer load-cell weights.

Foreign Material- usually refers to glass, dirt, insect parts, hair, wood, or metal.

Foreign Object Detection (FOD)- in-line x-ray equipment that either raw or pre-cooked products pass through.

Forequarter- the anterior portion of a beef side, separated between the 12th and 13th ribs.

Foresaddle- the unsplit front or anterior portion of ovine, veal and calf carcasses.

Foreshank- distal portion of the front leg.

Formula-Fed Veal- young bovine which exhibits lighter colored meat than normal for its maturity as a result of being maintained on a special feed.

Freezer Burn- a deteriorative change of frozen meat caused by dehydration.  Freezer burned meat is light-colored and fats may exhibit oxidative rancidity.

Fresh Chilled- uncured or unpreserved meat products from which the body heat was quickly removed, lowering tissue temperatures to 30 – 40F range.

Fresh Frozen- frozen, uncured meat.

Fresh Meat- meats that have not been cured or frozen.

Frozen- according to IMPS, meat reduced to 0F or below.  Industry often considers meat below 28F as frozen.

FSIS- Food Safety Inspection Service.  The USDA agency that inspects for the wholesomeness of meat and poultry products.

Gambrel- a metal bar placed between the hind legs of a hog carcass to separate the legs and to hang the entire carcass from.

Gastrocnemius- a muscle found in the hindshank.

Gelatin- a tasteless, odorless protein obtained by partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from skin, white connective tissue and bones.

Gilt- a female swine that has not farrowed (given birth).

Glaze- usually a gelatin, sugar or starch mixture that is flavored and applied to the surface of cooked ham; then congealed by direct heat.

Gluteus Medius- commonly called the jump muscle in live bovines and is a major muscle in the beef sirloin butt.

Gondola- a wheeled metal box hand truck for in-plant product transport.

Gracilis Membrane- the white fibrous tissue that covers the semimembranosus muscle.

Grade- a commercial subdivision of a product based on certain definite and preference determining factors or the act of grading.

Gracilis Muscle- a muscle in the top round.

Grain-fed Cattle- relatively young bovines fed grain; usually for a time period of 90 to 120 days prior to harvest.

Grass-fed Cattle- bovines that were fed grass or roughage and little grain or concentrate prior to harvest.

Green Meat- fresh, uncured meat.

Green Weight- the weight of product prior to pumping or other processing.

Gristle- cartilage or tough fibrous connective tissue.

Gross Weight- the weight of product plus its packaging, closure materials and shipping container.

Half Moon- a common name for the pectorals profundi.

Hanging Tender- the thick muscle dorsal attachments of the diaphragm.

Hardwoods- woods containing a limited amount of resin; such as hickory,  oak, cherry, apple, beech and maple which are slowly burned to smoke some meat products.

Heart Bread- a common name for the portion of the beef thymus gland located inside the thoracic cavity.

Heart Fat- the fat in the anterior end of the thoracic cavity.

Heat Ring- the cold shortening of the outside of the rib-eye muscle that causes a darkened and sunken appearance.

Heel- the tough fibrous group of small muscles adjacent to the femur in the lower portion of the outside round.

Heifer- a female bovine that has not calved and is under about 42 months of age.

Hermetic- airtight.

Heterocyclic Amines- possible cancer causing chemicals formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Hide Puller- a device used to remove cattle hides by clamping chains to the hide and pulling either up or down away from the carcass.

Hindquarter- the posterior end of a beef side; separated between the 12th and 13th ribs.

Hindsaddle- the posterior half of an ovine, veal or calf carcass.

Hindshank- the distal portion of the hind leg, including the tibia, fibula, covering muscles and connective tissues.

Hip- the sirloin portion of the hindquarter.

Hock Joint- the joint between the distal end of the tibia and the proximal end of the metatarsus, corresponds to the human heel.

Honeycomb Tripe- a common name for the reticulum (second ruminant stomach).

Hot Fat Trim- a method of removing adipose tissue.

HRI- an acronym for hotels, restaurants and institutions.

