4-h meat judging manual - Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Descriptive Terms for Last Place Carcass
I, last, will have a low yield of trimmed retail cuts since it is an over-finished, poorly muscled carcass.
I is deficient in muscling as evidenced by a long-shanked, poorly muscled leg, a lack of fullness in
the rack and shoulder, and a long neck.
I displays inferior muscling, especially in its leg and loin.
I is a poorly balanced carcass, being excessively heavy in the neck and shoulder.
I lacks fullness in its loin and in the sirloin portion of the leg.
I is sharp over the shoulder.
I lacks uniformity of thickness.
I is deficient in fleshing, especially in the leg and shoulder.
I is a ribby carcass.
I carries an excessive amount of outside finish and displays a wasty kidney knob.
I is an overfinished carcass that is especially wasty over the sirloin portion of the leg.
I is deficient in finish and quality.
I is a more mature carcass as indicated by a wide, white, flat bone and a dark, unattractive color
I lacks youthfulness as shown by --------------------------------------------------------·
I is deficient in feathering and flank fat streaking.
I shows a dark, unattractive lean.
I reveals a soft, thin flank.
4-H MEAT JUDGING MANUAL
The 4-H meat judging project was designed to
help 4-H'ers learn to evaluate cuts and carcasses
of beef, pork and lamb on the basis of quality and
quantity of lean meat. It will also help 4-H'ers become more aware of the end product of livestock
In this project you will work with whole carLeaflet YANR-79
William R. Jones, Food Scientist-Meats
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
Auburn University, Alabama 36849
"EDUCATION IS OUR BUSINESS"
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work in agriculture and home economics, Acts of May 8
and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. J. Michael Sprott, Director,
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn University. The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service
offers educational programs and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, sex,
age, or handicap. It is also an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. UPS, 5Ml7, 12:80, YANR-79
casses and wholesale and retail cuts. The same
criteria are used when judging each of these.
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn University, Alabama 36849
Use comparative terms such as deeper, wider,
fuller and brighter.
IMPORTANT POINTS IN JUDGING MEAT
Your first impression is often more right than
wrong. If you find yourself changing from it too
much you had better step back and stait again.
You will have 15 minutes for each reason class
and 12 minutes for a nonreason class. Spend the
first 3 minutes looking at the carcasses or cuts from
a distance. During this time get your first impression placings and compare conformation and finish. When you go in for the close inspection have
a good idea of the class placings and use this time
for comparing quality, adjusting the placings and
taking good, complete notes for reason classes.
Note-taking is very important in preparing good
Consider the cuts or carcasses as pairs. First
give the reasons for placing the first over the second; then the reasons for placing the second over
the third, followed by reasons for placing the third
over the fourth. End with a short description of
the bottom cut or carcass.
Present the main and deciding points first and
fill in the minor details or points of less importance later.
Cover all points under each major heading
(conformation, finish and quality) in a systematic
manner before going to the next one.
Always make concessions or grants when they
Always compare. Never describe, except for
the last place cut.
Don't exaggerate; present a true picture of the
differences as they exist in the class.
Be careful that you do not mix numbers or repeat numbers.
Reasons give a broader basis than just placings
when you are being judged for your knowledge
of meat. Reasons also help you to observe and
evaluate your points more closely and to organize your thoughts more completely than you
might otherwise. A correct class placing, backed
up by an impressive set of reasons, is strong evidence that you have seen the class and analyzed
it correctly. The reasons should be presented in
a well-organized, clear, concise manner so they
may be easily understood. Knowing and using the
terms that are generally used to fit specific situations will help you prepare good reasons. See the
Appendix for proper judging terms.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN JUDGING MEAT
Conformation or shape. Animals have different
amounts of lean or red meat. Some are thickerfleshed and heavier-muscled. People buy meat
for its lean. In meat judging, therefore, give preference to the carcass showing the deep, plump
round and the thickly fleshed rib and loin.
Finish or Covering. Fat is necessary for quality
meat. A certain amount of fat is very desirable;
however, too much fat or wastiness is objectionable. It's hard to say just where fat stops being
a virtue and becomes a waste.
Develop a systematic way of observing each
cut or carcass. Make sure you have observed and
considered all the points of impoitance.
Develop a systematic way of taking notes on
each cut or carcass and on the class in general.
Be sure to consider the combination of characteristics each cut or carcass has as well as the
individual points you can compare.
Decide what term best describes the condition
of the cut or carcass at the time the observation is
Quality. Quality is defined as those characteristics which indicate the tenderness, juiciness and
flavor of the meat. Under this heading we generally consider the following details.
