A meat cutter is typically employed in high-volume restaurants, supermarkets, butchery shops, and meat purveyors. They work with a variety of unprocessed meat products to separate the carcasses and produce usable varieties and cuts of meat. These cuts are then used by restaurants for food preparation, sold by supermarkets or butchers to consumers, or shipped in bulk from purveyors to these facilities.
Meat cutters need to be familiar with a variety of meat and animal products to perform their job well; they work most commonly with sides of beef, poultry, seafood, and pork. Depending on the situation, the meat cutter may have to work with game and more exotic species as well. The different cuts of meat rendered must also conform to standards of quality as necessitated by the restaurant or supermarket.
A key skill that a meat cutter needs is proficiency with knives in a culinary setting. Depending on the cut of meat, different knives and other equipment are used that require proficiency on the part of the cutter. Meat cutters normally need a high school or equivalent. Some vocational schools also offer some secondary education training in this field; however, most meat cutters use on-the-job training and experience.
The hours a meat cutter works vary by the employer. In restaurants, the cutter may work early mornings through afternoons. For supermarkets and purveyors, early morning and evening hours are the norm. Large purveyors may have meat cutters working around the clock to fill demand for commercial customers. In some situations - particularly with supermarkets, butcher shops, and purveyors - the meat cutter may be required to join a union of cutters to obtain employment. While there are benefits to being in the union, the cutter should expect some initial wage garnishment for union dues as well.
Meat Cutter 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.