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May 31, 2010 06:49 AM

common names for kosher cuts of beef?

Sorry if this has been posted before, but I couldn't find anything...

Kosher butchers and non-kosher butchers appear often to use different names for the same cuts. Also, just based on the whole "we don't use the hind-quarters of the animal" rule, it's not clear which cuts along that border are kosher and which aren't.

So, I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction (or provide here) a run-down of common kosher cut names, what part of the animal they're from, and what (if-any) treif cut name it corresponds to. Moreover, sometimes it seems that the kosher cut w/ the same name as a treif cut is actually an entirely different cut!

For example, I know that "flanken" is short ribs, but what the heck is a kolichel? I grew up in a house where "london broil" was the name for "flank steak", and I know that a tenderloin is treif, but what's up with "kosher tenderloin"? where does that even come from? We didn't eat a lot of beef growing up. Usually just london broil or brisket on yantif, so I'm not all that familiar with this stuff...

Since living on my own, I've always had tiny kitchens, so I've just kept milchigs, but now I think I'm going to expand to meats. Unfortunately, I have no idea what any cut is called, other than what something might say in a recipe, and then, unless it's a kosher cook book, I have no idea if the cut is kosher or not, or if it's even a name that a kosher butcher will recognize. and chas v'shalom I should walk into a kosher butcher and blithely ask for a treif cut what my cook book recommends!

I wish there were some sort of kosher meat buying guide...

this is seriously frustrating. it's like the kosher butchers don't *want* you to buy their stuff and try to confuse you on purpose!

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  1. I actually came across this problem while reading Heat by Bill Buford. In part of the book, the author goes to Italy to apprentice in a butcher shop. He returns to the US and tries to find a butcher prepared to sell him a certain cut of beef, only to find that no one knows what he's talking about.

    Every culture has their own system of primal cuts and their own names for individual cuts of beef. For example, Wikipedia has a page illustrating the differences between American and English primal cuts:

    Another illustration is the confusion here by foodies and professional chefs over what, exactly, a "deckel" might be:

    In any case, the USDA is your friend here. Standard IMPS/NAMP is a naming convention used in the United States to describe all cuts of beef (and lamb and chazer).

    Here is a direct link to a (very large) PDF from the USDA with everything you could ever possibly want to know about beef cuts:

    You'll find deckel here as IMPS/NAMP 109B, Beef Rib, Blade Meat:

    In other words, no one is actively trying to cheat you. It's just two cultures cutting up their meat in different ways. if you have a relationship with your butcher, ask about the IMPS/NAMP code.

    I'm reasonably certain that there's a way to determine the IMPS/NAMP code from the USDA mandated barcode on every package of fleish sold but a casual Googling turned up nothing. Perhaps someone else will have better luck?

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Cameraman

      The catch-as-catch-can screwing I do not think is limited to Yiddishe owned businesses - and I found that slightly offensive -

      But on to the original posters question - it is my experience that the even the old style butchers are using the more common names for the cuts of meat and if they are not they are very willining to assist in finding the approriate cut to match up to a treif recipe -

      1. re: weinstein5

        You know what? You're right, it was offensive, and I apologize. I'm editing it out.

    2. Along these same lines, I have come across some strange cuts of meat lately in a kosher supermarket.

      Fillet Mignon for 23.99/lb
      Surprise Steak for 26.99/lb
      Cresenet Steak for 29.99/lb

      Anyone know what any of those really are?

      6 Replies
      1. re: ysteichman

        I don't think I would ever buy a piece of meat labeled "suprise" anything.

        1. re: ysteichman

          I have NEVER heard of surprise or cresenet, this seems like you need to go the manager of that store and ask.

          1. re: vallevin

            but there is a cut called crescent, ive seen it a regular butchers, im guessing thats what was meant, if im remembering correctly, i thknk it was another name for the rib-eye, in which case 30 is insane

            1. re: shoelace

              Surprise (according to LeMarais in Manhattan) is the top portion of the prime rib.

          2. re: ysteichman

            Any chance you found these at Gourmet Glatt in Cedarhurst?

            If so, myprincess is correct on the Surprise Steak. It is also called ribeye cap steak and comes off of the edge of the ribeye roast. It is actually one of the most flavorful cuts I have ever had and my favorite. Although it is expensive.

            If you ever had a ribeye, the Surprise Steak is a full piece of the meat around the edge of the ribeye.


            The fillet mignon is fake though. The only place to get real kosher tenderloin is Bisra Glatt in Hackensack, NJ. It $40.00 a pound when they have it available.

          3. our supermarket kosher section has been featuring "beef tender steaks". My friend Lorraine bought them and put them on the grill and raved. We have been scooping them up every chance we get. She asked the kosher in house butcher "Were the beef tenders cut from a roast", He answered her "theyre cut from kolichel". we are Sephardic jews. Don't know what a kolichel is. any clues?

            2 Replies
            1. re: gracemarcus

              Boneless beef shin (meat from the front legs).

              1. re: gracemarcus

                A kolichel is a solid piece of meat that is inside the neck of beef. Its about 3" by 6" long and tapers down at the end. Also known by the name mock tenders. They can be made as a roast or into steaks. Some Kosher shops sell them as filet mignon. This is misleading because true filet mignon is not a Kosher cut. The tenderloin which the filet mignon is cut from sits on the shell of beef.