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Glossary: Cuts and Cooking Terms

Cuts of Beef

Cuts of Pork

Cuts of Poultry

Cooking Terms




Flat Iron: Second in tenderness to the tenderloin steak, the flat iron is well-marbled, richly flavored and juicy. Best when cooked to no more than medium doneness.

Chuck Roast: This is the classic pot roast, becoming moist and tender when braised and full of rich, beef flavor.

Chuck Filet: Similar to a ribeye steak, but at a more economical price. Richly marbled and flavorful. Can be marinated before grilling.

Brisket & Shank

Brisket: A flavorful cut that becomes tender when cooked slowly at low temperatures. The traditional cut used for corned beef, and popular as smoked barbecue.


Skirt Steak: Boasts deep, rich, beefy flavor. Best when marinated before grilling; when slicing, cut against the grain.

Short Ribs: May be bone-in or boneless. Very flavorful, moist and tender when braised.


Flank Steak: Lean and flavorful, and should be thinly sliced against the grain when carving. An ideal choice to marinate.


Strip Steaks: This premium lean steak is a steakhouse classic, known for its marbling, tenderness and flavor.

T-bone: This well-marbled cut consists of two lean, tender steaks - the strip and tenderloin - connected by a telltale T-shaped bone. In a T-Bone, the tenderloin is between 1/2 and 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

Porterhouse: This well-marbled classic steakhouse cut consists of two tender steaks - the strip and tenderloin - connected by a telltale T-shaped bone. In a Porterhouse, the tenderloin is 1 1/4 inch or larger in diameter.

Filet Mignon: The most tender beef cut. Lean yet succulent and elegant. Melt-in-your-mouth texture, subtle flavor and compact shape.

Tenderloin Roast: The most tender beef roast is lean, succulent and elegant, with mild flavor.

Sirloin: Family-sized steak that offers lean, well-flavored and moderately tender beef at an affordable every day price. Convenient and a great value with no bones and little fat. Versatile, juicy and delicious.

Tri-Tip: Juicy, tender and versatile, this roast offers rich beef flavor. Easily recognized by its triangular shape, this West Coast favorite is gaining broader popularity.


Rump Roast: Lean and economical, this cut is best enjoyed braised. When roasted in the oven, slice thin against the grain to maximize tenderness.

London Broil: An economical and full-flavored cut. Best when marinated and sliced thinly against the grain.

Top Round Roast: Economical, moderately tender and full-flavored. Slice thin against the grain.

Top Round Steak: An economical and full-flavored cut. Best when marinated and sliced thinly against the grain.

Eye of Round: Very lean and economical. Best when cooked to medium rare and sliced thin against the grain.

Sirloin Tip: Very lean and moderately tender, this mild steak may be marinated for additional flavor.


Ribeyes: This boneless steak is rich, tender, juicy and full-flavored, with generous marbling throughout.

Prime Rib: Rich flavor, juicy tenderness and majestic appearance. The grand champion of beef roasts. One of the most tender beef cuts. Fine-grained with generous marbling throughout.

Short Ribs: May be bone-in or boneless. Very flavorful, moist and tender when braised.


Cubed Steak: Tenderized by a butcher; often breaded and pan-fried.

Fajita Beef: Almost any tender beef cut can be trimmed and cut into uniform strips for use in quickly cooked dishes like stir-fries or fajitas.

Stir-fry Beef: Almost any tender beef cut can be trimmed and cut into uniform strips for use in quickly cooked dishes like stir-fries or fajitas.

Stew Beef: Well-trimmed beef, cut into 3/4 to 1 1/2-inch pieces that is covered with liquid and simmered slowly in a covered pot. Commonly cut from the sirloin but can come from any tender cut.

Ground Beef: Versatile, flavorful and economical. Shape into burger patties, meatballs or meatloaf; or brown and crumble for a variety of dishes.



Shoulder Roast: A tender, super-versatile cut. Best cooked slow and low. 


Tenderloin Roast: Also known as "pork filet", this cut is long, thin and tender. 

Loin Chops: Cut from the hip and loin, this cut is the leanest chop with a very mild pork flavor. 

Rib Chops: Cut from the shoulder to the middle of the loin, this cut is tender with mild flavor. 

Rib Roast: This cut originates in the rib area of the loin, so it contains more fat making it more flavorful. This cut is the pork version of a standing beef rib roast or rack of lamb. 


Pork Belly: An incredibly tender, but fatty cut of meat.  



Sliced Breast: Leanest cut of the bird 

Cutlet: Thinly sliced piece of chicken breast 


Wings: Higher in fat and full of rich flavor, economical 

Drumettes: The portion of the wing attached to the main part of the chicken, shaped like a drumstick


Thighs: The tastiest part, tender and juicy from the top of the leg 

Drumsticks: The lower part of the leg, economical



Bake: To cook by dry heat, usually in the oven.