Humerus- the long bone of the upper forelimb, extending from the shoulder joint to the elbow joint.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein- a flavor enhancer mainly used in high liquid processed foods.  HVP is produced by breaking grain proteins into component amino acids.

Ilium- the anterior end of the pelvis, commonly called the pin bone or hip bone.

Immediate Container- the packaging material that is in direct contact with product.

Ingesta- food or drink taken into the stomach.

Inject- the introduction of solutions into the muscles by injecting, also known as pumped.

Inpingement Oven- similar to a convection oven except heated air is blown at high speeds directly at cooking product, such ovens are said to enhance desired meat product browning and to increase cooking yields.

Inspection Ink- edible vegetable dye.

Inspection Legend- the establishment number, official mark or statement authorized by FSIS regulations.

Institutional Meat Purchasing Specifications (IMPS)- Specifications developed by the USDA to provide uniform cutting guidelines for each wholesale meat cut assigned an IMPS number.

Intercostal Muscle- muscle tissue located between the ribs.

IQF- an acronym for individually quick frozen.

Iridescent Meat Color- meat contains iron, fat and other compounds that sometimes cause the appearance of a rainbow-like visual effect on a cross-cut meat surface.   This light color dispersing phenomenon is not very common, but when seen is usually in beef round or ham slices.

Jaccard- mechanical blade tenderization of meat.

Jowl- a wholesale cut of pork that consist of the check muscle and the fat & skin surrounding it.  Jowl meat contains a lot of lymph nodes.

Judas- a goat trained to lead sheep from the pens to the harvest area.

Kabob- boneless meat cubes normally placed on skewers along with vegetables, then grilled.

Kidney Knob- the kidney and surrounding fat.

Kip Skins- hides or leather from calves.

Kosher- fit to be eaten according to Hebraic or Talmudic dietary or ceremonial law.

KPH- an acronym for kidney, pelvic and heart fat.

Lactation- the secretion of milk by mammary tissue.

Lard- rendered pork fat.

Lateral- pertaining to the side, away from the median plane.

Latissimus Dorsi- a wide triangular muscle that flexes the shoulder.

Leaf Fat- the heavy fat layer that lines the abdominal cavity of hog carcasses.

Leakers- ruptured product containers, usually result in a lack of vacuum packaging.

LFTB- acronym for finely textured lean beef.  More accurately described as Low Temperature Rendered Beef.  A by product of beef tallow production.

Life Begins at 40- a common food safety saying.

Lifter Meat- the common name for beef blade meat, IMPS item 109B.

Ligamentum Nuchae- a thick elastic band of ligament imbedded between muscle bundles on the dorsal surface of the neck.  Commonly called backstrap.

Listeria monocytogenes- cold-loving (psychrotroph) bacteria that causes severe health problems in humans.

Loaf- a meat food product in a loaf form.

London Broil- boneless beef cuts that can be broiled then thinly sliced (thin slicing is for a tenderness effect), originate from the chuck, round, flank etc.

Longissimus Dorsi- major muscle of the beef rib and loin – lamb, veal & calf rack and loin and pork loin.  Commonly called the rib-eye.

Longus Colli- commonly called the rope muscle.

Lumbar- of, pertaining to, or located within the area of the carcass between the last rib and the hip bone.

Lymph Gland- structures located along the lymph vessels. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system and function as filters for fluid lymph.

Mammary Tissue- a gland that secretes milk.

Manifest- a basic common carrier transportation document that lists cargo.

Marbling- fat flecking within muscles, intramuscular fat.

Massaging- a mechanical agitation process to facilitate salt-soluble protein extraction from pumped meat products.  Extracted protein binds stuffed or formed meat pieces together when proteins are coagulated by heat during thermal processing.  Tumbling (and often vacuum tumbling) is a more common practice to obtain the same results.

Maturity- refers to a grouping of carcasses as determined by evaluation of size, shape and ossification of carcass bones and cartilages plus the color & texture of lean.

Measle Meat- a condition caused by tissue encystment by the intermediate stage of tapeworms.

Meat Byproducts- any part fit for human food, other than meat, including but not limited to organs, glands such as sweetbreads, stomachs, lips, snouts, feet & ears.

Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM)- a paste-like product produced by forcing ground meat & bones through a sieve, under high pressure, in order to separate tooth-hazard size bone fragments from edible meat tissue.

Melt- common term for spleen.

Mesentery- a fold of tissue that attaches organs to body cavity walls.

Mesophile- microorganisms whose optimum growth temperature is in the range of mammal body temperatures.

Microbial Activity- the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds.

Microorganisms- very small living cells including bacteria, yeasts, and molds.

Microwave Tempering- a large microwave, equipped with a plastic conveyor belt, where 60 pound cartons of boneless meat are passed through before being formulated and coarse ground.

Milk-fed Veal- meat from the carcasses of very young calves that have been fed mainly on milk with little or no grain or roughage in their rations.

Mock Tender- a common name for the supraspinatus.

Mold- multi-celled microorganisms that produce toxins.

Mountain Oysters- common name for testicles that are prepared as human food.

Mouse- the flexor digitorum superficialis muscles of the pork shank; the same muscle in beef is called the rat.

Mucosal Lining- the membrane that lines the intestinal tract and body cavities that are exposed to air.

Mutton- meat derived from carcasses of mature sheep.

Myosin- the major myofibrillar protein and predominant salt-soluble muscle protein.

Navel- the short plate, IMPS item 121

Neck Bones- a common name for cervical vertebrae.

Net Weight- the weight of a containers contents after the weight of packaging and packing materials are subtracted.

No-rolls- bovine carcasses of any grade that have not been grade identified.  Quality and Yield grading are optional on all carcasses and are provided by the USDA’s AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) on a fee-for-service basis.

Non-specific Loaf- a loaf produced with no restrictions on water, cereal, NFDM, starch, corn syrup, etc.

Offal- the edible organs or parts from the thoracic and abdominal cavities and the tongue.

Open Side- the left side of a beef carcass, so called because of the longer and freer attachment of the kidney and its surrounding fat.

Organic Acids- lactic or acidic acid solutions sprayed on exposed carcass or meat surfaces as an intervention to control microbial growth.

Organoleptic- making an impression on, or stimulating any of the smell, sight, taste or touch senses.

Ossification- the formation of bone or a bony substance; the conversion of fibrous tissues or cartilage into bone by the deposition of hard mineral material.

Ovine- lamb, yearling mutton and mutton.

Oxtails- the tails of beef carcasses.  The coccygeal vertebrae and surrounding muscles.

Oyster- connective tissue that lies on the medial side of the aitch bone.

Palatability- combined meat characteristics of flavor, tenderness and juiciness.

Pallet- a wooden, metal or plastic platform used to keep products or materials off the floor and to provide a convenient platform for forklift or floor jack handling.  AKA skid.

Palpation- examination by sense of touch.

Pancreas- a gland that secretes insulin.  Swine pancreases are commonly called sweetbread or false sweetbread.

Papain- an enzyme which breaks down meat protein, thereby tenderizing it.  Papain is contained in papaya juice.

Parasites- organisms that live and reproduce at the expense of their host.

Pasteurization- a heat process that results in the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms.  Spores and some thermoresistant organisms may survive, so refrigeration of pasteurized product is required to maintain wholesomeness.

Patella- common name is the knee cap.

Patty- formed ground meat portion, with or without extenders and binders.

Pectoral- in or on the chest cavity.

Pelvic Fat- fat found in the pelvic region.

Pelvis- the fused ilium, ischium and pubis that comprise the hip.

Periosteum- a thin tough connective tissue that covers the outer surface of bones.  During boning it may stay attached to either lean or bone.

Peritoneum- a thin serous membrane covering the inside of the flank and abdomen.

PFF- an acronym for protein fat free.

pH- a measure of alkalinity or acidity of a product.

Phosphates- a group of chemicals used to increase the water retaining capacity of meat tissues by raising the pH.

Pickle- any brine, vinegar or spicy solution used to preserve and flavor food.  Or a curing solution.

Pimento- dried berries used to grind into Allspice.

Pimiento- the red, cone-shaped, thick-walled Spanish sweet pepper used in various meat products.

