The Basics of Breaking a Beef:

Learn more about the 7 Primal Cuts of Beef

The Basics of Breaking a Beef

 In this article, we will discuss how a beef animal is broken down into different cuts of meat. 

3 Steps from Whole to Package

1)Whole Carcass

First, after the animal is harvested it is a whole beef carcass. We split the beef in half vertically down the spine. We do this with our new Jarvis Buster 4 splitting band saw. When this is complete the new halves weigh roughly 400 pounds. By splitting the carcass in half it allows us more ease when moving the carcass through the cooler system. Additionally, most animals are sold as whole, half, or quarter so it allows us to better separate orders. 

2)Breaking Down Half of Beef

When we are ready to cut a customer’s order we spit the half of beef into the front and hind quarters. The half is split between the 12th and 13th rib. The 12 front quarter ribs are attached at the diaphragm while the 13th is a floating rib. Hanford Packing splits the two quarters through the bone with a handsaw, and a knife the rest of the way. 

3)Seven Primal Cuts

Once the front and hindquarters are in the processing room, they are broken down further into primals. Primals are easier to lift because of their smaller size, so the saw technician can further break down the retail cuts. 

There are 7 main primals in a beef animal. 

  1. Chuck
  2. Rib
  3. Brisket
  4. Plate
  5. Loin
  6. Round
  7. Flank


The front quarter has the chuck, rib, brisket, and plate. The hind quarter consists of the loin, round, and flank. Each of these primals will be further processed according to our customer’s preferences, although some customers do prefer to keep the primal in its entirety. 

If you are scheduled for a beef, call in today to fill out your cut card and learn more about how you can get your beef processed!

Place an order by calling 219-345-3755 or stop by 11391 N. IN-55 DeMotte, IN today!

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11391 N. IN-55

DeMotte, IN 46310


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We are located on the state road 55 by Thayer, IN.

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