New Order Form Cut Sheet

As a background task while finishing constructing the butcher shop and getting our license I’ve been working on revising our order form and cut sheet. The goal is to make very clear what are the standard cuts for a pig while also presenting some of the options that are available with each primal as well as the expected yields and costs.

New Whole & Half Pig Order Form and Cut Sheet
Click for bigger version.

This is similar to the cut sheets we submit to the butcher with our pigs each week but this version has more user friendly explanations such as notes in green, standard cuts in grey, typical yields in brown and how the pricing works in the blue text area.

Walter's Pork Cut Chart of Archimedes Boar
Sugar Mountain Farm Pork Cut Chart
Click image for big version

This pork cut chart is from the article What Good is a Pig: Cuts of Pork, Nose-to-Tail which is an additional related resource we print on the back of paper copies of the order form along with a link to the article. Another related article is Of Sausage and Law.

Feedback! I would be interested in feedback on the new form so that I can further improve it – please leave ideas in comments.

If you have a small farm and want to use this cut sheet for ideas, feel free to borrow. The Pork Cut Sheet Below is also available for others to use unmodified and please provide a link back with credit to

Ordering: We are currently scheduling whole pig and half pig orders in early December and onward. If you would like to order, email me with any questions and send in the order form with a deposit. Additional information can be found on the Literature Page and the Products-Whole & Half Pigs Page.

Outdoors: 65°F/39°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 68°F/57°F

Daily Spark: “In my opinion, if 100% of the people were farming it would be ideal. If each person were given one quarter-acre, that is 1 1/4 acres to a family of five, that would be more than enough land to support the family for the whole year. If natural farming were practiced, a farmer would also have plenty of time for leisure and social activities within the village community. I think this is the most direct path toward making this country a happy, pleasant land.” ―Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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20 Responses to New Order Form Cut Sheet

  1. Central PA Chris says:

    I think the new cut sheet is great. I’d add a few things. For chops a thickness blank to be filled in. For Hams, Picnic and Boston maybe add a cube check box, I find we use enough cubes that cubing one of the big cuts is a good idea, I generally get the hams cubed.

  2. eggyknap says:

    My first thought was that it’s mystifying. But my second thought was, “Well, there’s a very friendly invitation at the top to contact them for further instruction,” and I’ve cut up enough animals informally in my time to have a good idea just how complicated it can all be. If my brain, inexperienced in such things as formalizing the chaos of butchering a large animal, comes up with an exciting suggestion, I’ll make sure to tell you first!

  3. Dan Moore says:


    This is hands down the best cut sheet I’ve seen. The use of colors really helps understand what is going on. I am perennially confused when it’s time to do a cut sheet. I always need the processor to help me walk through it because the sheet is so confusing. This is really troublesome when the front office person is new and I know more than they do. I wish they’d do something like you’ve done.

    Since I’m so easy to confuse, I’ll share the only part of your sheet that confused me. Under Pork Chops, “chine off leaves ribs on” is a bit confusing to me. Are you saying chine off on the pork chop leaves the chine on the ribs? Whenever we’ve processed hogs on farm we always just chopped off the chine from the pork chop after breaking everything down so I’m confused what you are saying here.

    Since I’m lost in the ribs, I’m curious about country style ribs. This isn’t an option at our processor that I’m aware of. What are they?

    One cut we utilize here (and isn’t on your cut sheet) is Osso Bucco for shanks. By cutting the shanks into little “Osso Bucco” steaks we sell them as great meat for crock pot meals. Just sear the meat, toss in the crock pot whole, and add whatever other goodies make up the recipe. When it’s done the meat falls apart (the grain runs long ways, meaning it shreds easily when cut like this) and all the connective tissue makes a great broth, and the dog gets a nice sized bone. Shanks are hard for us to move otherwise and scare our customers. They don’t know how to use them. Sliced they are less scary and every mom can use a good, cheap, crock pot cut.