1. MARBLING is without doubt one of the best
measures of quality. Marbling is the mixing of
fat in the lean. It generally means the meat will
be tender, juicy and flavodul. The marbling
should be finely divided; coarse flakes of fat are
objectionable. The meat from young animals such
as calves and lambs show s relatively little
Terms and Vocabulary
Develop a set of comparative and descriptive
terms for each class that is to be judged. (See Appendix for examples. ) It might be a good idea to
have a list of these terms and review them often.
Select the terms that give the most accurate
comparison or description of the meat you are
2. TEXTURE indicates the fineness of the grain
or the size of the muscle bundles. Looking at a
cross section of a cut of meat across the light, you
can see the fineness of the muscle structure. The
In placing 3 over 1, 3 is a straighter sided carcass that is more nicely balanced. I concede 1 shows
a shatter shank and more desirable quality as manifested by greater amounts of feathering and
overflow and a more attractive color of lean. Even so, 3 carries a thinner fatback and a trimmer
flank and jowl. 3 also possesses superior muscling as displayed by a plumper, thicker cushioned
ham and a deeper loin which reveals more lumbar lean.
1 placed last as it is carrying excessive finish as manifested by a wasty flank, jowl and fat collar
over the ham as well as too much hack fat. I grant 1 displays a high degree of quality. Yet, 1 is
too short and lacks in muscling, especially in its loin.
I place this class of pork hams 1, 2, 3, 4.
1 over 2 excels in conformation. 1 is more heavily muscled as evidenced by a deeper ham butt,
a thicker cushion, and a longer, wider center cut. I admit 2 displays more intermingling of fat in
its firmer lean and displays a brighter, more uniform color of flesh. 2 also exhibits a shorter shank.
Even so, 1 is a tidier ham as manifested by a less wasty fat collar and lesser amounts of seam fat in
its ham butt. Moreover, 1 reveals a more velvety textured lean.
2 over 3 is superior in quality since it displays more marbling in its firmer, finer grained lean. 2
has a more attractive, less two-toned color of lean. I concede 3 possesses a shorter shank, a more pronounced bulge, a deeper ham butt and a fuller flank side. Nevertheless, 2 exhibits a longer, wider
center cut. And, too, it reveals less seam fat in its ham butt and a tidier fat collar.
3 is placed over 4 since it shows a higher degree of quality as displayed by a more desirable color
of lean which is firmer and contains additionally greater amounts of marbling. 3 also reveals a more
uniform color of lean. I grant 4 excels in meatiness. It presents a longer, wider center cut, a fuller
flank side and a deeper ham butt. In addition, 4 is a shorter-shanked, thicker cushioned ham. However, 3 carries less seam fat in its ham butt.
Although 4 was placed last, it is a trim, heavily muscled ham that is especially long and wide in its
center portion. But 4 displays inferior quality as manifested by a pale, watery muscle and a coarse
texture. 4 is deficient in marbling and two-toned in color of flesh.
COMPARATIVE LAMB TERMS
3 over 2 is a meatier carcass as evidenced by superior muscling and a trimmer external fat.
3 over 2 should have a higher percentage of closely trimmed retail cuts since it is trimmer and more
3 over 2 exhibits superior muscling which is shown by a thicker, plumper, shorter-shanked leg and
greater width and fullness throughout.
3 is a more symmetrical carcass.
3 over 2 possesses a more uniform thickness from end to end.
3 over 2 is a more heavily muscled carcass.
3 exhibits a shorter-shanked, plumper, wider leg that is deeper in the crotch.
3 carries more fullness and muscling in the sirloin portion of the leg.
3 possesses a wider, fuller loin.
3 shows a fuller rack that blends more evenly into a shorter neck.
3 carries a less wasty external fat covering.
3 is a trimmer carcass as manifested by a thinner fat covering.
3 possesses a smoother, whiter, harder fat covering.
3 is more uniformly covered with a harder, flakier fat.
3 reveals a less wasty kidney knob.
3 displays superior quality as evidenced by additionally greater amounts of feathering and flank
fat streaking and a more attractive color of lean.
3 carries a thicker, firmer flank and a firmer outside finish.
3 reveals greater amounts of a finer, more evenly distributed feathering.
3 is a more youthful carcass as evidenced by a redder, narrower rib and a more attractive color
is more of a meat-type carcass as it possesses a less wasty degree of finish.
is a trimmer, tidier carcass with a more correct amount of finish and a less wasty jowl.
shows a more desirable, more uniform back fat thickness.
has a less wasty flank.
reveals a trimmer fat collar over the ham.
displays less undesirable seam fat in the ham butt.
evidences superior quality as manifested by greater firmness and a more attractive color of lean.
carries additionally greater amounts of overflow and feathering.
displays more quality in its lumbar lean.
reveals more of a grayish pink colored lean.
exhibits superior firmness as evidenced by less muscle separation.
shows a more desirable, more uniform color of lean.
has a less two-toned color.
reveals a firmer, finer grained lean with more abundant marbling.
exhibits a firmer, dryer, less watery lean.
