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Book including bone-to-meat info?

kleine mocha May 24, 2013 09:41 AM

I used to have a booklet that went into this--maybe published by the USDA?--but don't know where it is anymore. Obviously there are a lot of books about meat, but without actually buying them it's hard to figure out whether they have info on this topic. What I specifically would like is rules of thumb for how much meat you are getting when you buy, say, a chicken, or spareribs. Just to calculate what price-per-pound is a good deal. There *IS* a table I managed to dig up on the USDA website, but it is a bit dense and hard to figure out.

Can anyone recommend anything suitable? Thanks!

  1. greygarious May 25, 2013 08:51 AM

    There may be such a book or pamphlet but I can't imagine it's
    reliable other than in the vaguest sense, and it sounds like you want more detail. Two identical-weight packages of the same cut of bone-in meat can yield different amounts of meat depending on the boning of the individual animals from whose carcasses they were cut.

    If you food shop regularly, you must have a good idea of the price ranges in your area. When sales are offerred, look at the actual meat before buying. Some packages may have different proportions of fat, gristle, and/or bone than others.
    Fat/gristle that need to be trimmed off affect the net price per pound just as much as bone does.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious
      kleine mocha May 25, 2013 09:49 AM

      Of course it will vary; I'm just looking for rules of thumb. For instance, my sense is that pork ribs, which I love grilled with lots of spice (who doesn't?) are not much of a bargain, even at 3 bucks a pound, but short of buying and cooking them and then weighing the bones, I don't think it's something you can just "eyeball." Fat is less a problem, BTW, as I'm doing the low carb thing and a certain amount of it is okay. General averages for certain popular cuts would be good enough. I'm not so worried about chicken, as I'm not shy about cutting it up myself and the bones give you the extra value of stock. As I said, I know I used to have a book with guidelines.

    2. s
      seamunky May 24, 2013 12:03 PM

      Can you link the USDA table you found? There are experienced meat industry folk here. Maybe they can help interpret it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: seamunky
        kleine mocha May 24, 2013 12:04 PM

        Sure thing: here it is: http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/...

      2. juliejulez May 24, 2013 09:43 AM

        I would be interested in that too. The only thing I know off the top of my head, based on my own research, is chicken thighs. Each chicken thigh bone is about 1 ounce. The meat quantity varies depending on the size of the thighs but the bone is almost always right around an ounce.

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