Barbecue: Usually used generally to refer to grilling done outdoors or over an open charcoal or wood fire. More specifically, barbecue refers to long, slow direct- heat cooking, including liberal basting with a barbecue sauce.

Baste: To moisten foods during cooking with pan drippings or special sauce to add flavor and prevent drying.

Beat: To mix rapidly in order to make a mixture smooth and light by incorporating as much air as possible.

Blanch: To immerse in rapidly boiling water and allow to cook slightly.

Blend: To incorporate two or more ingredients thoroughly.

Boil: To heat a liquid until bubbles break continually on the surface.

Broil: To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.

Caramelize: To heat sugar in order to turn it brown and give it a special taste.

Chop: To cut solids into pieces with a sharp knife or other chopping device.

Clarify: To separate and remove solids from a liquid, thus making it clear.

Deglaze: To dissolve the thin glaze of juices and brown bits on the surface of a pan in which food has been fried, sautéed or roasted. To do this, add liquid and stir and scrape over high heat, thereby adding flavor to the liquid for use as a sauce.

Degrease: To remove fat from the surface of stews, soups, or stock. Usually cooled in the refrigerator so that fat hardens and is easily removed.

Dice: To cut food in small cubes of uniform size and shape.

Dissolve: To cause a dry substance to pass into solution in a liquid.

Dredge: To sprinkle or coat with flour or other fine substance.

Drizzle: To sprinkle drops of liquid lightly and evenly over food.

Dust: To sprinkle food with dry ingredients. Use a strainer or a jar with a perforated cover, or try the good, old-fashioned way of shaking things together in a paper bag.

Filet: A piece of flesh after it has been boned.

Flake: To break lightly into small pieces.

Fold: To incorporate a delicate substance into another substance without releasing air bubbles. 

Fricassee: To cook by braising; usually applied to fowl or rabbit.

Garnish: To decorate a dish both to enhance its appearance and to provide a flavorful touch.

Glaze: To cook with a thin sugar syrup cooked to crack stage; mixture may be thickened slightly. 

Grate: To rub on a grater that separates the food in various sizes of bits or shreds.

Gratin: From the French word for "crust." Term used to describe any oven-baked dish--usually cooked in a shallow oval gratin dish--on which a golden brown crust of bread crumbs, cheese or creamy sauce is form.

Grill: To cook on a grill over intense heat.

Grind: To process solids by hand or mechanically to reduce them to tiny particles.

Julienne: To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips.

Marinate: To flavor and moisturize pieces of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetable by soaking them in or brushing them with a liquid mixture of seasonings known as a marinade. Dry marinade mixtures composed of salt, pepper, herbs or spices may also be rubbed into meat, poultry or seafood.

Mince: To cut or chop food into extremely small pieces.

Mix: To combine ingredients usually by stirring.

Pan-Broil: To cook uncovered in a hot fry pan, pouring off fat as it accumulates.

Pan-Fry: To cook in small amounts of fat.

Parboil: To boil until partially cooked; to blanch. Usually this procedure is followed by final cooking in a seasoned sauce.

Peel: To remove the peels from vegetables or fruits.

Pickle: To preserve meats, vegetables, and fruits in brine.

Pinch: A pinch is the trifling amount you can hold between your thumb and forefinger.

Planked: Cooked on a thick hardwood plank.

Poach: To cook very gently in hot liquid kept just below the boiling point.

Puree: To mash foods until perfectly smooth by hand, by rubbing through a sieve or food mill, or by whirling in a blender or food processor.

Reduce: To boil down to reduce the volume.

Refresh: To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly.

Roast: To cook by dry heat in an oven.

Sauté: To cook and/or brown food in a small amount of hot fat.

Scald: To bring to a temperature just below the boiling point.

Scallop: To bake a food, usually in a casserole, with sauce or other liquid. Crumbs often are sprinkled over.

Score: To cut narrow grooves or gashes partway through the outer surface of food.

Sear: To brown very quickly by intense heat. This method increases shrinkage but develops flavor and improves appearance.

Shred: To cut or tear in small, long, narrow pieces.

Sift: To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter.

Simmer: To cook slowly in liquid over low heat at a temperature of about 180°. The surface of the liquid should be barely moving, broken from time to time by slowly rising bubbles.

Skim: To remove impurities, whether scum or fat, from the surface of a liquid during cooking, thereby resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final produce.

Steam: To cook in steam in a pressure cooker, deep well cooker, double boiler, or a steamer made by fitting a rack in a kettle with a tight cover. A small amount of boiling water is used, more water being added during steaming process, if necessary.

Steep: To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in water just below the boiling point.

Sterilize: To destroy microorganisms by boiling, dry heat, or steam.

Stew: To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time.

Stir: To mix ingredients with a circular motion until well blended or of uniform consistency.

Toss: To combine ingredients with a lifting motion.

Truss: To secure poultry with string or skewers, to hold its shape while cooking.

Whip: To beat rapidly to incorporate air and produce expansion. 

Whisk: To beat or stir a substance with a light, rapid movement.

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