Descriptive Terms for last Place Carcass or Ham
1 placed last because it is inferior in muscling as shown by a long-shanked, tapering ham and a
shallow loin with a small lumbar lean area.
1 will have a low percentage of lean cuts due to its excessive finish and lack of muscling.
1 will have a low lean-to-fat ratio (low cut-out value).
1 lacks balance, being heavy in the shoulder.
1 has a light-muscled ham.
1 lacks uniformity of thickness.
1 is a short, overdone carcass.
1 carries an excessive amount of back fat, especially over the shoulder.
1 lacks uniformity of finish being especially wasty over the shoulder.
1 carries a wasty flank and jowl.
1 is an ill-shaped ham, being flat, tapering and long-shanked.
1 lacks plumpness and depth in the cushion.
1 carries an excessively wasty fat collar.
1 reveals wasty, undesirable seam fat in the ham butt.
1 displays an extremely pale, soft muscle that is exuding water.
1 is a two-toned ham.
1 lacks uniformity of color.
1 appears extremely soft in its lean.
1 displays an oily fat.
1 is deficient in marbling.
1 reveals a dark, coarse, unattractive lean.
I place this class of pork carcasses 2, 4, 3, 1.
2 over 4 will yield a higher percentage of lean cuts since it carries a trimmer back fat, especially
over the lumbar area. In addition, 2 exhibits a shorter shanked, plumper, thicker cushioned ham,
more lumbar lean area and a meatier shoulder. I grant 4 possesses a deeper chine and wider loin.
Moreover, 4 reveals greater firmness, more overflow and feathering and displays a higher degree
of quality in its lumbar lean. Nevertheless, 2 displays a trimmer flank and jowl and a less wasty fat
collar over the ham.
4 places over 3 as it is trimmer. This is evidenced by a thinner, more uniform fat back and a tidier
fat collar over the ham. Also, 4 shows a shorter shanked, more bulging ham that is longer through
the center portion and reveals a deeper chined, fuller loin. I admit 3 possesses a more desirable
thickness of belly. However, 4 also presents a larger lumbar lean area with more marbling.
quality of a carcass; bright cherry-red color and
fine texture are desired. Place a younger carcass
over a more mature one if the other factors are
Cutability is becoming more important in placing beef carcass classes since the consumer now
desires leaner, trimmer cuts, and the packer wants
modestly rather than thickly finished carcasses.
Cutability is determined by balancing the following factors: thickness and distribution of finish,
conformation and thickness of the cuts, size of the
rib eye, fat covering over the rib eye and amount
of internal fat-mainly kidney fat and trimmable
fat such as cod fat. The carcass with high cutability should be moderately and uniformly covered
with fat. It should not be patchy or rough and
should be thick enough so that the carcass will age
properly. The conformation should be thick and
meaty, and the round loins and ribs should be
well developed. The rib eye should be large and
oval shaped with a minimum of fat covering over
it. The kidney and cod fat should not be excessive
since its only use is for trim, which brings a low
price. The fat covering should be creamy white,
firm and flaky in appearance.
The emphasis in beef carcass judging should
be on quality and cutability.
texture of some cuts of meat resembles velvet,
which is most desirable, while others look like a
bath towel. Every carcass has fine-grained muscles and coarse-grained muscles, so it is imp01tant
to compare the same muscles.
3. FIRMNESS is very important in judging pork.
Any tendency toward softness in hams or a carcass should be scored down considerably. A
watery appearance is also very objectionable in
pork; it is usually found along with softness.
4. MATURITY is one quality factor that may be
confusing. As an animal increases in age the muscles become less tender, so a younger animal is
more desirable. However, as mentioned before,
too young an aniQlal shows relatively little
marbling. Youth is indicated by the softness, redness and porosity of the bones. The chine bonesthose which make up the split backbone-are
usually used as a guide.
5. COLOR OF LEAN is an important quality aspect because the consumer demands a bright natural color. Beef should be a bright cherry-red;
lamb a light purplish pink color, and pork a bright
grayish pink. Dark lean is objectionable to many
consumers since they relate it to being held too
long in the showcase. Uniformity of color is important, especially in pork hams where two-toning
often occurs. Meat is usually dark when first cut,
but it brightens up in about 20 minutes. If held
too long after being cut, the exposed surface becomes dark and dry.
