Jane McGuire

How to understand the butcher shop lingo

How to understand the butcher shop lingo

First published date April 30 2015 Amended date February 03 2016

For most of us, going to the butchers is not part of our weekly routine, with meat readily available and pre-packed in supermarkets. Yet if you are looking for a butchery course, or want to learn more about where your food comes from, it might be a good idea to learn the lingo. Could you tell your aged from your Angus beef? Do you know the difference between a blade steak and a brisket? Have a read of this and learn how to understand some of the butcher shop lingo.



Kind of self explanatory, aging or aged meat has been hung in a refrigerator for a specified period of time. This helps optimise flavour and tenderness.

Image via lafrieda.com


Brown meat 

Not a phrase to be taken literally, brown meat refers to the wings, legs or thighs of poultry such as chickens and turkeys.

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A chop is a cut of meat containing a bone, taken by slicing across the loin of an animal.

Image via lobbsfarmshop.com


Dry hanging 

Part of the aging process, the length of time depends on the animal. This will normally be around 28 days for beef, 7 days for lamb and 14 for venison.

Image via wikipedia.org



If a butcher asks for the lights, nine times out of ten he won’t be talking about those on the ceiling. In butcher’s lingo lights are the lungs, normally when talking about a lamb, sheep or pig.

Image via gettyimages.com


Marbled meat

When it comes to meat, the word marbling refers to white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of meat. In general, the more marbling it contains, the better the cut of meat.

Image via gettyimages.com



You’ve probably heard of this one. Tripe is the stomach of sheep and cattle. A pretty old school dish – if you can stomach it.

Image via guardian.com



Now you’ve learnt the lingo, get ready to dig out your apron and pick up the techniques with a butchery course. With plenty of full time and evening options available, we’re sure we have something to suit every butcher in the making. 

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Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.