    Our processor requires 25 pounds per sausage type, minimum. It appears you don’t have a minimum for a sausage type. Do you want to do 5 pound runs? Is that efficient?

    Still loving your blog. I learn something all the time that helps us on our farm. We just moved 500 yards (that’s a lot!) of wood chips into our pig paddocks getting ready for winter. Got the idea from you last winter and we’ve been working on getting chips all year. I’d say we’ve accumulated about 700 yards of chips so far this year, all for free, by just knowing to ask. The pigs absolutely love the wood chips. Even though it’s only down in the 60s at night, they are already burrowing into the chips and sleeping. They are also much cleaner now with a warm and snuggly place to sleep.

    • Good idea on the Osso Bucco. That is what we call medallions. I’ll add that as an option. Thanks!

      The Country Style Ribs come off the back at the top of the loin or the bottom of the Boston Butt. They can be done either in a bone-in style or a boneless style. They’re delicious as they’re well marbled and where the muscle groups are coming together.

  4. Some feedback from elsewhere:

    Thickness of steaks and ribs

    Back Bacon a.k.a. Canadian Bacon – examples of other things one might ask for such as frenched rib roast

    Clarification of chine-off ribs-on e.g., Chine is back bone, chine off leaves ribs on chops.

    List sausage spices on back of page.

    Tenderloin: “Always Pull If Bone-Out” should have the word “Chops” added to clarify what it means.

    How much shrink is there from smoking.

    Prices are too low especially on sausage and smoking.

    2015-09-23 13:17 Cut sheet Updated with revisions.

  5. Sue K says:

    If possible, make it web based and interactive, so if a person chooses (for example) 2 loin roasts, the chop count decreases by (x). Or if they want a standing rib roast, (x,y) is eliminated/reduced. Or if they want one tenderloin from a whole pig order, what that does to the chops…etc!

    • I’ve thought of this using javascript, HTML, PHP and tying it in with a WordPress package but that is a much bigger project. About 80% of our customers have standing orders for their weekly deliveries and never use this form so the volume doesn’t currently justify taking it to that level. Maybe in the future. That would be sweet.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        You could also make it into a downloadable excel spreadsheet with remote calculation.

        Customer downloads form. Chooses what they want. The form does not allow improper filling. When they are satisfied, they click submit. The order is processed by your server. You send a calculated price back. Customer accepts or changes order.

        I suspect that some of your institutional buyers would like this, especially if they could export the excel data to their inventory system. It’s also auto-validating, and auto-confirming.

        • That’s about the same effort as doing the Javascript and friends online version. It would be a step in that direction. However, the need is not that great, not enough to justify it for our small operation, not at this time. Our institutional buyers don’t use this sheet and they make up about 80% of our sales. Roaster pigs are about 10%. It’s really just individual customers buying for their family that are using this and that’s only one or two a week. The institutional buyers, such as stores and restaurants, have standing orders that stay pretty much the same from week to week and they rarely buy whole pigs. Those who do buy the whole pig so they can cut it themselves in which case again they don’t use this form.

          Since the final cost is based on actual weights of product including any sausage or smoking added processing there is no way to know exactly what those will be at the time of ordering. This gives just an approximation (see the blue area.) That’s why those things are noted as being approximate (~) on the cut sheet. Each pig is different rather than the cookie cutter model of confinement – this order form is for whole or half carcass buying with cutting.

          Even with retail cuts buying someone might order 40 pork chops and the weight will be perhaps somewhere between 18 and 22 lbs. There again the price is per pound and the final bill is based on what they’re actually getting. Even super markets operated on that basis at the meat counter.

  6. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    An editorial suggestion: when you are doing a compound adjective (ribs-on) use a hyphen to link the compound word. Particularly when part of the compound adjective can be mistaken for a straying noun.

    That form shows a lot of thought, and it means that when I butcher a pig again . . . I will feel like a complete and total duffer. Congratulations!! Do you sell that cut chart as a poster?

