New Nomenclature

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pops6927, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    BBQ fans, brace yourselves: "Pork butt" will soon be a thing of the past.

    In an effort to boost sales just ahead of the U.S. grilling season, and make shopping at the meat counter a bit easier, the pork and beef industries are retooling more than 350 names of meat cuts to give them more sizzle and consumer appeal.

    The revised nomenclature emerged after two years of consumer research, which found that the labels on packages of fresh cuts of pork and beef are confusing to shoppers, said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for trade group National Pork Board.

    A stroll down the meat aisle had become baffling for shoppers looking for a steak. When they would see packages of "butler steak" or "beef shoulder top blade steak, boneless, flat iron" - they would walk away with an empty cart, said Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence for the Beef Checkoff Program.

    So recently, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, with the blessing of officials with USDA, got the nod to update the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, or URMIS. Though the URMIS system is voluntary, a majority of U.S. food retailers use it.

    So pork and beef industry officials say they hope the new names will show up in stores nationwide by this summer's grilling season.

    If it does, the lowly "pork chop" will be gone. Instead, grocery retailers could be stocking stacks of "porterhouse chops," "ribeye chops" and "New York chops." The pork butt - which actually comes from shoulder meat - will be called a Boston roast.

    "One of our biggest challenges has been the general belief among consumers that a pork chop is a pork chop," said Fleming. "But not all pork chops are equal, and not all pork chops are priced equally."

    So much for pork being known as the other white meat--a label the pork industry used for years to lure consumers away from chicken.

    In the beef aisle, a boneless shoulder top blade steak will become a flatiron steak, a beef under blade boneless steak will become a Denver Steak. Not all names in the meat counter will change - ground beef will still be ground beef

    The new retail names will also come with new labels for retail packages, which will tell consumers what part of the animal's body the cut comes from, as well as include suggested cooking instructions.

    This marketing move comes at a challenging time for the nation's livestock sector, which has wrestled with historic high grain prices and devastating droughts.

    Overseas demand for U.S. meat has cooled as both Russia and China have concerns about possible traces of the feed additive ractopamine, which is used to make meat leaner. That has protein clogging the nation's supply chain and the supply pork and beef in commercial freezers hit a record high for the month of February, according to Agriculture Department data.

    Also domestic sales have been slow as the relatively cool spring has quashed consumer interest in breaking out the backyard grill.

    While fresh beef and pork cuts have official names that are approved by USDA, compliance with using those naming conventions is voluntary for the industry, said Sam Jones-Ellard, spokesman for USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

    "There won't be any changes to our naming conventions, but we're supportive of this," Jones-Ellard said. "Anything that simplifies the names of cuts of meat is a good thing for consumers."

    At least one section of the meat department will stay the same: A spokesman for the National Chicken Council said Wednesday that no such plans are in place to change the names of chicken cuts. A chicken breast, the official said, will remain a breast.

    Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.
  2. That's interesting.  Even my brother this past summer asked me about  the term "Pork Butt".  He did not realize it was the shoulder (front leg) cut to make the picnic and butt.  He thought it cam from the rear of the pig (ham).  LOL  ...after all these years of being aournd me, my dad (who didn't cook much), and my uncle (who did).  You gotta admit -- it's pretty confusing standing in front of the meat case if you weren't a griller/BBQer.
  3. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

      I'm all for simplyfing the naming of beef and pork products for us non butchers. But I think I have chicken figured out! Glad they are not changing.

  4. smokeamotive

    smokeamotive Smoking Fanatic

    I wouldn't be suprised though if they used this to tack on a nice price increase. After all they (We) have to pay for the name changes. Oh....A porterhouse chop?.........Their $ 7.99 lb Sir!!!!
  5. appwsmsmkr1

    appwsmsmkr1 Meat Mopper

  6. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Last summer my 5 year old grandson was gobbling pulled pork and when we were talking I said "pork butt" and he spit it out wouldn't eat any more.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Pops, Regarding the current Flat Iron Steak, is it from the shoulder top blade? What is the under blade steak currently called?...JJ
  8. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops....I will check things out in my area and see what is happening around here!

  9. Not sure if new nomenclature will help the non--cooking folks. Some probably think this is a small bovine....Lol

  10. appwsmsmkr1

    appwsmsmkr1 Meat Mopper

    Lol @ oink!
  11. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Can't really blame him----Pork "Butt" or Boston Butt---- It does sound like it comes from the other end.

    LOL---It's the Ham he should be spitting out !!!! That's where the real Butt is!!!

  12. What a dumb move.
    This will only make things more confusing for folks.
    If they want to sell more pork they should focus on improving the quality, not confusing name changes!!!!!!
    The pork chop name change is the really dumb one.
    It's pure silliness!!!!!

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Interesting read, thanks for sharing

    Guess they'll keep calling cuts like top round and flank steak "London Broil"

    I think calling various meats by a cooking method name can be pretty confusing and should be accompanied by the true cuts name.

    I hope this makes sense?
  14. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    Swamp = Wetlands

    Dump = Landfill

    Pork Butt = Boston Roast
  15. Don't fall for it folks.
    The real plan is that fancy names will justify higher pricing!!!!
    Greedy schmucks!!!!!

    "Merchandise it Like Beef
    The new pork names can help you position pork more like beef in your meat case and be rewarded with better margins. Because consumers are typically willing to pay more for higher-end cuts, you can charge more for the Ribeye Chop and New York Chop than you could before the name change. Seize the opportunity to trade consumers up while capturing more of their protein dollar."

    Sources: and

    Same old stuff, but at a higner price. That's GREAT news!!!!!!!

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


  17. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    I agree with martin they did it to get around price increace laws. Has been done in the past.
  18. I am new to this site, and am mostly a Beef guy, but to me this should be a highlighted item with a red flasher on the front page considering all the posts on this site that reference "Pork Butt" and comments connected with it. 

    I have not been shopping with my wife much lately but today I went with her primarily looking for a beef brisket.  Found one, then decided to go to the pork section to look for the sacred "Boston Pork Butt" mentioned on this site everywhere, and found none.  What kind of store is this, major chain, large meat section, nothing that says "Pork Butt" on the label, with hundreds of references here?  I was walking over to find someone to ask them what the deal was when I saw a small magic marker sign with a chrome frame that said "Pork Butt" in one of the center cooler cases.   Label on the package says "Pork Shoulder Blade Roast".  It looks like the hundreds of photos on this site, but has a different name.  My thought was something that most likely could get me banned if I posted it here. 

    We purchased it and I was scrolling through how I will be smoking my "pork shoulder blade roast" AKA "pork butt" by real smokers tomorrow and on page 3 of 560 or more of searching for "Pork Butt", I see a reference to this.  This is like a major recall of the English language for the USA..  Major "Thank You" for posting it.  Ken   
  19. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The term "pork butt" comes from colonial times when bringing hogs to market and butchering them off, in Boston they only wanted to keep the 'premier' cuts: hind legs, loins and bacons.  The shoulder sections were considered 'inferior' cuts and got shipped to more southern areas who used them in their cooking.  They were packed into "butts", the current term for barrels.  As the shipping was primarily from Boston, they became known as "Boston Butts".
  20. I neglected to reply earlier.  Thanks for the information.

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