Figure 1. Wholesale Cuts of Beef Carcass.
6. COLOR OF FAT for all species should be a
creamy white. Fat with a yellow tinge is objectionable; it is generally soft and oily.
4. Short loin
JUDGING BEEF CARCASSES
The first thing to look at in judging beef carcasses is conformation (see Figure 1 ) . You desire
a heavily muscled carcass that shows meatiness
and thickness from hock to neck-especially
through the round, loin and rib cuts. It should be
a balanced carcass with higher development in the
hindquarters and less in the chuck area but not to
the point of lacking meatiness through the forequarters. The carcass should be viewed from both
the back and side to get the true perspective of
its conformation. Move in close to evaluate the
quality aspects. One side of the carcass is ribbed
and makes the quality analysis a bit simpler. The
major indicator of quality is marbling. Evaluate
marbling in terms of its degree and its fineness.
A finer degree of marbling is desired over coarser
marbling. Color and texture also contribute to the
Poor - - - - -
Emphasize quality and meatiness in lamb.
Soft, thinly muscled "jack rabbit" lambs should
be near the bottom of most classes along with
overly finished lambs.
JUDGING LAMB CARCASSES
The confonnation of lamb carcasses is determined by first taking an overall view and then
looking at the development of the cuts (see Figure 2). The lamb should appear compact and
blocky with much thickness and bulge evident in
the leg and loin areas. The lamb carcass should
show a balance between its parts with emphasis
on greater hindquarter development. The leg and
loin are the highest priced and most demanded
cuts, and they should appear thicker and meatier
than the rack and shoulders. Heavy shouldered
lambs should be scored down since they may be
young rams or stags. A short, thick neck is desirable on the meaty lamb carcass.
Finish is now being emphasized more in lamb
classes. A lamb needs only a modest fat covering,
and the color of the lean should show through over
the shoulders. It should not be wasty or patchy
in its dock crotch or kidney fat; overly fat lambs
are not desirable.
Several indicators of quality should be looked
at inside all lamb carcasses. They are feathering,
flank streaking, overflow fat 1 color of the flank
lean and firmness of the flanks. A higher degree
of feathering and fat streaking and more overflow
fat are good indicators of high-quality lamb. The
color should be dark pink, and the flanks should
be full and firm.
JUDGING PORK CARCASSES
Judging pork carcasses requires an eye trained
for the characteristics that the meat packer desires in a meat-type hog. The emphasis in pork
carcass judging is on muscling or meatiness, and
this should be stressed whenever possible. The
consumer wants meaty, trim pork cuts, and the
only way to produce them is with muscular, trim
During the standback view of a pork carcass
class look for several important items. Conformation is first. Look for a thick, plump ham; thickness over the loin; IUeaty shoulders; and straight
sides. Next, check the back fat thickness and
length of carcass. A desirable carcass should average about 1.1 to 1.4 inches of back fat over the
first and last ribs and the last lumbar vertebrae.
It should be 29 to '32 inches long from the first
rib to ·the aitch bone (see Figure 3). This is one
place where experience helps. Other indications
of amount of finish are the fat covering over the
ham, the wrinkles on the sides, the thickness of
the belly and the thickness through the shoulders.
Meatiness or muscling should be looked at
next. On carcasses with a trim fat covering, conformation is a good indicator of muscling, especially in the hams. The meatiness of the loin is
indicated by the depth through the chine area and
the amount of lumbar lean that is showing. Balance is important because the pork carcass should
be more highly developed in the ham and loin
than in the shoulders. The side view is a good indicator of balance; the superior balanced hogs will
have more thickness toward the hindquarter region. Downgrade for heavy shoulders.
Figure 2. Wholesale Cuts of a Lamb Carcass.
The close-up view should substantiate the item
seen from a distance. Then quality factors can be
examined up close. Since pork carcasses are not
ribbed, marbling cannot be used to determine
quality. Feathering between the ribs and overflow fat are good indicators of the amount of
marbling in the lean. The color of the exposed
lean on the flank gives a good indication of the
color of the carcass lean, which should be a grayish pink.
Always grab the front leg and shake it to determine the firmness of the carcass. Another good
method is to feel the belly for firmness. Extremely
soft carcasses that have been properly chilled
should be downgraded.
a finer texture. In addition, 4 possesses a whiter, more uniform outside finish. Also 4 displays a
fuller, deeper clod, a deeper blade face and a shorter neck. I admit 2 possesses less seam fat in the
blade and arm faces. Nevertheless, 4 reveals a thicker English cut.
