Technical Description – Ponderosa hip is made from a short cut hip with its aitch bone and rough rump removed. The shank bone is cut below the tarsal joint and the shank meat is removed to within 50 mm (2") of the stifle joint. All loose tissue is trimmed off, and the fat cover does not exceed 6 mm (1/4") at any one point. The Ponderosa hip weighs between 17 – 20 kg (37 – 44 lb).
This large beef cut is less common today, and is not readily produced in federal meat plants, but may be available from provincial packers. The Ponderosa hip cut of beef is most often used on high-volume buffets largely for its presentation value. The aitch bone on the bottom of the hip is removed for easier carving.
The Ponderosa Hip and the Baron of Beef are not often used in retail operations, but you may get requests for these cuts from retail customers who are planning large parties or events. It would be important to let customers know that custom orders like this take a certain amount of time to fill, since obtaining the product requires a special relationship with a distributor or abattoir.
Other trim options:
Hip [Baron of Beef] Bone-in - NAMP #160C
Hip [Baron of Beef] Boneless - NAMP #161B
Eye of Round
Technical Description – Eye of round is comprised of the semitendinosus muscle, which is produced by separating the eye of round from the inside and outside rounds, and the heel between the natural seams. Eye of round weighs between 2.5 – 3.5 kg (5.5 – 7.7 lb).
Eye of round possesses an attractive price point, and given its leanness, is excellent for roast beef deli- style sandwiches, traditional roast beef dinners and healthcare combination cooking applications.
The eye of round is an inexpensive section of the beef carcass and very easy to process in Retail meat operations. There is very little yield loss when processing into roasts and steaks or even value-added peppered or marinated steaks. When processing the eye of round into steaks, use thin slicing to offset the tight texture. It is also beneficial to use on-pack labels to inform the customer that marinating is required prior to cooking.
End pieces from this section that are not used for steaks or roasts can be used for beef cutlets or stir fry pieces. It should be noted that beef stir fry and cutlets (pounded with a mallet or tenderized with a tenderizing machine) usually sell for a higher retail price than eye of round roast or eye of round steaks.
If you have an opportunity to educate a customer on how to cook and carve this product as a roast, recommend dry heat roasting and always carving these roasts thin after they have been rested. This is sound advice for any of the roasts that are obtained from the hip section.
Sliced paper thin, eye of round is often used for Chinese fondue at retailers for seasonal sales during Christmas and Chinese New Year in Canada. For best results, partially freeze the eye of round before slicing for that consistently thin profile. It would be important to upcharge at least twice the regular price for this product due to the extra labor and time involved in manufacturing.
Inside Round (Top Round)
Technical Description – Inside round (top round) is prepared from the inside portion of the hip that is posterior to the round bone. The thick membrane is removed and surface fat is trimmed to a maximum 6 mm (1/4") at any one point. Inside round (top round) may be split and tied, or netted. Inside round weighs between 9 – 11 kg (20 – 24 lb).
Inside round (top round) is a large muscle and may be roasted whole. The beef cut is ideal for buffets, and is often used for more casual roast beef applications like beef on a bun. Inside round will not replace the middle cuts for tenderness, but is ideal if the goal is to supply a less costly product at an excellent price point. Inside round's overall price point and numerous retail cut options make it an excellent choice for many retail merchandising opportunities.
Inside round is best cooked in dry heat or combination roasting applications.
Roulades from the round section are often cut from the leanest section of the inside muscle to about 3 mm (1/8") thickness on a meat slicer.
End pieces from the inside can be utilized for stir fry and tenderized beef cutlets in the meat counter. These are options that can create higher margins for your operations and a point of differentiation for your meat counter.
Some retailers have become creative with the cap muscle from the inside round by using a tenderizing machine to create a cutlet, and then stuffing the cutlet with other foods such as sausage, cheese, and spinach, thus creating either signature roasts or stuffed medallions of beef.
End cuts from the inside round are also sometimes cut for extra lean stew. For some excellent ideas on how to merchandise the hip inside round, check out the Spec Sheets and open up the Video for Merchandising the Inside Round for Retail Operations.
Please reference the Inside Round Tech Sheet for cutting, grinding and carving suggestions, as well as handling tips and menu application opportunities.
Other trim specification options:
Inside (Top Round) Cap Off - NAMP #169A
This beef is completely denuded with the cap off, which results in a higher price point offset by better yield and less work for the meat cutters in Retail Meat Operations..
Braising, Simmering, Stewing or Pot Roasting
Inside Round Top Round Tech Sheet
Outside Round (Bottom Round)
Technical Description - The outside round flat is produced by separating it from the inside round, sirloin tip, eye of round, heel of round and the shank between the natural seams. The outside round flat weighs between 6.0 – 7.5 kg (13 – 16 lb).
Outside Round Flat NAMP #171B is sometimes called the silverside, bottom round or bottom flat.
The outside round flat has an economical price point and can be used both as a dry-heat roast and as a braising roast.
