Cutting Academy

How to cut a side of beef

Workshop with the BEEF-Magazine
Let's get it on

You’ve had your fill of rump steak. And stewing beef? Don’t get my started on stew. You’re not getting any younger – and your tastes have refined with age. It has to be just the right thing: a beef back – one you’ve butchered yourself, of course. With the help of WÜSTHOF.

It’s lying there glistening in its massive, juicy-red glory: an entire beef back. Weighing in at 20 kilograms and 80 centimetres long, and from a German heifer – a cow that has not calved yet. Working through it rib by rib, cutting out the fillet chain, separating the fat and removing tendons: it’s quite a lot of work, especially if it’s your first time. But this is the kind of work that is really worth doing, because – at the end of it – you have a fantastic collection of marbled cuts: entrecôtes and sirloins, as well as T-bone steaks, ribs and porterhouse steaks, if you don’t take out the ribs and bones. But to get there you first have to roll up your sleeves, sharpen your WÜSTHOF knife and put your back into it!

Das richtige Fleisch auswaehlen

The right "piece" of meat

Here, we use the back of a German heifer. This meat is particularly popular due to its balanced marbling and is very tender and juicy. You can buy the back either aged or fresh, whereby the individual cuts need to age for about six to eight weeks if you buy a fresh saddle. The advantage of fresh meat? You can use all of the scraps you end up with. For dry-aged meat, this is not recommended due to the formation of microbes.

Step 1

Rib by rib

To easily separate the meat from the bone, you should ideally use a handy and versatile knife like the WÜSTHOF Carving Knife, which you can use to slice rib by rib to remove the meat from the bone. To do so, start with surface cuts to get a better idea of the structure underneath. Gradually go deeper and deeper, using your hand to help here and there. Keep the blade as close to the bone as possible.

Step 2

Separate the fat and remove tendons

Now that you’ve finished the ‘back-breaking’ part, you can begin with the fine details – use a WÜSTHOF Cook’s Knife to separate the fat from the meat with angled cuts. Warning! Take off too little fat for starters rather than too much. Carefully remove the triangular tendon and use the tip of the knife to scope out the structure to avoid damaging the meat.

Step 3

Steak cuts

Using a sharp knife – for example a WÜSTHOF Santoku – now cut your entrecôtes and sirloin steaks in exactly the thickness you like best. 

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