Eid al Adha, the festival of sacrifice, is about communities coming together, about solidarity with those in Hajj, about charity and so much more for Muslims around the world. The day commemorates the story of Ibrahim and his test of faith. For many, an integral part of the festivities is to cut meat, distribute some, prepare some and share meals. In that process, many families work with butchers or koshais. Practice is for the butcher to cut the meat into cubes. One can have an understanding of some of the different cuts of meat and guide the butcher into cutting out the pieces in specific ways for different preparations.
There are different cuts
The cow is initially divided into its big parts or primal cuts. Your butcher already has a system, so to avoid overwhelming yourself or him, choose the one cut that you want to work with and show that part. The degree of success will depend on the expertise of the butcher. This is also very difficult to explain in one go and there are many religious traditions mixed into the process.
However, if you want to take on the challenge, one of the better cuts of meat for steak to refer to, is tenderloin.
The loin is located at the top of the steer directly behind the rib, and since it’s not a heavily used muscle, it’s very tender.
Another cut that is easier to access but is diverse in taste and texture is from under the shoulder of the cow. This area is referred to as the chuck in the chart below. The chuck is rich and flavorful and good for ground beef. The ribs are fatty and tender and harder to cut out in the first try.
2. Use the chart of cuts
A way to gain familiarity on the different cuts is to study the butcher’s chart.
3. Learn and explain using a video
Sometimes things are best explained by video. This video does an excellent job of going through each cut. It is not for the squeamish, but you can pick exactly which cut you want for your cooking needs and show only that part to your butcher.
Enjoy learning more about the process, the different ways to prepare and share the abundances. Remember to count your blessings and reflect on the day. Have a blessed Eid.