I placed 2 over 1 since 2 has a wider, deeper blade face that carries less seam fat. I concede 1 displays a higher degree of marbling in a firmer, finer textured lean that shows a brighter cherry-red
color. In addition, 1 reveals a less watery lean. However, 2 possesses a deeper chine, a wider,
deeper arm face, and a thicker English cut.
I placed 1 over 3 since 1 surpasses 3 in quality, indicated by more marbling in a brighter, cherryred lean. Also, 1 reveals a firmer, finer textured lean. Moreover, 1 displays less seam fat in the
arm faces. I grant 3 possesses a deeper clod, a thicker English cut, and shows less seam fat in the
blade surface. Even so, 1 displays a finer, more evenly distributed marbling.
I placed 3 last because, although it possesses a deep, full clod, it carries too much fat over the
blade and arm faces. In addition, it reveals a high degree of seam fat. Also, 3 lacks marbling in
the blade and arm faces.
I placed this class of beef ribs 4, 3, 2, 1 with an outstanding top.
4 is placed over 3 since it excels in quality as manifested by a more extensive, divided marbling in
a more velvety grained, finner lean with a more eye appealing cherry-red color. I concede 3
carries a trimmer covering over its blade end. Nonetheless, 4 possesses superior muscling as exhibited by a fuller back, larger, more shapely eye, a deeper blade end and meatier short ribs.
In placing 3 over 2, 3 will have a higher yield of edible pmtion since it carries a trimmer external
finish. 3 also reveals less wasty seam fat in its blade end. I credit 2 with superior quality as manifested by a more abundant, finer marbling in a firmer, brighter lean.
2 carries a whiter, harder fat covering. However, 3 possesses a higher degree of muscling as manifested by a larger, more shapely eye, a deeper chine, and a meatier blade end. Also, 3 has meatier
2 over 1 excels in quality. 2 displays more abundant marbling that is more uniformly distributed.
2 also shows a firmer, finer textured lean with a more attractive cherry-red color. I admit 1 carries
a less wasty external finish and less seam fat in its deeper blade end. Even so, 2 carries a whiter,
flakier fat covering and displays a large, more shapely eye.
I placed 1 last because it is a low quality rib as shown by a dark, coarse-textured, soft lean which
is deficient in marbling. I acknowledge 1 is trim and exhibits a meaty blade end. Nevertheless, in
addition to its low quality, 1 displays a small, poorly shaped eye.
COMPARATIVE PORK TERMS
2 over 4 will yield a higher percentage of lean cuts due to its superior muscling and trimmer fatback.
2 shows superior muscling as exemplified by its meatier ham and deeper loin with more lumbar
2 will have a higher cut-out value.
2 over 4 will have a higher lean-to-fat ratio since it carries a trimmer fatback.
2 exhibits more balance as manifested by greater muscling in the ham and loin.
2 carries a more uniform thickness from end to end (ham to shoulder).
2 is a meatier carcass as indicated by a more desirable finish and greater evidence of muscling.
2 exhibits a shorter shanked, more bulging ham that is longer and wider in the center portion.
2 displays a fuller, deeper loin with a greater depth of lumbar lean.
2 exhibits a deeper, meatier ham butt.
2 is a thicker cushioned, plumper ham with a shorter shank.
2 should have a higher percentage of center slices since it is longer and wider in the center portion.
2 is a more shapely ham that carries more fullness in its muscling.
2 is a wider, meatier ham.
I should have a low yield of edible portion due to its inferior muscling and wasty external and
1 displays a flat sirloin end.
1 reveals a poorly muscled loin and blade end.
1 is shallow through the chine and lacks fullness.
I fails to carry meatiness into its short ribs.
1 is a poorly balanced chuck that is shallow in its blade and arm faces and long in its neck.
I lacks compactness.
I lacks uniformity of thickness and is deficient in fullness through the clod.
1 should have a low yield of edible portion due to its inferior muscling and wasty external and
I carries a rough, patchy external fat covering which is especially wasty over the rump.
I exhibits too much fat over its rib eye.
I lacks uniformity in its finish.
I reveals a heavy, wasty kidney knob and excessive amounts of pelvic and heart fat.
I carries an excessive covering of external fat.
I will have a low yield of trimmed retail cuts due to its lack of trimness.
1 lacks eye appeal as it reveals a dark, soft eye which is deficient in marbling.
I displays a dark, unattractive lean with coarse, poorly distributed marbling.
I carries a yellow, oily external finish.
I is defiicient in quality as evidenced by a lack of marbling in its coarse-textured, soft lean.
I lacks youthfulness as evidenced by white, hard, dense chine bones and a partially ossified button.
