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Pork Butts into Various Products, with Cutting Test Information

Discussion in 'Pork Sticky' started by pops6927, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. pops6927

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

    For my birthday I'd asked for one thing; enough money to buy some pork butts; I am all out of sausages, pork steak, buck board bacon, etc!  Well, I got my wish! 2 - $25 gift cards from my sons and up to $20 from my wife for Tom Thumb, who at present has the best price in town on pork butts, $2.99 down to $1.87 on sale per lb.  I got two 2-packs:



    I (my son) boned out all four butts, this is one of them after removing the bone:


    laid back together, boneless:


    I (we) processed them into pork cuts, pork trim for sausages, buck board bacon on one, bone and fat:


    for buckboard bacon 1 - 4lb 4 oz piece:


    Off each butt I (we) cut off 3 - 4 pork steak for the freezer for dinners (such as Pork and Rice dinner posted previously), then trimmed out three of them into pork cubes for sausage, 90% lean minimum, and one into buckboard (above).  So, the figures look like this (and converting pounds and ounces into pounds and 10ths to 100ths of pounds (divide ounces by 16 to get decimal):

    total bag weights of butts:





    total weight of butts outside of bag and rinsed:

    7 09






    purge in bags: .12 oz., net weight of butts = 32.72 lbs.

    Pork Trim:

    17.72 lbs. for sausage/trim

    Pork Steaks:







    for Buck Board Bacon:

    4.25 lb.







    1.99 lb of bones


    1.53 lb of fat

    total net weights of butts: 32.72

    total of cut and trim weights:  31.52 


    trim loss: 1.2 lbs.

    So, to collate the figures, you have:

    Pork Trim: 17.72

    Pork Steaks: 6.03

    Buck Board Bacon: 4.25

    Waste* :  4.84   (*: bone, fat, trim loss, purge)


    32.84 net product weight total, X $1.87 lb., = $61.41 calculated, $61.41 actual from tags

    Perfect!  Now... Let's have fun!

    **Edited"" - wife made me edit this to say *my son* did the knife work as I can't; she said I was being vain and incorrigible not mentioning that little fact... oh well, yes, dear!
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  2. pops6927

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

    Playing with the figures!

    The whole purpose of a 'cutting test' is to accurately record what part of the whole each type is.

    With that information, you can now do 'scenarios' to determine what pricing you can do, what gross profits you can achieve, what your percentage of total is for computing serving amounts, and so on.

    rFor example: If you add up the pork steak, pork trim, the buckboard bacon and divide it by the whole, you know what your boneless yield of the butts are into useable meat:  28 ÷ 32.84 = 85.26% useable product.   In other words, whatever you have in butt weight total you'll get a yield of about 85% out of them  boneless and cut up.  Good to know!

    Now, to break even, you would have to get 2.20 lb. of the boneless product to break even (1.87 ÷ .85 = 2.20 lb.,  28 lbs x $2.20 = $61.60.. a bit of gain from decimals).

    So, let's merchandise now!  We have 17.72 lbs. of pork trim that we can easily get 3.89 lb in sausages.

    We have 6.03 lbs. of boneless pork steak, let's get 2.99 lb on those.

    We have 4.25 lbs of buckboard bacon we can get 4.99 lb for (assuming we wet brine it and add moisture, then smoke and cook it and remove the moisture so it is back around to it's original weight and not water-added).


    pork trim for sausages: 68.93

    boneless pork steak: 18.03

    Buck Board Bacon: 21.21


    Total:                  108.17

    Cost:                    61.41


    Profit                    46.76

    % (Profit÷Sales)   43.23%

    And that is just one of many scenarios that you can do "what if" 's to.  This is how businesses set their pricing for their ads and juggle prices up and down.  Another variable is you have to project what amounts of each product you will sell, based on price, time-of-year, strength of ad, competition, so on and so on.  

    All of this is collated from many things.  I had to do cutting tests on all sorts of products, as did all other stores.  You take all of them, add them up and then get a mean average and use that to set your pricing on.  Some meatcutters will generate more profit than others by 'merchandising' the products to their max, some won't from lack of experience or not knowing the benefit or some things just don't sell in some ares to just sheer 'stab 'm and slab 'm' attitudes and laziness.

    Well, time to put my money where my mouth is and make some sausages, lol!  That will be tomorrow, let the trim get good and chilled down overnight in the fridge... time to fix supper... what to have... hey.. how about PORK STEAK!  Yum!  Or, pork cubes into a stew...   Sausage tomorrow.. breakfast and Italian this time... next windfall I'll do some brats for the kids for cookouts!

    Hope this is understandable!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  3. jalan43

    jalan43 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thanks Pops! The great thing about pork butts is the fact that the only waste in the package is the juice in the bag.I gave the bone to the dog. I will be doing the same test when I make keilbasa and bacon in a couple of weeks. I want to see if I can get close to your breakdown.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It is an absolute crime what has happened to the price of pork butts in the last couple of years!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. pops6927

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

    I totally agree!
  6. Wow, I'm learning so much here on SMF. It honestly never occured to me make different cuts from a butt. Mine always become pulled pork. I'm really interested in that buck board bacon. I've got so much yet to learn! Is there a good source for something like a chart simular to your avitar that might help me figure this out?
  7. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    jalan43, FYI the last time I made BBB, I left a little meat on the bone from the Boston Butt and smoking them....I have only done this a couple times now....My wife has been using them for seasonings like putting it in some white beans.....MAN, I can't explain to you how good they were....My daughter doesn’t even like beans and ate two bowls of them!!!! They are fantastic!!!! Just an option to try!!!
  8. jalan43

    jalan43 Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Good idea Shoneyboy! I'm gonna do that next time! Thanks, Jeff
  9. pops6927

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

    Well, "I" processed the sausage today, lol... wife went shopping and son went drunking (at least he skeedaddled before I could get hold of him, lol!).  No problem, got the grinder together and ground the breakfast sausage twice through the coarse plate:


    90%+  lean!  Packaged up in 12 oz ziplock bags and into the freezer.

    Did up the other 8 lbs into Italian Sausage and cased them.  Got the stuffer all together, already had the casings soaked, loaded the meat and started turning the crank with my good hand and couldn't control the casing pressure with my left!   Dang, it'd must have been prior to the previous two strokes that I'd made cased sausages!  And, the wife wasn't there to help.  Hmmmm... well, knew it wasn't going to get done that way, so I turned the entire roll-around table 180° and cranked with my left hand and controlled the tube and casing with my right!  It was difficult and kept trying to go backwards w/my left, but finally got it figured out enough to slowly get it done!

    links finished:


    I got some large air pockets in them, but that's ok.  Never used to do that w/my hands good but at least they got finished, lol!

    Now, when at the end, where the stuffer gently hit bottom, I decided to show how to get every last bit into the casing:

    the end of the stuffing:


    unscrew the nut and remove the stuffing tube with the casing still attached:


    push the dowel rod into the stuffing horn, pushing all the meat out the tip into the casing:


    emptied tube!


     The only left was hardly enough to make a test patty and all the rest went into the casings!

    A lot of casing left?  No problem, put in a ziploc and pour a little salt on them (non-iodized) and shake, toss 'em in the fridge, good for the next year!

    Now, got to clean up!  Thanks for looking!
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  10. pops6927

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


  11. Pops, you've just been added to my hero list. You ARE the MAN!!!
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    great post pops........love the numbers to show how much one can save if they cut their own!
  13. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    so true............