Meat cuts for american dishes


I opened this topic because in the USA you have a lot of BBQ dishes that are mouthwatering but some of us (like me) that live in other parts of the world (I’m in EU) where this dishes aren’t common and they are served only in the american bbq restaurants, don’t know which cut of the animal we have to buy to make the selected dish. I would like that if it’s not a problem for you, to share with us the pictures of the whole animals (cut diagrams) with marked the parts of the animal that are the best for making a selected dish.

I would like to know the best cuts for making:

  • pulled pork
  • pulled beef
  • pulled chicken
  • pork belly
  • brisket
  • corned beef
  • beef roast

Pulled pork

Last sunday I made pulled pork for the first time in my life… As now I live in Spain I will show you in the spanish diagram what did I order to make my pulled pork. Can anyone comment if did I order the right cut or should I ask for something else?

I bought “aguja”, actually this is the pork neck…

And here’s the result:

Yup. You got the right piece there. I’m pretty sure that’s what our American friends call the Butt, though it also comes down lower into the shoulder area too. That and the shoulder seem to be the preference for BBQ.

Here’s a basic cut down map for American style pork:

It’s really quite surprising how things differ around the world. Here in Australia we traditionally use the English style which looks like this:

I know, more information than what you were after but I always find the differences interesting.

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I’ll start this off, but i’ve got plans for the next week so i won’t be able to go into a lot of detail on everything you listed. Other Community members please help out.

As in the EU, the USA has numerous significantly different culinary regions and it’s the same with BBQ. You will have to try a few recipes to discover what you best enjoy as there is rarely a common standard. I feel like saying, - There’s no bad BBQ. And that’s almost correct. I’d add, - . . . except in American BBQ restaurants. Chain restaurants in particular frequently take shortcuts and mix regional techniques and flavours resulting in culinary junk.

Also, a lot of people confuse grilling with BBQ. They are nowhere near the same cooking techniques.

You asked:
Pulled Pork: - see Ember’s US chart. You picked the correct Spanish cut.

The butt is the most often cut used, it’s up to 8 pounds (3.5 kg.), and sometimes the whole shoulder is used, about 17 pounds (8 kg ), but i would avoid it. The shoulder is just too big for home use and takes too long to cook well.

I select pork butts by examining the muscle end, opposite the bone end. The muscle should feel firm and have ample fat marbling. That’s what makes for a great butt for slicing or pulling.

Pulled Beef, - never done it, never needed to, when Pulled Pork is so delicious.

Pulled chicken; - just whack-up a whole boned cooked chicken.

Pork Belly; use a pork belly, either bone-in or boneless.

Brisket; - Beef Brisket, probably the most difficult cut of beef to cook really well. A whole one weighs about 8 kg. It consists of two pieces, the Point and the Flat separated by a layer of fat. Many newcomers to BBQ start with brisket and are disappointed by their results wasting a lot of money. If you are going to BBQ one, start small.

The best way to learn is to find a Texan and cook one with her/him. There’s a lot of tricks to it.

I thought this was a Sous Vide Community.

Corned Beef, usually cuts off the Brisket, either the whole Point or Flat or parts of them. Corning is salt curing. Spice it up and call it Pastrami.

Sometimes Corned Beef is made using the Shoulder Clod and the Eye of the Round.

Beef Roast, not a usual BBQ item that i am aware of, but i will do a smoked and slow-roasted rib eye . More often done in South America. You can BBQ just about any cut of meat once you have mastered the most common techniques.

I am surprised, and relieved, because you didn’t have on your list the most frequently cooked BBQ menu item in America, Pork Ribs.
Thank you, because i’d probably have to take off my shoes to correctly enumerate all the various rib cuts and preparation techniques.

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ohh no, no… I’m a curious person so I really appreciate that you wrote some more information I didn’t know :slight_smile:

And it is… but some of us doesn’t have a smoker, a grill, a BBQ, whatever runs on fire and smoke, so why shouldn’t we cook this dishes with our sous vide to have an alternative? As I live in an apartments in the downtown of a city I can’t afford to smoke my meats or to grill them, so instead I sous vide them, cold smoke with a smoking gun and finish them in the oven or in a CI pan, and I’m happy with the results :wink:

I really appreciate you described all the dishes :slight_smile:

Hahaha ribs weren’t on the list as these are easy to find here in Spain and as you can see on the pic I already did them and they were perfect. :slight_smile:

Well now Mejak, you certainly are a very creative cook. You are correct, SV cooking is similar to other low and slow techniques and your smoke gun adds just as much flavour as you like. Nicely done.

A fundamental stage in BBQing large menu items is wrapping them in foil after smoking and the preliminary cooking and finishing in a low temperature oven to tenderize the meat while keeping it moist.

You can also successfully entirely roast meat at a low temperature in your oven and finishing with a pan-sear or a shot in a very hot oven.

I meant to compliment you on your dry ribs, they look just great.

I know you don’t often have turkey, but it’s worth trying sometime as something extra special if you come across it. Sometimes you can find it where the Ex-pats shop. The legs are particularly delicious when BBQd.

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Hi Mejakm,

I did a little looking around and I think I’ve found a couple links that might help with what you asked for in regards to beef and pork. These charts include pics of the cuts. Hope they help!

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Thanks :slight_smile: food is my passion and I try to cook “traditional way” cooked dishes with alternatives. :slight_smile: I’m also on a keto diet so you can just image what “problems” do I have to solve when making certain dishes, specially when baking cakes and other desserts :slight_smile:

Wooou, thanks a lot! I’m sure it won’t help just me, there’s a lot of people that will find it useful :slight_smile: