Beef, dissected

Lindsey Nair

Roanoke Times

Bottom, top, center, side, round, flat, shoulder, tip.

After staring at a diagram of beef cuts for a half-hour, those terms meandered through my head like Angus cattle shuffling toward the feed bin.

I figured it would be easy to memorize the anatomy of a side of beef, but it was tougher than I had imagined.

Like many butchers, Conrad O’Brien, who runs O’Brien Meats in Salem, has spent more than 35 years perfecting his knowledge. He says many Americans gravitate toward the most familiar cuts, such as rib eyes, strips and chuck roasts, because they know how to prepare them.

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