Pin-Bone- common name for the anterior point of the hip (ilium).

Pituitary Gland- the small oval gland at the ventral base surface of the brain.

Pizzle Eye- the white surface area remaining when the penis attachment is removed from the aitch bone.  Seeing it, or not seeing it, provides positive carcass sex identification.

Pleura- the thin serous thoracic cavity membrane.

Pluck- organs of the thoracic cavity: hart, lings and trachea.

Pocket Tripe- tripe prepared from the reticulum, as opposed to the rumen.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)- possibly carcinogenic chemicals formed in smoked and burnt foods.  Moderation and diversity of diet are good practices to healthily enjoy such foods.

Popliteal Lymph Gland (node)- the lymph node that lies in the pocket of fat on the outside round, along the natural seam separating the inside and outside round.

Porcine- of or pertaining to swine.

Pork- the edible meat from swine.

Portion Control- the process of preparing cuts of meat or portions of meat products to predetermined individual weights.

Posterior- located behind a center point or towards the rear.

Postmortem- done, occurring or collected after death.

Post Mortem Inspection- inspection of organs and carcass to determine wholesomeness.

Potable- suitable for drinking.

Pre-cooked- meat products that have been fully cooked and require only reheating before being served.

Pre-Rigor Pork- a boning practice that provides greater emulsifying capacity for cured sausages plus better color stability, flavor, moisture retention and shelf-life in fresh sausages.  AKA hot boning.  Further, decreased refrigerated storage facility usage is cost saving advantage.

Primal Cuts- the wholesale cuts of meat from a carcass or side.

Primary Flank- the rectus abdominis muscle.

Processing- the manufacturing of meat products from carcass meats by drying, curing, smoking, cooking, seasoning, flavoring or any combination of such processes, with or without fabricating.

PSE- Acronym for pale soft and exudative (watery) pork.

Psoas Major- the major muscle in the tenderloin.

Psoas Minor- a thin muscle that extends along the psoas major.

Psychrotrophs- microorganisms that can grow fairly low temperatures, multiplying well at refrigeration temperatures.

Pullman Style- a term commonly applied to product canned in long cans which are 4 inches square or similar formed loaves.

Purge- the juices exuded from fresh, cooked or cured meat cuts, AKA weep.

Purveyor- an individual or company that sells meat to restaurants, hotels and institutions (HRI).

Quality Grade- a designation based on carcass characteristics that predict the palatability characteristics of the lean.

Quartering- the process of cutting carcass sides into quarters.

Radius- long bone of the forelimb that is fused with the ulna.

Ram- a mature, uncastrated male sheep.

Rat- the digital flexor muscles in beef, often called the mouse in pork.

Ready to Eat- a product that  has been heated to a minimum regulatory temperature and labeled as fully-cooked or has been thermal stabilized (canned).

Red Gelatinous Bone Marrow- bone marrow in flat bones is red, while round bones normally contain off-white marrow.  In extremely young calves round bone marrow may be red due to the animal having little to no fat stores.  When red gelatinous round bone marrow is found in older sheep or cattle carcasses  it is thought to be from emaciated animals that needed to use the fat energy stored in their round bones for metabolism.  In an emaciated animal scenario the remaining red jelly-like marrow is mostly collagen.

Residue- that which is left after the easily noticeable part has been taken away.

Reticulum- the second compartment of a ruminant stomach, commonly called honeycomb tripe.

Retort- a horizontal or vertical tank used to cook canned or foil pouch product by subjecting filled and sealed containers to high temperature steam under pressure.

Rework- out of spec wholesome product that is used as a percentage of new product batches.

Rib-eye Area (size)- the area in square inches of the longissimus dorsi muscle that is exposed when beef carcasses are ribbed between the 12th and 13th ribs.  A transparent rib-eye grid is used to accurately determine such measurements.

Rib Bones- elongated bones that form the lateral walls of the thoracic cavity.

Rib Fingers- a common name for intercostal muscles.

Ribbing- partially cutting a beef side into quarters by sawing the chine bone and making a knife cut between the 12th and 13th ribs and across the longissimus dorsi muscle.

