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Breaking down the shoulder clod

Jarrod, Tom and Jeff were recently invited to the banquet kitchen of the Northern Quest Casino where they held a beef training class on how to break down a shoulder clod and the many different cuts of steaks and roasts derived from the shoulder clod.

So what the heck is a beef shoulder clod?

It is part of the chuck on a side of beef. What or where is the chuck you ask? The chuck is what is known as a primal cut, and is located on both the front and left sides of the cow just below and behind the neck. The clod is one of two sub-primals in the chuck, and is located next to, and below the chuck roll, but above the brisket. The clod is typically used for creating roasts and hamburger, but it holds so much more value.

The clod holds the second most tender cut of meat on the cow, the beef shoulder top blade, which can be cut down into flat iron steaks. It can also be cut down into ranch steaks, stew meat, and kebab meat. If you are inclined, you can also cut London Broils from the clod heart, which is the center muscle group from the shoulder clod.


First things first, your knife has to be extremely sharp, a dull knife is a dangerous knife!!

Start by removing the top blade, and then separate the shoulder center into two pieces, saving half to smoke, and cut the other into ranch steaks. Cut the petite center, which is a muscle that runs along the top center of the clod, into cubes for use later in a stew, or for skewers. You can also cut a few pounds of trimmings and smaller cuts into cubes to be ground into ground beef. We ended up with 6 flat iron steaks, 8 ranch steaks, stew meat, ground beef, and a roast to smoke.

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Would you like a hands-on tutorial? Angus Brands offers special programs just like this. To learn more, contact us at 509-482-7033