Butcher’s Yield Test
A butcher’s yield test is a useful tool for evaluating the quality and yield of meat, fish, and poultry. If you want to find the true cost of a steak you are portioning from a sub primal cut, the as-purchased (AP) price you pay your supplier doesn’t always tell the whole story. So, a butcher’s yield can help you to determine the true cost, known as the edible portion (EP), and make the best decision when comparing various products from different vendors.
Say I am cutting filet mignons from beef tenderloin, I have a couple of options between how the tenderloin is trimmed and the size range. The tenderloin might have the cover fat peeled of but include the side muscle, known as PSMO (or peeled, side muscle on). It might be trimmed and the side muscle removed which will come at at a higher cost per unit. The tenderloins may also come in a variety of weight ranges 6-8 or 8-10 lb. for example.
By doing a cutting yield and comparing the EP costs, you can get a better understanding of the true cost, which is helpful when setting menu prices. A butcher’s yield test is also a useful training tool for your staff. If you know how much typical yield you should be getting on steaks or fish and you’re falling short of that average, maybe it’s the meat cutter that needs further training. It may also lead you to decisions like purchasing portion cut steaks or fish too, especially if you aren’t using the trim or bones in other preparations.
Here’s a sample butcher’s yield test that is a useful exercise on how to fabricate and determine EP costs for in-house fabrication. Each line is numbered and includes a formula with references to a specific numbered line every step of the way. It’s important to convert all measurements to ounces (or grams). I’ve simplified it for this example too; some operations will separate usable and unusable trim or bones and place a value on the usable items. Excess trim from steaks could be used as stew or ground into hamburger meat, or fish bones could be used for stock preparation. You can put a value on the usable trim and subtract that from you EP cost, but I don’t mainly, mainly because I’m interested in the primary cost like steaks, fish fillets, and not secondary ones like bones and trim.