Outside round flat (or bottom round flat) is a very high yielding cut of beef when handled and cooked correctly, and is a great option for all roast beef applications, including sandwiches.
The hip outside round is an inexpensive section of the beef carcass and it is underutilized by many retailers. With a little bit of work and basic butchery understanding, you will find excellent options to increase the product mix in your meat case.
By removing the side muscle and following grain directions, a progressive retail meat operator can manufacture some great options for their customers. These options would include 0.5 kg (1 lb) quick roasts or rotisserie-style roasts, beef bacon-added roasts or fat-added roasts, thin sliced marinating steaks and extra lean stew (upcharge). The end cuts from the outside can be used for tenderized hip cutlets and stir fry.
Another option at retail is to use the lean heart of the outside muscle and slice across the grain for hip roulades.
The trim from all of the hip cuts can be used in your operations as source grind products in the meat case or for value-added products in your hot deli counter. To create an upsell over commodity products these value-added products may be labeled as Ground Round.
Remember that only cuts from the hip can legally be called Ground Round so the trim would have to be segregated if being sold as Ground Round products. As a good manufacturing practice, aged trim is not recommended for use in lean ground beef for retail sale. Since there is age on the product it will limit shelf life once packaged in the meat counter or stored at home by the consumer.
For some excellent insight on how to merchandise the outside round, please look through the Outside Round Technical Sheets and view the Retail Merchandising Video for the Outside Round.
Further processing (pastrami)
Sirloin Tip (Knuckle)
Technical Description – Sirloin tip (knuckle) is prepared from that portion of the short hip that is ventral to the hip bone. The kneecap and surrounding heavy connective tissue are removed. Sirloin tip may be tied or netted. Sirloin tip weighs between 3.0 – 4.5 kg (6.5 – 10 lb).
NAMP #167A has the flank cap muscle removed. NAMP #167 has the flank cap muscle left on and is less common in foodservice.
Do not confuse the sirloin tip with the top sirloin. Sirloin tip and top sirloin look somewhat alike and have a similar weight range, but sirloin tip, or knuckle, is a leg cut and is tougher because it has more connective tissue and grains running in various directions. Top sirloin is a tender, middle muscle.
Sirloin tip has an attractive price point and is best roasted whole in dry heat. If cooked this way, remember to remove the heavy gristle at one end of the knuckle.
Retail meat specialists should realize that there are three main muscles that run through the sirloin tip and, to get best results with the sirloin tip, it is important to seam these three muscles and create opportunities with each section of the sirloin tip. When properly seamed and cut across the grain, there are opportunities to create innovative merchandising with the sirloin tip such as quick roasts, rotisserie style roasts and even sirloin tip medallions.
As with all of the hip cuts, tenderized hip cutlet, stir fry and extra lean stew can be sourced from the sirloin tip. The sirloin tip has an attractive price point and with a little work, can create profit opportunities for a creative retail meat operator.
Please look through the Sirloin Tip Knuckle Tech Sheet to help you understand retail merchandising opportunities with the sirloin tip to help you understand how to process this section in a different manner than you might be accustomed to processing it.
Adding pack instructions on the label of products from the sirloin tip, such as how to marinate the steaks to help tenderize them, will provide an improved eating experience since the tip is not as tender as a middle cut.
Grain direction is important because carving across the grain facilitates shorter muscle fibres and creates a tender final product.
Sirloin Tip Steak, Side Steak
Technical Description – The sirloin tip steak, or side steak, is prepared from NAMP #167F, Sirloin Tip [Knuckle], Side Roast by cuts across the grain or at right angles.
The sirloin tip steak is often referred to as the “eye of sirloin” tip. Cut thinly, a sirloin tip steak makes a good substitute for a top sirloin breakfast steak at a more affordable price.
Sirloin tip steaks should be placed in a marinade prior to cooking to break down the connective tissue.
The customer must specify size, weight and thickness of steaks and be aware that price point will increase with higher levels of trim (from NAMP #167 through NAMP #1167F).
Other sirloin tip steak options:
Sirloin Tip [Knuckle] Steak - NAMP #1167
Sirloin Tip [Knuckle] Steak Peeled - NAMP #1167A
Sirloin Tip [Knuckle] Steak Peeled, Special - NAMP #1167E
Braising Steak, Swiss
Technical Description – Braising, or Swiss, steak is prepared from any solid muscle derived from primal cuts that is reasonably free of tendons, ligaments and membranous tissue. Cubing, delectating or knitting is not permitted.
These steaks are usually braised in a pot of stewed tomatoes, mushroom sauce, or some other sauce, either on a stove or in an oven.
Beef Marinating Strips
Technical Description – Beef marinating strips may be produced from any raw skeletal portion of the beef carcass with the exception of the cutaneous, shank and heel meat portions. The meat shall be free of fat and be seasoned or marinated.
This product is widely known as fajita strips.