Rib Eye- a common name for the longissimus dorsi muscle.

Rib-Eye Grid- a clear rectangle of semi-ridged plastic that is gridded off in 1/10th inch squares.  Such grids are used to measure cross-cut rib-eye area.

Ridge of Blade Bone or Scapula- raised portion of scapula.

Rigor- a carcass that exhibits stiffness due to ionic locking of actin and myosin muscle filaments.

Rough Cuts- the less desirable primal cuts from a carcass, including the flank, navel, brisket and shank. Or, subprimal cuts with major muscles removed.

Round Dressed- an unsplit carcass.

Rumen- the first and largest compartment of the ruminate stomach, AKA paunch.

Ruminant- when used as a noun: a mammal that chews a cud of food, has a four compartment stomach and a divided hoof.

Sacral Vertebrae- vertebrae of the sacrum: posterior to the lumbar vertebrae and anterior to the caudal vertebrae.

Salimeter- a hydrometer for indicating the percentage of salt in a solution.

Salmonella- a bacteria contained in all raw foods of animal origin. It cause salmonellosis and is the most common food-borne pathogen.

Salt-Soluble Protein- myofibrillar proteins, primarily myosin & actin, that can be solubilized in solutions of neutral salts.  These solubilized proteins are used to bind formed meat products via coagulation of them during cooking.

Scabbard- a metal or hard plastic knife holder often worn around the waist by butchers or meat cutters.

Scalding Tank- a tank of water held between 138 and 145F that is used to loosen hair from un-gutted hog carcasses.

Scapula- the large, flat, uppermost bone of the pectoral limb; commonly called the blade bone.

Score- a shallow cut into meat product.

Scotch Tender- a common name for the supraspinatus muscle.

Scribing- cutting trough all the ribs of a hog carcass to facilitate separation of the loin and spareribs.  Or, scoring and breaking the thoracic vertebrae spinous processes of a beef side.

Seam Fat- fat deposits between muscles.

Sectioned and Formed- a meat product made from closely trimmed, massaged/tumbled, formed, complete muscles; such as boneless ham.

Seedy Bellies- pork bellies that have visible patches of grey or black mammary tissue in them.

Semitendinous- commonly called the eye of round.

Serous- resembling or composed of blood serum.

Serous Membrane- a thin connective tissue that lines most of the carcass cavities and covers the outer surface of the viscera.

Serratus Ventralis- a wide muscle that helps move the scapula, what Denver steaks are cut from.

Shacking-applying a chain to a stunned animal’s hind leg in preparation for hoisting it to an overhead rail trolley.

Shall- indicates mandatory requirements.

Shank- the distal end of the fore or hind legs of a dressed carcass.

Shelf Life- the length of time a meat product remains suitable for consumption.

Shell Loin- a common name for a bone-in strip loin.

Shell Steak- common term for steaks cut from IMPS item 175 – Beef Loin, Strip Loin.

Shins- usually beef fore or hind shanks with hock bones removed.

Singeing- the process of removing hair from hog carcasses by burning it off, usually used as a cleanup operation after scalding and mechanical dehairing.

Shoat- normally refers to  recently weaned young hog/piglet.

Shoulder Joint- where the humerus and scapula meet.

Shoulder Rose- a common name for the beef cutaneous trunci.

Shoulder Stick-a bleeding stick wound that extends into the shoulder muscles, causing hemorrhage and discoloration.

Shrink- weight loss from fresh meat which may occur during refrigerated storage, processing, transportation, handling, etc.

Shroud- a cloth that has been soaked in either chlorinated water or salt water, then wrapped tightly around a hot carcass (usually beef).  Shrouds are held in place by stainless steel pins (shroud pins).  A shroud helps smooth out exterior carcass fat before it solidifies,  helps remove blood spots, helps control surface microbial growth and reduces cooler shrinkage from moisture loss.  Shrouding was once a common practice back when there was a multitude of small plants, beef was dry-aged for 7 – 10 days to increase meat tenderness and beef was mostly sold in sides & quarters.

Side- one half of a split carcass.