Combine the conformation, muscling and
thickness of finish to get a cutability score or the
yield of lean cuts. These factors should be balanced and a final placing arrived at emphasizing
meatiness and trimness.
Figure 3. Wholesale Cuts of a Pork Carcass.
1. Hind foot
JUDGING BEEF CHUCKS
The beef chuck is generally used for pot roast
or for boneless beef. It doesn't need the quality of
the higher priced cuts. Therefore, the meatiness
of the chuck should be stressed in judging.
The ideal beef chuck is thick, compact, blocky
and heavily muscled throughout (see Figure 4).
It should have a short, thick neck that blends in
well with a meaty shoulder. The blade and arm
faces should show evidence of a thick muscular
chuck, and the clod region should also show this
meatiness. The muscling which is best indicated
in the arm and blade faces should not be excessive in the neck area-this might indicate a bull
chuck. Then, light muscled chucks are generally
from low-grading, young cattle or cow chucks.
Chuck should show a modest amount of finish,
riot more than about %to ~ inch. It should be uniformly covered with a high quality fat. Too much
seam fat in the arm and blade faces should be
scored down. Marbling is not of great importance
in chucks, but there should be some in the blade
and arm faces. A soft, watery condition may be
found in some under-finished chucks, and this
should be considered when placing the class.
I place this class of heavy beef carcasses 3, 2, 4, I, with a close top pair.
3 over 2 should yield a higher perc_entage of closely trimmed retail cuts since it carries a more desirable degree of finish. 3 exhibits a smoother, more uniform fat covering that is trimmer over the
rib eye and is less wasty in its internal fat. I grant 2 excels in quality as revealed by a firmer, finergrained, mor ch ,rf)'·l' d eyC" that contains a greater amount of marbling. Even so, 3 presents a
higher degr of 111uscling a cvic.le11cecl by a thicker cushioned round, a deeper loin and a fuller
backed rib which carrie into a larger, more shapely eye. Moreover, 3 shows a more even distriblltion of its finer marbling.
2 is placed over 4 as it excels in quality. 2 displays a firmer, more velvety textured, brighter colored eye which contains greater amounts of marbling. I admit 4 carries a smoother, more uniform
external finish that is trimmer over the rib eye. 4 displays a less wasty kidney knob and a round
that is longer through the center portion. However, 2 possesses a shorter shanked, thicker cushioned round that blends more evenly into a fuller, deeper loin. 2 also shows a fuller clodded chuck
that carries more smoothly into a shorter neck.
4 over I exhibits superior conformation. It carries a higher degree of muscling more uniformly
from end to end. 4 possesses a round that is longer and wider in its center portion and thicker in
the cushion. 4 evidences a deeper loin and a larger eye in its fuller rib. Moreover, 4 possesses a
chuck which is fuller in the chine and shorter in the neck. I realize 1 reveals a finer textured lean
that is firmer. Nevertheless, 4 displays greater youthfulness in its redder, more porous bone, more
pronounced buttons, and more attractively colored lean.
I is a poorly muscled carcass as manifested by a long-shanked, tapering round, a small, ill-shaped
eye and a flat, long-necked chuck. I concede I carries trim external and internal fat and a finetextured lean. Nonetheless, it is deficient in marbling and displays a shady, unattractive color of
Pork Carcass Measurements
Back Fat Depth
Point of shoulder
Cross rib pot-roast
I placed this class of beef chucks 4, 2, I, 3. 4 over 2 excels in conformation and quality as indicated by a finer, more evenly distributed marbling in a firmer, bright cherry-red lean that shows
Parts of a Beef Chuck.
JUDGING BEEF RIBS
JUDGING BEEF LOINS
Beef ribs are one of the three highest-priced
cuts. These are usually used for roasts or rib
steaks. So beef ribs should be of high quality with
The ideal beef rib should be uniformly thick
and should show its meatiness throughout (see
Figure 5). The rib eye should be large and oval
in shape, and the blade end should be thick and
meaty. This thickness should carry down toward
the ribs and over the center of the rib. Muscular
development and high ratios of lean to bone and
lean to fat should be evident throughout the cut.
The external finish of the rib should be modest
and uniformly covered. No patchiness or wastiness
should be evident because it adds nothing to the
rib itself and decreases the cutout value. The fat
should be creamy white rather than yellow, soft
Quality is most important in judging ribs and
should be judged in both rib and blade faces. The
higher the degree of marbling and the finer the
marbling, the higher is the quality of the cut.
The muscle should be a bright cherry-red color
and should have a fine texture. The blade end
should not show an excessive amount of seam fat.
Balance the quality characteristics of both the
blade and rib faces to decide the total quality of
The beef loin provides the best steaks in the
carcass; this is the high-priced cut. Because the
whole loin is used for steaks, quality is greatly
The conformation of the loin should show
thickness and meatiness throughout (see Figure
6). The sirloin end should be thick and meaty,
and this well-developed muscling should carry
down to the loin or rib eye end.
Parts of a Beef Loin.
Parts of a Beef Rib.
Descriptive Terms for Last Place Carcass or Cut
Blade End View of Rib
Eye End View of Rib
Center of rib
Chine or feather bone
displays a meatier short rib.
is deeper in the chine.
is deeper in the clod.
is a deeper, fuller clodded chuck with a shorter neck.
carries a more uniform thickness, being especially thicker in the chine and toward the neck.
is a more compact chuck.
displays larger blade and arm faces.
presents greater muscling, being especially fuller in the clod and deeper in the arm face.
is a more balanced chuck.
shows a meatier English cut.
carries thinner, more uniform external fat, especially over the rump and rib eye.
displays whiter, flakier, more uniform finish.
possesses a higher degree of cutability since it is a trimmer, more heavily muscled carcass.
should yield a higher percentage of closely trimmed round, loin, rib and chuck.
should yield a higher percentage of edible portion since it is a less wasty carcass with more
is smoother in its outside fat covering.
displays a less patchy external finish.
evidences a flakier, whiter, smoother finish.
is trimmer in its kidney and pelvic fat.
possesses a less wasty internal fat (kidney, pelvic and heart fat).
is trimmer in its outside fat covering, being particularly less wasty over the rib eye.
carries a more desirable thickness of outside fat.
excells in quality as evidenced by its brighter, firmer eye with more extensive marbling.
shows a higher degree of more finely divided marbling.
reveals a finer, more evenly distributed marbling in a firmer, finer grained lean.
displays a more attractive, cherry-red color of lean.
exhibits a more velvety textured lean with greater amounts of a more evenly dispersed marbling.
reveals a more eye-appealing quality as manifested by a more cherry-red lean with greater
amounts of marbling.
is a more youthful carcass as evidenced by a redder, more porous bone, a softer button and a
lighter cherry-red color of flesh.
displays greater youthfulness as revealed by a lighter color of lean, a redder, less dense chine
bone structure, and a more pronounced button.
I is a poorly muscled carcass as indicated by a long-shanked, tapering round, a thinly fleshed loin
and rib, and a fiat, long-necked chuck.
I displays inferior muscling.
I is not a symmetrical carcass, being heavy in the forequarter.
I lacks balance as shown by poor muscle development in the hindquarter.
I lacks muscling in its
I possesses a small, unshapely eye.
I is too short in the center portion of its round.
I exhibits an undesirable degree of muscling as evidenced by a small sirloin tip muscle and a thinly fleshed rump with excessive seam fat.
I displays a fiat sirloin end.
I reveals a poorly muscled loin and blade end.
I is shallow through the chine and lacks fullness.
I fails to carry meatiness into its short ribs.
I is a poorly balanced chuck that is shallow in its blade and arm faces and long in its neck.
I lacks compactness.
I lacks uniformity of thickness and is deficient in fullness through the clod.
The external finish should be modest in thickness, should cover the loin uniformly and be of the
highest quality. Too much finish over the hip region or over the sirloin is undesirable.
The loin should be finely an d extensively
marbled. This quality aspect should show in both
the sirloin and rib ends. The lean should be firm,
fine-grained and a uniformly bright cherry-red
The majority of hams are sold today in the
cured form. After curing and smoking, some of
the characteristics of the fresh hams are not seen,
but conformation, muscular development, marbling and the intermuscular seams of fat are evident.
From the conformation standpoint the superior
ham should show width and depth across its face,
should be long and deep in its center cut, deep in
the cushion, full in the heel and short in the shank
(see Figure 8). Superior muscle development
should be evident throughout.
Hams are generally skinned and defatted on
the upper two-thirds, so it is not possible to view
the total finish. The finish left should be firm, and
wastiness should not be evident in the shank area.
View the ham from the shank end and look at the
finish in the cut area of the shank and the height
that the shank stands from the table. The higher
the shank, the higher the fat content. Pork fat
should be white, firm and dry. Fat that is soft,
oily and unattractive in color should be downgraded.
JUDGING BEEF ROUNDS
COMPARATIVE BEEF TERMS
3 over 2 excells in conformation as evidenced by superior muscling.
3 over 2 is a more heavily muscled carcass as shown by a thicker cushioned, more bulging round
that carries into a deeper, fuller loin.
3 displays more balance and symmetry since it exhibits a more heavily muscled hindquarter.
