MSU Extension online meat cutter training course available

Self-paced online course covering beef and pork cutting along with meat science essentials.

Figure 1. Screenshot of 1 of 13 beef fabrication videos demonstrating separating the beef rib from the beef chuck.

The demand for skilled talent in the meat industry is strong at the state and national level. Michigan State University Extension is offering a workforce development opportunity formatted as an online meat cutter training course. Whether you are a current or aspiring meat cutter or just looking to gain additional meat science knowledge, this self-paced course, which is open to the public, offers detailed demonstrational beef and pork cutting videos, supplemented with helpful information for any meat enthusiast. 

Offered on-demand, the online meat cutter training course includes multiple demonstrational videos on pork and beef carcass breakdown (Figure 1) into wholesale, subprimal, and retail cuts. 

Videos include:

Beef Forequarter Breakdown

  • Skirt steaks
  • Brisket
  • Bone-In Chuck
  • Boneless Chuck
  • Short Ribs
  • Rib

Beef Hindquarter Breakdown

  • Bone-In Loin
  • Boneless Loin
  • Sirloin
  • Round
  • Flank

Wholesale Pork Carcass Breakdown

  • Ham
  • Boneless and Bone-In Loin
  • Belly
  • Spareribs
  • Boston butt
  • Picnic shoulder

The program contains additional videos beyond beef and pork fabrication, such as grinder and bandsaw operation, as well as beef carcass ribbing. Beef carcasses are ribbed between the 12th and 13th ribs (Figure 2). Any easy way to identify this location is by counting down 7 ½ lumbar vertebra from the tailbone. First saw through the backbone; then, finish the cut through the ribeye muscle with a knife by the following the curvature of the rib bones. This process is routinely performed to expose the ribeye muscle for beef quality and yield grading or simply to start the fabrication process by dividing the side into hindquarter and forequarter. 

Beef carcass ribbing.
Figure 2. Ribbing a beef carcass between the 12th and 13th ribs to expose the ribeye muscle for quality or yield grading and separate the carcass into the hindquarter and forequarter. Photo by Andrea Garmyn, MSU.

This interactive certificate training program also includes material and exercises covering meat inspection, food safety, beef grading, fabrication, meat grinding, aging meat, retail display, and labeling. In addition to serving as a training asset for meat cutters, this course will also benefit employees with cut identification, packaging, and labeling to aid in sales, marketing, and customer service. Upon successful completion, each individual will receive a Certificate of Completion. Registration details can be found on the Meat Cutter Training Course website. Course content is estimated to take 6 to 8 hours to complete, and the course is designed for participants to work as their own pace as time permits. Registration is $125 and includes continued access to course materials.

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