Silent Cutter- the commercial name for a machine that mixes and chops meat and non-meat ingredients.  Ingredients are placed into a revolving tub that carries them into rapidly rotating knives.  AKA bowl chopper.

Sirloin Tip- a common name for the beef knuckle.

Skeletal Muscles- muscles that are responsible for movement of the live animal.

Skeleton- a complete set of bones and cartilage that supports and protects softer animal tissues.

Skewers- wooden, plastic or metal pins used to hold meat in place.

Skirt- a common name for the diaphragm or transversus abdominal muscles.

Slunk Skins- hides of unborn calves, an unintended byproduct of cattle harvest.

Smokehouse- a large thermal processing unit in which smoke can be introduced and humidity controlled.

Sour Round- a fermentation and putrefaction process found in the hind legs of beef carcasses.  Usually results from the slow chilling of the carcass.  Sour area is usually focused on the coxofemoral (hip) joint and involves the decomposition of the synovial fluid of that joint.

Sow- a female swine that has farrowed pigs.

Special-Fed Veal- see Formula-Fed Veal.

Specific Loaf- a loaf product made from meat that has limitations on amounts of water, cereal, etc.

Specifications- contractual descriptions concerning the class, grade, other quality characteristics, quantity or condition of products.

Spinal Cord- the thick trunk of nerve that extends down the spinal canal from the base of the brain to the pelvic region.

Spinalis Dorsi- a muscle that extends along the cervical and thoracic vertebrae, commonly called the rib-eye cap.

Spinous Proceses- the blade-like extension from the dorsal and lateral surfaces of vertebrae.  The dorsal spinous processes are commonly called featherbones and the transverse spinous processes are commonly referred to as fingerbones.

Spiral Freezer- a blast freezer equipped with spiraling layers of metal conveyor belt.  Just cooked IQF items enter at the bottom on one end and exit out the top of the other end, hard-frozen.

Spiral Steam Oven- a thermal processing unit that contains a spiraling metal conveyor belt, similar to a spiral freezer, except steam is used as the sole heat source for cooking patties, meat balls and links.  Product cook yields are increased, but color and texture suffer.

Spleen- a large highly vascular, ductless visceral organ in the upper left abdomen.  Beef spleen is normally referred to as beef melt.

Spool Joint- ossified joints that result from the fusion of the distal portion of the metacarpus and the distal epiphyseal plate.  For grading purposes, the presence of a spool joint denotes mutton.  At least one perfect break joint denotes lamb.

Spray Chilling- intermittently spraying hot carcasses during the first few hours of chilling.  The primary purpose of this practice is to reduce cooler shrink, however more rapid chilling and softer external fat are considered other advantages.

Spring Lamb- lamb marketed in the Spring of the year, and before July 1st.

St. Louis Style Spare Ribs- spareribs with the breast bone and flap removed, IMPS item 416A.

Stag- an animal that was castrated after developing definite masculine characteristics.

Steam Cabinet- an in-line metal structure where hot hanging carcasses are chain driven through steam jets in order to reduce surface microorganisms; especially E. coli 0157.

Steer- a male bovine that was castrated prior to reaching puberty or male bovine carcasses that do not display the secondary sex characteristics associated with bullocks or bulls.

Sterile- free of living organisms.

Sternum- the bone and cartilage that forms the ventral surface of the ribcage.

Stifle Joint- the juncture of the distal end of the femur and the proximal end of the tibia, fibula and patella.

Stockinette- a tubular open-woven, cloth material used to contain meat during processing; especially during smoking or smoke-cooking.

Stuffer- a mechanical device used to stuff sausage mixes into casings.

Sub-Primal Cuts- subdivision of primal cuts.  Sub-Primals can be further divided into portion cuts.

Superficial Pectoral- a muscle in the anterior portion of the brisket.

Supraspinatus- commonly known as chuck tender, catfish, scotch tender, etc.

Sweetbread- thymus glands of bovines (usually veal & calf) and the pancreas of hogs.

Synovial Fluid- a clear viscous liquid that lubricates joints by being held in place around joints by bursa.

Tallow- rendered beef fat.