3 possesses a deeper, m~atier loin that carries through to a larger, more shapely eye and a heavier
muscled, fuller rib and chuck.
3 carries more meat in the high priced cuts, as it is especially meatier in the round and loin.
3 displays a more uniform thickness from end to end.
3 is a more symmetrical carcass with a higher percentage of meat in the high priced cuts.
3 is a thicker fleshed carcass as indicated by a greater, more uniform thickness from round to chuck.
3 carries a shorter shanked, thicker cushioned, more bulging round.
3 presents a wider, deeper loin.
3 displays a fuller, meatier rib.
3 exhibits a deeper, fuller clodded chuck with a shorter neck.
3 evidences a longer center portion of the round.
3 displays a deeper, meatier sirloin end and rump.
3 is a more shapely, thicker fleshed round as shown by a shorter shank, a thicker cushion and a meatier heel.
3 exhibits a larger sirloin tip muscle.
3 is a more heavily muscled loin.
3 carries more muscling from end to end as manifested by a larger, more shapely eye, greater fullness, and a meatier sirloin end.
3 is a deeper, fuller loin that carries into a larger sirloin end.
3 exhibits greater fullness at the junction of the sirloin and short loin.
3 is a meatier rib, being especially deeper in the blade end and loin end.
3 carries more fullness into its rib end.
The beef round is a multipurpose cut. The
rump and heel can be used for roasts and the
center cut for steaks or a roast.
The beef round should be compact, short in
the shank, thick and .full in the center section and
meaty in the sirloin end (see Figure 7). It should
be thickly fleshed in the region of the top and
bottom round with very little development in the
The creamy white finish should be modest in
its thickness and should uniformly cover the round
from rump to heel, but the lower round may not
be extensively finished except in more highly finished cattle. W astiness about the rump, clod and
pelvic cavities is undesirable.
The high-quality round should be finely and
extensively marbled, and the lean should be firm
and very fine in texture, giving it a velvety appearance. The muscles should be a cherry-red
color, and there should be no evidence of two-tone
Parts of the Beef Round.
Parts of a Ham.
Face of ham
Width of face
Depth of face
length of center cut
The ham face should be firm with a fine texture and dry appearance. The marbling should
be fine and extensive and should appear in all
muscles. The color should be pinkish gray. Pale
or dark coloring and two-toned coloring are undesirable. Hams that are pale, soft and watery
and that do not hold their natural shape should
be severely downgraded.
Notes for Beef Carcass Class
Class E - Heavy Beef Carcasses
Notes For Reasons
Contestant's No. _______________________________________ _
Class: - ·
(name and letter designation)
~2. - -t.._h_~_ q.g__________Q Y <.J..r +_c.v o_
2/4 superior conf.
ft _-__ f ou.~
Concessions to 4 over 2
Reasons for placing 4 over 1
Concessions to 1 over 4
-Inferior characteristics of 1
---- ------ - - ·-- -
Good characteristics of 1
The following suggestions ~ay help in taking notes for reasons:
1. Be sure to put name arid letter designation (Class A) on notes.
2. Use abbreviations, but be sure you can interpret your abbreviations.
short-shanked, pl. means plumper.
th. cush. rd.
larger, m. shapely eye
more youthful; redder, m. porous
bone, softer button
m. youthful flesh finer, m. ext.
marb. firmer, f. tex lean
smoother, whiter, harder, more
·---·--------·-···---------- ------·-·----------· -·
I - onn
Fourth -------·- ~
trimmer, more unif. fat cov.
less wasty kidney and
esp. heavier muscled hind q.
s.s., more bulg.
th. cushioned rd., deeper fuller loin
firm, f. tex. lean
more attractive lean
-··- +·;;:----~~~~~ £,~-=-·- -· Reasons for placing 2 over 4
4th _ _)______
Concessions or grants to 2 over 3
Reasons for placing 3 over 2
s.s., more bulging round
whiter fat covering
more ext. marb. balance
trim fat over rib eye
more uniform, less wasty finish
trim, kidney & pelvic fat
more even dist. of marb.
more velvety lean
larger, more shapely eye
fuller rib and chuck
1 low qual.
Examples: s.s. means
3. When possible, start notes with the most obvious large point, such as superior conformation,
and follow it with all reasons why this is true.
4. Keep notes well organized.
blocky, str. sided
soft, coarse lean lacks youth
as shown by whiter, harder bone~
def. in marb.
finish-patchy esp. over rump and loin
5. Compare carcasses in a logical and routine manner so you won't overlook any important point.
6. If you are not sure of a comparison, don't put it in your reasons.