How To Butcher A Beef Hindquarter (Tri Tip, Picanha & More!)

thank you for stopping by ballistic BBQ

today we're taking a little field trip

out to the heart and Trotter whole

animal butchery we're gonna learn where

cuts like picanha and tri-tip come from

let's get go


alright I'm here at the heart Trotter

whole animal butchery in San Diego

California with head butcher and

co-founder James Holt slag James how you


good morning doing great so why don't

you tell us a little about Heartland

Trotter yeah of course

so the heart Trotter is the first local

whole-animal butcher shop in San Diego

as you will see we we break down whole

animals nose to tail we process every

part and piece of the animal in-house we

have a full kitchen smoker

grinder vacuum Packer all that stuff so

we take whole carcasses and break it

down to everything from from baloney and

different kind of charcuterie to your

typical steaks and everything from there

so you're actually making your own

charcuterie correct yeah yeah so we have

here a this is a hind quarter of a steer

is the hind quarter oversteer this is

from ma raposo ranch up in Newman


it's 100% grass-fed and as you can see

it's got a little bit of age on it we've

been letting it hang for about about

three weeks now and which really just

develops the flavor tightens up the

muscles and gives you a better state so

worried are going to go ahead and start

breaking it down and things that I'm

really excited about is I want to see


tri-tip come out of here because I know

a lot of a lot of my viewers from other

parts of the world especially parts of

the country here they they have a hard

time finding a tri-tip so James is gonna

show us where it comes from of course

yeah and the tri-tips a little tricky

it's a it's a muscle right in the

basically the pelvic area of the animal

and is not really popular around around

the United States yeah because it's an

amazing cut and it's very popular here

in California me coming from Virginia

ever heard of it until I came out here

and it's it's amazing so right well I'm

gonna get out of your way

jerks you do what you do of course

thanks all right guys so what we do here

at the heart and Trotter is we break

everything down by hand so I'm gonna go

ahead and start breaking down this hind

quarter this is my trusty five-inch

boning knife we pretty much do 95% of

everything with this little guy and then

we'll go from there so the first thing

I'm going to do I'm going to start to

separate the the flap the flank from the

round and then I'll start breaking

everything down from there so we start

to separate this so I'm just really

looking for seams as you can see not

hitting any meat using gravity and

tension to help me out through the

process so I want to kind of cut that

away to give me a little bit of a little

bit of room to work first thing I'm

gonna take off is the flank steak which

is right here and so I'm just going to

go right around that and then cut off

some of this connective tissue just

holds everything together

then I'll start to pull it off

so starts to look like a flank steak

somewhat then from there there's a lot

of different flat meats thin carne asada

type meats that uh that we really start

just pulling off of the flank area so

along with some connective tissue start

breaking it down some of this stuff is

not usable so we'll use it in things

like broths and stocks just for

flavoring won't go ahead and cut off

some of this stuff clean it up go from

there and then you really just start

pulling finding the seams

and like I said this is a it's really

good like taco meat grilling meats or of

course you get throw it into like ground


all right this next piece is actually a

an amazing piece of meat that a lot of

people don't know about we call it the

bad vets it's nice and thick and similar

to the hanger steak as far as texture

and flavor and so what we want to do is

kind of cut down right along the

tenderloin just separate this a bit

and just like the other flatmate it'll

pull off once you get in you the scene

just cut around the outside of it pull

it off this is what they call a wrench

era No so this is a this is the sirloin

flap you'll see it as as either a bad

bet or like a faux hanger it's as you

can see it's nice and thick there's a

good amount of fat on it it's similar to

a skirt steak you could see how it uh

the protein fibers look similar to a

skirt steak and a hanger steak so nice

and tender a lot of really good flavor

like a high-end carne asada or just a

really good steak by itself quick seared

and you're good to go on that guy so

I've cleaned out most of the flat meat

now we're gonna get into the Tenderloin

which sits right here against the pelvic

bone and then the the spine itself so

first thing I'm gonna do is just clean

away some of this some of the extra

connective tissue

and age

all this stuff kind of pulls off

that's generally not edible good for dog

food and stuff like that so I'm gonna go

ahead and start to take the tenderloin

so I just want to go right up against

the spine so what I'm going to do is

basically about an inch 1/2 inch at a

time just go right around the spine

itself so I can start to pull this off

as you can see the knife with a flexible

knife you could just go right along the

contours of the bone and it'll curve

around it

and then it starts to pull away fairly



got it cut off of the spine itself now

we want to continue that along the the

pelvis bone right here so the H bone and

the one or the zero joint they're

connected so I'm just going to go

straight down along that bone to

disconnect those and you'll see as I

pull it open there's a bone right

underneath here that I'm gonna start

working around

and pulled away there's a little pocket

right up against the top sirloin right

there so just follow this up towards the

H bone right there and so goes to a

point and I'm just going to follow that

seam up to the point to pull this whole

thing off

and with whole-animal that's a lot of

just working around the the the joints

and the fat and the seams it's a lot of

pushing and pulling but anyway that's

the Tenderloin okay so from here what I

want to do is I'm gonna go ahead and

trim up some of the the flank right

there and then take the New York the

strip loin off and then that'll leave

the top sirloin and then we'll get to

the the tri-tip which is located right

here so I want to find the fat seem to

make sure not to dig into the tri-tip


and pull some this is the kidney fat out

so we could just see a little better


and start to take that off so from here

they always leave one rib bone the last

rib so I just need to use the sole to

get through that so with this you can

see there's a decent amount of meat in