Tender Stretch- the procedure of suspending a carcass by the aitch bone so that muscles of the loin and rib areas are restrained from contracting.

Tendon- the tough fibrous connective tissue at the ends of muscle bundles that attach the muscle to bone or cartilage.

Tensor Fasciae Latae- a major muscle of the bottom sirloin.

Testicles- male sperm producing gland.

Texas Ribs- beef back ribs, IMPS item 124.

Thawing and Refreezing- such meat is usually darker in color than once frozen product and will exhibit more purge/weep.

Thaw Rigor- a condition caused when muscle was still in a pre-rigor state when frozen so that upon thawing extensive muscle contraction occurs causing the affected meat to be very tough.

Thermophile- microorganisms that grow between 106 – 252F.

Thorax- the area enclosed by the ribcage and diaphragm.

Thymus Gland- sweetbread in bovines, the portion of the thymus gland inside the thoracic cavity is called the heartbread.

Tibia- the larger and thicker of the two hind leg bones located between the stifle joint and hock.

Transverse Processes- spinous processes that are commonly called finger bones.

Tree- a metal rack suspended from a rail trolley; used to hang hams, bacon, pastrami, sausages, etc. for thermal processing and chilling.

Tri-Tip- common name for IMPS item 185C – Beef Loin, Bottom Sirloin Butt.

Tripe- cleaned, denuded rumen and reticulum.

Trotter- the lower forshank of ovine carcasses.

Tumbling- see massaging.

TVP- an acronym for textured vegetable protein.

Two-way Pallet/Skid- a pallet that allows a forklift  or hand-truck access from either end.

Udder- the mammary tissue of female cattle and sheep.

Udder Fat- fat found in the udder region of a heifer carcass.  Cow udders are normally removed.  On carcasses heifer udder fat looks smooth whereas steer cod fat looks lumpy; like a cluster of grapes.

Ulna- the longer, thinner bone fused to the radius in the foreshank.

Vacuum- a space that has less than atmospheric pressure; devoid of normal atmosphere.

Vacuum Packaged- this process reduces shrinkage and extends meat product’s shelf life.

Value Added- the process of changing or transforming raw meat products from their original state to a more valuable state, think convenience items.

Variety Meats- see edible by-products.

Veal- meat from a bovine that is usually less than 3 months of age at time of harvest.

Vein- a vessel through which blood passes from various organs or parts then back to the heart.

Vein Steak- a cut from the hip end of the sirloin strip.

Veiny & Knuckle- common names for sirloin tip.

Ventral- towards the belly.

Vertebrae- different type bones that make up the spinal column: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and caudal vertebrae.

Viscera- the internal organs and glands contained in the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

Viruses- intracellular parasites that are reproduced by the host cell.

VPP- an acronym for vegetable protein product, AKA textured vegetable protein (TVP).

Warmed Over Flavor (WOF)- undesirable rancid or stale flavor that can occur fairly rapidly in un-cured pre-cooked meat products.  WOF is caused by oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids.  Sodium phosphate greatly helps prevent such oxidation in uncured meat products.

Water Activity- free moisture in a product.

Water Added- cured or smoked mat products whose weight after processing exceeds green weight by more than 10%, because of injection added curing solution.

Water-Soluble Protein- primarily collagen which along with water-soluble meat vitamins and minerals are lost during moist-heat or water submersion cookery; if broth is not incorporated in the end-product.  In the case of water-cooking ground meat some “fines” will also wash-out.

Weasand- a packinghouse term for the muscular layer of the esophagus.

Wedge or Point Cut- common names for the anterior portion of the brisket.

Wether- a castrated male lamb/sheep.

Wholesale Cuts- cuts that are divided into retail cuts.

Yeast- single-celled microorganisms that cause fermentation.

Yield Grade- a designation that reflects the estimated yield of closely trimmed retail cuts that will be obtained from beef, lamb, yearling mutton or mutton carcasses.

 

 

Written by George Wolfer

George Wolfer

Been associated with the meat industry pretty much since starting at a Vocational High school Meat Processing program in 1974. Like to learn and teach interesting and worthwhile livestock production, meat processing and marketing practices.

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