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SmokingMeatForums.com › Instructionals › Beef Forequarter Processing: The Plate Section

Beef Forequarter Processing: The Plate Section


There is little information on processing the Beef Plate.  It is usually used mostly for fatty trim and/or short ribs, but there are some features to it.  The plate is separated from the rib:




and as a whole piece:





Once you separate the plate, you're leaving most the ribs on the plate, a small amount on the rib section, as shown in the first graphic.  


You can process the plate into a few things.  First, cut off the entire bone section, keeping as much lean as possible, making 'long ribs' right up to the ligament section of the bones:




This shows the bone structure of the forequarter, and the plate rib section between the 6th and 7th rib, and the circled section is where the ribs attach to the chest section with ligaments so the ribcage can flex.  You separate the bones at this part as the ligaments are rubbery and there are joints you can cut through with a knife.  


On the plate, on the underside there are the diaphram muscles, the inner and the outer muscles.  These can be removed and stripped of its sheath exposing the muscles to trim;




These are known as "Skirt Steaks", normally used in out-of-country cuisines.  They didn't start getting popular here in the US until the mid 60's when KMart used them for their steak specials; consumers found them tender and tasty when not overcooked; medium rare or rare keeps them tender, not tough.  This is where they come from!


The rib section of the plate can be left as a bone-in section of plate ribs, or cut into medium or short ribs, trimming away excess fat. Or, the ribs can be removed without leaving any meat on them and the balance trimmed into beef bacon, same as a hog.  For people who cannot eat pork bacon, this is a viable alternative:





So, you can get beef short, medium or long ribs, skirt steaks, plate beef for bacon or frying, or the lean sections into stew and cubes from what used to be considered a 'waste' section of the steer, boned out and chunked up into fatty trim, good for nothing else.  The packers do indeed to that to plates too, but have found alternative merchandising cuts also!  


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SmokingMeatForums.com › Instructionals › Beef Forequarter Processing: The Plate Section