A meat cutter is also known as a butcher. A meat cutter prepares large pieces of meat and slices and cuts them into smaller and more manageable pieces for use by consumers. They may work for a large meat processing company, a butcher shop, or a grocery store.
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A meat butcher has several different duties, depending on the capacity that they work in. A butcher who works in a large meat processing plant is responsible for handling large animal carcasses. They carry out primal cuts, which means that they take the whole animal carcass and cut it down into manageable pieces to be sent to butcher shops and grocery stores. This job involves heavy lifting and is a rather messy job. Those who are squeamish will probably not enjoy the aspects of this job.
A meat butcher may also work in a butcher shop. The butcher shop handles all portions of meat and cuts them down to size using different cutting tools. They cut the portions down to steaks, chops, and other cuts of meat. They are often responsible for the grinding of meats for hamburger meat and sausages. Not only do they have cutting duties, but they also are responsible for serving customers and cutting meats according to their specifications. They weigh the meats and sell them to the customers as well.
A meat butcher also works in a grocery store environment. The meat butcher at a grocery store works with smaller portions of meat. They cut the meat portions into steaks, chops, and other cuts just like the butcher. At a grocery store, they use all types of equipment for cutting meat. They may use knives, cutting machines, slicers, and grinders. The cutter's role in the grocery store is much more customer service oriented. They are responsible for speaking with customers, taking care of their meat requests, weighing and pricing their purchases, and providing prompt and friendly customer service.
Most meat cutter jobs do not require any formal education. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training are very common in this career choice. When one is starting out as a meat cutter, one does more of the menial tasks such as meat grinding and cleanup. If they are allowed to work under a master butcher, they can learn the skills needed to succeed in this career. There are some butcher training programs where cutters can further their skills. Many people begin this type of career by working in the large meat processing plants first. Here, they learn the primal cuts and basics of butchering meat. As they become more skilled in meat cutting, they can advance to butcher shops and grocery stores.
It is important that they have the physical strength that it takes to lift large pieces of meat that are often very heavy. Without good physical strength, they will not be able to lift the carcasses and will not be able to handle the physical exertion that is required for the job.
A meat cutter also needs good coordination skills and some math skills that will be needed when they are weighing meat for production and customer service.
Once they begin training under a master butcher, it normally takes about two years before they become skilled enough to be considered a master cutter. Until this time, they will continue to apprentice under another butcher and learn all of the different types of cuts of meat. It is important that they learn all of the parts of the animal and the cuts so that the meat products are not wasted.
The workplace of a meat butcher is often in a cold environment. They have to work in cold conditions so that the meat is kept fresh throughout the butchering process. The environment is also a very humid environment that often has smells that some people find hard to handle. Those who have a weak stomach may find this type of work environment difficult to handle.
Cutters will either work in a factory setting, a butcher shop, or a grocery store environment. They will work around dangerous cutting machinery and tools that can cause injury and even death if they are careless. They will work with all types of cutting tools, including slicers, grinders, knives, cleavers, and cutting machines. They will also work with meat hooks and other hanging devices.
The salary and wages can vary depending on the environment that they are working in. Most meat processing plants pay by the hour. Cutters are paid on average around $10 in the US. Some beginner cutters will make less than $10 in a grocery store. After they have worked for at least two years under an apprenticeship, they can begin working under a salary scenario and can make from $25,000 to $30,000 per year in the US and even more if they are a master. Private butcher shops often pay the most out of the different employment options because they are a more specialized type of employment. Pay truly depends on the skills that have been acquired as an apprentice.