Knowing how to cook is more than knowing techniques, it's also important to know all about the best ingredients for the dish you hope to prepare. Different cooking methods call for different cuts of meat, and the first step to making the right choice is simply understanding the physiology of the animal and which cuts come from which muscle.
After processing, animal proteins are divided into what are referred to as primal cuts. There are uniform standards for beef, veal, pork, and lamb primals. These large cuts are then further broken down into subprimals. Subprimals are generally trimmed and packed as food service, value added, or HRI (hotel, restaurant, and institution) cuts. There may be even more fabrication or butchering done to prepare steaks, chops, roasts, or ground meat. These cuts are referred to as portion control cuts.