A Culinary Compendium of Cooking Cant 6 - Cuts

A Culinary Compendium of Cooking Cant 6 - Cuts

Hello and welcome back to Kitchen Catastrophe’s On-going Quick Tips series: The Culinary Compendium, one of two ongoing Quick Tip series I was surprised to note hadn’t, you know, “gone on” since December. I honestly don’t know what stopped me. In any case, should you have forgotten: The compendium is an ongoing and ever-expanding dining dictionary, explaining the jargon-jammed world of food terminology to you, the viewer, with some small modicum of lies and jokes interspersed for flavoring.

Today’s post is by Patreon request, as one of the site’s Garde Manger supporters suggested I do it. If you’d like to be involved in similar decisions, pop on over and become a Patron, where you’ll get images from posts I didn’t end up using, the chance to vote in various decisions, a peek inside what’s coming up for the site, and more perks the more you’re willing to give. For a mere $3 a month, you get access to the Catastrophic Captain’s Logs, my ongoing effort to make audio recordings for all our posts, which now contains over 11 hours of Kitchen Catastrophe, a number that will only increase as time goes on.

BUT YOU DIDN’T COME HERE TO HAVE A DEPRESSED LONER BEG FOR YOUR SPARE CHANGE! Oh No, You’re here to learn about the wonderful world of MEAT CUTS. Yes, a topic we touched on before with Quick Tip 7: Mis-Steak-en Identity, but that was more the general understanding of how cuts worked, and some basic distinctions. Here, we’re diving deep to make sense of all the weird words you’ll find in the meat section. We’re also going to slightly modify how the posts appear, because I cannot get Squarespace to make a Dictionary format quite right.  So, without further ado, the culinary compendium continues!



1.      (n) – As noted in Culinary Compendium 4, a slice of meat taken perpendicular from the spine, often including a rib or piece of vertebrae

2.      (v) – To cut using a forceful, downward motion.

3.      LAMB ~ (n) – Either a piece of meatas in 1 from specifically a Lamb, or a rather famous sock puppet that created potentially the worst road-trip song in the history of music.

It's the song you can't escape,
it's on every trip you take.
Some people
started singing it,
full knowing they were dicks
and they'll continue singing it
till everyone is sick
cause it's the song you can't escape...


1.      (n) – The French spelling of FILLET. Because this wasn’t confusing enough already.


1.      (n) – A Boneless slice of meat, whose exact position and composition varies based on the animal.

a.      Beef – A small steak, typically cut from the Tenderloin region.

b.      Fish – A cut of meat taken by cutting parallel to the spine.

c.      Chicken – A specific piece of meat connected to the breast, but not technically the breast.

d.      Other – See 1.

To even further obfuscate the topic, and yes, I know my word choice isn’t helping: the pronunciation, like so many things, is regionally defined. In the United States, it’s a “Fi-lay”, while in the United Kingdom, it’s a “fil-it”.  


1.       (anatomical)  - ON the human body, the flesh between the last rib and the top of the pelvis. The “lumbar” region of the spine, for example.

2.      (culinary) – Meat from the “lower back” of the animal, which, due their quadrupedal nature is worked relatively little. Contains the Sirloin, the Tenderloin, Short Loin, etc. Some of the softest meat in the animal.

3.      (general parlance) – the genital area. This use arose due to “loin” being used generally as “below the rib cage”, referencing one’s stomach and genitals as a unit.

Thank you, random Philistine, for that lovely demonstration.


1.      (n) Any part of the animal that is not a standard cut. Organs, Tendons, Linings, etc.



1.      (n) - A piece of meat you intend to cook by Roasting. Yeah, seriously, that’s the definition. Over time, this term became a shorthand for “meat from REGION X”. You’d think there’d be a guideline regarding size or something, but no. It’s basically just “anything that doesn’t have another name.”

2.      (comedy) (V) - To insult someone.

3.      (comedy) (n) – An event wherein a person is honored through jokes made at their expense. IT’s a…complicated process.  


1.      (n) Seriously? Do I need to explain this? They’re ribs. The bones that keep your important organs from getting stabbed.


1.      (n) a cut of meat, typically containing a bone, from an animal’s lower leg. Ususally slow cooked because of the toughness of the region.

2.      (v) to stab someone using an improvised weapon, called a “shiv”. Also, an improvised stabbing weapon used to stab someone (“shivving”)
Interestingly, the word shiv is derived from the Roman “chiv” for “knife”, and the word ‘shank” means “a straight, narrow or protruding part of an object”, so both terms evolved independently to become associated with knives, then became mixed in violent parlance. Like how you can knife somebody with a pig-sticker. Or stick somebody with a knife.

"Did somebody say my name?"
"Lord Shiva! Umm. No, no thank you. We were talking about prison stabbings."
"Oh, then I'll go."
"Bye buddy! Your cobra's looking nice today!"


1.      Again, I don’t know why I have to explain this. Where the limbs connect to the torso, typically in reference to the forelimbs, with Hams and Rump being the name for the same juncture on the back end. A Pork Butt is actually a shoulder cut, named because it was transported in a type of barrel called a “butt”.


1.      (n) A piece of meat typically cut perpendicular to the spine, often including a…wait a minute. This is the definition for CHOP. What gives.

2.      (n) …The term for a CHOP when made from Beef or other red meat. Seriously, a T-Bone steak could just as normally be called a “Beef Loin Chop”.


1.      Look, I promise you, most food words aren’t riddles. This is a package of meat intended to be used in stews.

2.      (n) a cut potentially bad for making stews. Yeah, see, that’s not the REAL purpose of a stew meat package. The REAL purpose is to use up all the little cuts trimmed off of the other roasts, chops, and steaks. So stew meat can have rump meat, shoulder, loin, and flank in it. Which means that every part of it could potentially cook at a different rate, leading to differing meat textures in your stew. Because sometimes the food names are kind of like shitty riddles.



These are cuts you’re not as likely to run into on your day-to-day, but have some interesting or complex origins.


1.      Listen, Wikipedia leads with a 6 part definition, two of which use the word in its own definition. So understand I’m simplifying when I say:

2.      (n) a thin portion of meat, not containing a bone, or a finished preparation of such a portion. A CHOP with no bone is a cutlet. A small ground patty is a cutlet. Either of those, in breading is a cutlet.

Guys, I ordered a picture of A CutleT, not JAY CutleR. Shiva damn it. 



1.      (n) Hoo boy. Okay, buckle up. So, you’d assume this is like, the foot-bones, right? Well, you’d be wrong. A BEEFT Knuckle is basically the hip, putting it in a weird region mixing the bottom of the Sirloin region with the edge of the Round region.

2.      MEANWHILE, the PORK knuckle is also called a “ham hock”, and is essentially the Ankle of the pig, connecting the Shank (Above) and Trotter (below) (also respective locations of the definitions, natch.) (It’s also not technically the ankle, but the hell if I have time to get into the exact anatomy of pig legs.





1.      (n) A pig’s foot. I just included it because I like the name.