    Sue K’s interactive idea might be good when you regularize cross-continental shipping. An extended home-school project? If you are supplying a chef in, say, San Francisco who is doing ordering during late hours, something like an Excel sheet that adjusts to selections might save them from expensive mistakes. Photos showing cuts inset? Not like you have a bunch else to do, of course.

    • Thanks for the editorial detail. Those hyphens often confound me as to when to use them.

      We do have the pork cut charts available as big posters which you can see on the Poster Page.

      Several people have suggested various forms of interactive charts. Something for my to-do list.

  7. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, it seems as if Kielbasa has something in it that sausage doesn’t. You might want to be clearer about that. Does Kielbasa have nitrates, nitrites, or MSG, or all three? Kielbasa may need it’s own line for clarity.

  8. Sarah Poyser says:

    Hi Walter,
    I’m just after your guidance about what to expect from the meat of a 2 year old p3 sow. She is a pure large white, free range and has a horrible time farrowing. I want to sell her meat but haven’t experienced an older sow before. How would you describe the meat to someone you want to sell to, who would you sell this type of meat to please.
    Any info is welcome

    • If she’s kept on pasture with a high pasture component in her diet I would expect her to be delicious. The meat should be well flavored and well marbled. At two years old she’s not very old. We have chef’s who reserve months ahead to get the older pigs for charcuterie. My favorite cut of pork is the Boston Butt off of older sows. See here.

  9. Rox says:

    My feedback would be breakfast sausage.
    They do not have to be links they can be patties, here is a simple mold you can use to start link
    Plain old cooking parchment paper to separate would be easy. link
    Anything that molds hamburger patties would work I would think.
    I LOVE Breakfast sausage with maple syrup in it. You just say breakfast sausage in one pound bags but I would want it in patties or links, patties would be my first choice. Probably kind of thin patties so I could take them from the freezer and fry them up without defrosting, you would have to experiment on the thickness.

    I’m drooling reading this topic, LOL!
    Do not underestimate the power of the internet, I think you are going to be surprised. If you can figure out shipping, get the product to the customer at a not exorbitant shipping price I think you will be amazed at the power of the internet. The last link in your supply chain is shipping.

  10. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, one thing I am curious about. Why do you put MSG in the kielbasa? I’ve poked around online and found a few places that sell kielbasa made without MSG, so it doesn’t appear to be required. My understanding is that quite a few people are scared of it.

    Even though MSG doesn’t give me headaches or other detectible symptoms, if I have a choice between something with MSG, and something without, I choose the MSG-free product. The Mayo Clinic and the USDA don’t link it to anything specific with hard data, but they are concerned enough about it to require labeling MSG products.

    • We don’t put MSG in the kielbasa. That formulation is the only recipe the butcher we worked with for years will do so that’s just the way that’s been in the past. I actually have my own kielbasa recipe which I made up at the same time that I developed our hot dog recipe. I do not use MSG, nitrates, nitrites, etc in either. But to make those I have to do very large batches and currently the demand for hot dogs far outstrips kielbasa so the hot dogs get priority in that size batch. Thus the only kielbasa is done by from Adams in the small batches and that is where the MSG comes in.

      Once we start making kielbasa here in our own butcher shop I will once again remove the MSG even from small batches as it isn’t necessary. MSG acts similar to salt and is derived from plants. Marketing-wise it is a negative because people are fearful about it so I would rather just not use it.

      The Mayo Clinic doesn’t set labeling in any way shape or form. It is the FSIS USDA that determines labeling. They do it for all ingredients, not specifically MSG. It is not because they have a concern about MSG. It simply that all ingredients are required to be listed on multi-ingredient products.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        I figured the MSG might be there because that’s just how your kielbasa maker does it.

        My sentence about the Mayo Clinic and the USDA was poorly worded, thank you for catching me on that, it came off the keyboard the wrong way.

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