Meat cutters in retail are tasked with breaking down large meat carcasses of beef, pork, poultry, and fish to create ready-to-use cuts of meat for purchase. As retail workers, they are employed primarily in supermarkets and dedicated butcher shops which have retail sales fronts. They typically maintain stock of popular meat cuts for purchase in cooled displays while also executing made-to-order cuts for customers, such as using slicers or grinding beef or turkey.
Meat cutters are provided with large sections of meat to break down into smaller, more useful cuts. Each sector of a flank or side of meat yields a different product, and they must be well-versed in properly executing these cuts. The goal is to create attractive, user-ready cuts of meat while also minimizing waste in order to yield maximum profitability.
Meat cutters must be adept with a variety of meats and cutting tools. For larger-sized products, such as a side of beef, pork, or venison, the cutter may use heavier tools due to the structure and weight of the tissue. When cutting poultry or fish, they may use smaller knives and work in a more delicate fashion.
Most in this position have some kind of post-secondary vocational training and experience as an assistant or apprentice to a fully-qualified cutter. This position requires some heavy lifting and a certain degree of manual dexterity to safely and handle the cutting tools and knives used. Most meat cutters work in retail and butcher shop environments from early in the morning through the evening.
Meat Cutter, Retail Tasks
Prepare meat for weighing and packaging.
Cut and process a variety of meat products.
Clean the meat up by cutting the fat and unwanted parts.
Keep an clean work area.