there it's uh just flat meat we'll trim

it up use it for grind or or taco meat

or anything like that okay

next thing I want to do is separate the

strip loin and so what I'm looking for

is the zero joint which is right here

that's where the the spine and the tail

meat so it meets in kind of like a

u-shape of V shape and so I want to go

one joint up and that's where I want to

separate just get through the bone


he's mine scimitar

cut that off so there is a boon in New

York okay so from there what we want to

do is start to work on the tri-tip so

I'm gonna clean up some of this stuff so

we can get it out of here

you can see a little better and so I can

see a little better

as far as they tried to seem and so

there's a trick to this a lot of people

don't know about so so you can see as I

pull that away pull some of this stuff

away there's there's a couple fat scenes

here and it actually makes the shape of

a Z it goes back this way so the tri-tip

is actually this portion right here so

what I want to do is start to open up

the bottom of that Z and so just gently

start to cut up in that uh that

connective tissue

and once you start to be able to get

your finger on there you could start to

pull it away

and go so this is the tip of the tri-tip

right there so continue that all the way

around and separate it

and so the tri-tip is a tricky tricky

cut to get off the animal get some of

this fat out of the way just because it

tucks under the sirloin tip and it goes

right up against the the top sirloin so

with this one in particular we kind of

have to hang it off the table and then

almost work on your knees as you're

going through and staying on that on

that seam

so you can see I'm right along the

contour of the sirloin tip right there

and then what I'm looking for is the

continuation of this silver skin going

down and that's going to be the end of

the tri-tip where it hits the the top


so you're kind of just pulling trying to

find that seam which is right here and

then you start to pull it away

try to leave as much of the meat on

there as possible and you're using use

my hands to work around and just

separate some of this stuff as you can

see it's starting to come off comes to a

little point up there right underneath

the sternum a tip so I will break that

off and you have the tri-tip

so we can get rid of some of this fat

and to clean it up a little bit and

it'll look a little more normal

what people are used to

a lot of times you'll see the tri-tip

with the exterior fat cap removed I like

to keep it on just because it's it's

better through the cooking process so

just trim it up

hmmm take off some of this silver skin

and then I always like to leave whatever

good fat is on there so as far as that

and I just leave it on there but there

is your tri-tip just one more cut I'd

like to see is the pecan yeah you got it

can you do that for us of course yeah

it's a it's a great cut really popular

in South America if you ever been to a

Brazilian steakhouse that is the cut to

get and one of our favorites and we're

one of the only ones in town that can

actually give it to you so true

look this is the only place actually

that's how I discovered this is picanha

how I discovered heart the Trotter so

all right let's do it okay so what we're

going to do is separate the the top

sirloin from the round and first thing

we want to do is just get solved through

this the hip bone right there get some

of the fat off mid sole so generally I

want to be about an inch into or past

the the H bone right here you can see

the knuckle that's where the femur

starts going down that way but want to

be about right there go parallel with

the the tail bone itself this it's hit

or miss I mean if your quarter inch from

one side or the other you're gonna have

to cut twice that usually happens

sometimes you get lucky and you only

have to cut once but let's go ahead and

do it

right so I'm not lucky this time

we're enough to cut twice

all right so

there's the round section then here is

the top sirloin section and what we want

to do is using the bone scraper we just

want to clean away all of our sawdust

that we create it with the saw that

aside and so what we want to do is go

ahead and take the pelvis pelvic bone

out and along with the tailbone too so

just go right along contour all the way


really using the knife to know where you

are even if you can't see where you are

so the beauty of a knife that is


see it's starting to come apart

you want to go right down along the

tailbone start to pull this away

right along the bone

leave as much meat on there as possible

some of this stuff will get a trim

so that's the pelvis bone and part of

the tailbone so this is the the whole

top sirloin so what we want to do is

just clean up some of the fat on the

exterior on the bottom

and the picanha is on the top so we'll

take that off once we make a little a

little a couple little adjustments


it's with fat deposits

kind of just get out of there

from here

that's pretty much

how you would normally see it what we're

gonna do is take the picanha

which is right here off so it's the cap

it's fairly easy all you have to do is

find that seam and follow it

and just like all the other ones we want

to kind of pull away make that a little


and then just like the tri-tip picanha

is also triangular-shaped

so we've gotten through to the bottom

I'm just going to go right along that


so there's your top sirloin

there's your picanha and then to clean

this up it's pretty easy do is go right

underneath that connective tissue

pulls all fairly easily there's a big

piece of connective tissue right there

so you just want to get rid of that go

right underneath of it

and try to do these

all in one one stroke as much as


you don't want little Saul marks all

over everything so just cut down

like that

in this side up a little bit

and there you go nice amazing piece of

meat we get a lot of a lot of people

from South America and other countries

that are really excited that we have

this so we have a lot of Brazilians here

in San Diego yep we do every time they

come in they're blown away that we

actually know what that is

got to tell you man I was very impressed

this was actually it was pretty fun for

me to watch so I learned a lot and my

hat's off is that there's a lot of skill

right here on this cutting board so way

to go thank you very much yeah it's a

pleasure anyway thanks again man I

appreciate you taking your time to help

me out with this video and of course now

that's what we do we're here that's why

our butcher block is not behind closed

doors we do everything right in front of

everybody so we love doing it and that's

what we do the show to show exactly well

thanks again

of course Cheers