Guide to Slaughter, Cuts of Meat & Preparation

By Kristi Bahrenburg Janzen

WHERE AND HOW IS JANZEN FAMILY FARMS GRASS-FED MEAT PROCESSED?

Janzen Family Farms grass-fed beef is slaughtered and processed at the Peabody Sausage House, a custom-processing facility, which is certified and inspected by the State of Kansas (in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Located in Peabody, KS, the Peabody Sausage House is a small-scale, family-owned and independently run slaughterhouse, the kind that allows us to carefully keep track of the slaughtering process. Animals are always treated with respect, and they are killed as humanely as possible. Given that the facility is not geared toward large-scale production, Peabody Sausage House can process meat to our specifications (or yours, if you order in bulk). The Peabody Sausage House allows us to drop off our cattle the day before slaughter, which minimizes stress on the animal or animals, which we believe is important not only for the welfare of the animal but also the flavor of the meat. We make every effort to ensure that our animals are the first ones slaughtered in the morning. 

WHAT’S THE BACKGROUND ON THE PEABODY SAUSAGE HOUSE?

The Peabody Sausage House, established in the 1960s, is a small-scale slaughterhouse that caters to the needs of small-scale farmers and hunters. For more about the facility, please refer to the PSH Facebook page.

 

HOW WILL JANZEN FAMILY FARMS GRASS-FED BEEF BE PACKED?

You will receive your meat cut, packed in family-size packages, labeled with the cut, and frozen. The meat is packed in plastic-lined paper. Ground beef is packed in 1-pound bags. 

WHAT CUTS OF MEAT DO I GET?   

The Peabody Sausage House has a standard way of cutting a side of beef, providing steaks, roasts, ground beef and other items such as soup bones, organ meats and ribs. Steaks are typically cut at a one-inch thickness. Roasts are usually cut to around three or four pounds.

Please note that some parts of the animal can be cut into various kinds of steaks or roasts, and some of the same cuts have different names, depending on the butcher or the customary name in a certain region. Also, “locker cuts” differ somewhat from “grocery store cuts.” For example, when you get a sirloin steak from the Peabody Sausage House (also known as a “meat locker”), you will get a significantly larger piece of meat than at the grocery store, partly because the locker cut of the sirloin generally includes a piece of the tenderloin (also known as filet mignon).  

Our standard cut typically includes:

  • Sirloin Steaks: One of the most tender premium cuts – coming from the “loin” area on the animal, just next to the “short loin”– and extremely popular in restaurants, sirloins are best grilled or broiled. 

  • Rib Steaks: Considered the “juiciest of steaks” by Saveur magazine, many regard rib steaks as their favorite, as they feel rib steaks provide the best balance of flavor and tenderness. This luxurious steak is also known as a Spencer steak or Delmonico steak. Similar to rib-eye steaks, rib steaks are bigger, as they include the rib eye plus some additional meat and the bone. Rib steaks are great grilled or broiled, but they can also be roasted.

  • Swiss Steaks: Located between the “Pike’s Peak” roast and the round steak on the “round” of the animal, Swiss steaks are great for slow, moist cooking such as stewing or braising.  

  • Round Steaks: Round steaks are de-boned (“boned out”) and tenderized (by a mechanical tenderizer, not through additives). Round steaks are delicious braised or stewed, such as slow-cooked in a crock pot with peppers, potatoes and seasonings. This meat can also be marinated and used for stir-frying.

  • Flank Steaks: These steaks, great for marinating, are leaner than some of the most tender cuts. Quite flavorful, flank steaks are regarded “underrated” by numerous cooking experts. Common in Cuban food, flank steaks can be roasted, grilled or broiled, as well as stir-fried.

  • Arm Roasts: The most typical cut used for the traditional dish “pot roast,” arm roasts come from the front upper area of the animal known as the “chuck,” and can be braised or roasted.

  • Chuck Roasts: Chuck roasts are also known as “shoulder roasts,” and like the arm roasts come from the front of the animal known as the “chuck.” Like with arm roasts, slow moist cooking will tenderize the chuck roast and maximize its flavor.  

  • Rump Roasts: The rump roast comes from the back of the animal near the “round.” Like chuck roasts, rump roasts are best prepared on low temperatures for a longer period of time, such as by braising or stewing, compared to the more tender steaks listed above.

  • “Pike’s Peak” Roasts: Also known as “heel of round” roasts, these roasts also come from the part of the animal known as the “round.” “Pike’s Peak” roasts can be braised or roasted.

  • Short Ribs: In various parts of the country, rib preparation has been elevated to an art form. But don’t be daunted. They are not difficult to prepare, especially with a combination of oven and grill time, and they’re a great place to try out your favorite sauces. Our rib plates are cut into 3-by-3-inch squares.

  • Ground Beef:  You know one of the best ways to prepare ground beef: make a burger. But don’t forget about all the other options, including meat loaf, meat balls, stuffed peppers or stuffed cabbage, Bolognese sauce, taco fillings, chile, sloppy Joe’s, and more. Our ground beef is packaged in 1-pound bags.  

  • Boiling Beef:  This cut comes from the “short plate,” the area below the ribs where short ribs also originate. Boiling beef is well-known for making delicious boullion (also called soup stock). It is the cut of meat often used in Mexican dishes such as fajitas and chiles rellenos. Many other cuisines from East European to Asian also incorporate boiling beef into various recipes for its good flavor.

  • Brisket: The brisket is the basis of corned beef, a traditional Jewish and Irish meat used in a “Reuben” sandwich. Also, “brisket is the absolute cornerstone of ‘authentic’ Texas BBQ,” notes Ben Chappell, one of the Janzen in-laws and culinary wizard, who spent a great deal of time in that state. Brisket can be prepared in brine, as it is in corned beef, or braised or stewed.

  • Organ Meats, Tongue & Oxtail: Considered delicacies in many cuisines but too-often ignored in America today, the heart, liver and tongue and oxtail are also available with your package, if you wish. Please let us know if you are interested in these items.

  • Soup Bones: Bones add flavor and nutrients to any soup or stew. No traditional soup can be prepared without them. Soup bones come from the front and hind shanks.

 

DO YOU HAVE FURTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR INFO ON CUTS AND COOKING METHODS?

Yes. We would recommend the following sources on cuts of meat, and how to cook them:

 

*Our forebears began farming in Kansas in 1880, and our family has been in the Newton, KS, area for five generations. Janzen Family Farms is a name we adopted in the 1980s. Louis Janzen first registered the "LJ" brand, at the top of this page, with the rotated "J" in the 1930s.