The Seven Basic Retail Cuts of Meat

Meat processors take fabrication step by step. It starts with a side of meat, which is a half. The next processing is quarters followed by the primal cuts. The primal cuts are cut into subprimals and then retail cuts. You may see whole subprimals at a retail store that you can further break down at home, but rarely the actual primal cuts.

Here are a couple of charts that detail the basic retail cuts and the bone groups. The picture of the seven basic retail cuts of meat shows a side of beef, but you can substitute lamb or veal here. Pork is slightly different on the bottom, but essentially the same.

seven basic retail cuts of meat

bones identify seven groups of retail cuts

Images courtesy National Live Stock and Meat Board.


Renee’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. Almost. Really, it’s a tough call here. When she’s not tasting BBQ and dipping in the sauce, Renee can be found at

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