19 Mar2007


by Marketman


What is kalitiran? When first asked the question many months ago, a little out of context, duhh… I thought it might be salitre or salt peter… I have to admit that my command of even the English names of cuts of meat is highly limited, so asking me the Filipino translations is not a good idea. Now I know it is a cut of beef. But the problem is, which cut is it? The internet is searched for basic information these days, but I have to say it often yields incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or simply uninformed data that needs to be cross-checked with some other sources to ensure a reasonable degree of accuracy… If you do a search on kalitiran, kalitiran is referred to as either beef chuck, brisket, possibly flank steak, etc. Actually, the best hint of what it really was came from Chef Chris who thought it was meat from around the bones of the legs of the cow… At any rate, I came across a package of frozen kalitiran a couple of weeks ago at Cash & Carry Supermarket for a very reasonable PHP200 for 2/3 of a kilo and it looked good so I bought it.

Back home, I whipped out my two favorite meat reference books, The Meat Buyer’s Guide (published by the North American Meat Processors Association), a clinical and kalitiran2visual guide to cuts from all types of legged animals that cost me more than a cow would in some countries, and The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. I was rapidly confounded…all I could figure out is that the kalitiran probably did not come from the upper two-thirds of the cow or what is commonly referred to as the Chuck, Rib, Loin and Round of the cow. I was now down to the lower sections. Finally, after much research, it simply dawned on me that I should call my favorite and brilliant butcher (who will remain unnamed as I don’t want a deluge of folks to discover him…heehee, selfish, I know) and ask him what kalitiran was and in an instant he answered, “shin-shank sir.” And that put an end to that mystery. The kalitiran is apparently the litid rich (tendons?) meat around the foreshanks and hindshanks of a cow. It is what surrounds the bone and is sliced and sold without the bones. It is tasty and great when cooked very slowly (and possibly when grilled over hot flames very quickly). Countries such as Australia and New Zealand don’t seem to consume much of their supply (a by-product of all the good cuts of beef they have) and instead export the kalitiran cut to Taiwan, Korea and other places that appreciate this fantastic cut of meat… like here. Recipe coming up…



  1. carma says:

    if i remember my mum right, i think litid is tendon. :)

    Mar 19, 2007 | 8:07 pm


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  3. tulip says:

    Ah, upon reading the headline first I kept on thinking and trying to remember what was the proper English name for it. I was thinking beef boneless shoulder but it doesn’t fit. hehehe.Then there… shin shanks,by the butcher.
    It has a nice marbling, it that Batangus beef(from Batangas)? Somehow even Batangus beef doesn’t look like that anymore or perhaps some just claim they get there beef from Batangas.

    Mar 19, 2007 | 8:13 pm

  4. sister says:

    It’s like osso-bucco minus the bone. Can be braised or boiled gently several hours. Good for soup and stews. Do not grill unless you like chewy barbecue.

    Mar 19, 2007 | 8:46 pm

  5. millet says:

    we love the kalitiran as nilaga sometimes, but it makes very good stews and braises. our favorite is a rich braise with a cream of mushroom soup and red wine finish. yummy! have never tried this flame-broiled, though. tell me how you did it, MM.

    Mar 19, 2007 | 8:46 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    carma, thanks, tendon it is, couldn’t remember and I have now fixed the post. tulip, not sure where this meat came from but I suspect it could have been imported from Australia in bulk, Cash & Carry seems to carry some of that…but the price was very reasonable. sister, yup it tasted great in a slow cooked stew…saw some suggestions for a long overnight bath in a marinade then grilled…hmmm, I wonder if they pound it first… millet, I didn’t grill it but it sounds now like that is a bad idea…

    Mar 19, 2007 | 8:50 pm

  7. Jason says:

    So if shin/shank is kalitiran, what is kenchi?

    Mar 19, 2007 | 10:24 pm

  8. Mandy says:

    my dad said it’s chuck steak? dunno. but what we do with this is braise it whole with red wine and tomatoes for about 2 hours or so. yummy. our maid also braised it with onion soup mix and water. sarap din. very easy to prepare.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 1:22 am

  9. carol says:

    My family loves kalitiran for its marbling and melts-in-your-mouth softness . For us, it’s mock lengua – used to replace ox tongue in various lengua recipes.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 7:27 am

  10. lee says:

    yah. tendons. yummy melt in your mouth cholesterol bombs.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 9:04 am

  11. jules winnfield says:

    guys, kalitiran is a muscle from from the cow’s shoulder. you know the spatula-like bones on your upper back that move when you raise your arms up and down? that’s the shoulder blade that houses the lovely kalitiran. the kalitiran or ‘oyster blade’ in english presumably named after the oyster-like colors of the cartiledge/fat marbling, is the meat on the outer part of the shoulderblade, closest to the skin. it is the more popular cut compared to its neighbor, the ‘bolar blade’, which is located in the inside of the shoulderblade.

    if there are times you encounter a chewy steak whose bone in the center looks like the number 7, or looks like an abstract letter T, that’s the shoulderblade cut crosswise, featuring both the bolar and oyster blades.

    for those who like lengua but hate the tongue, the kalitiran is a good alternative.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 9:37 am

  12. Marketman says:

    jules, WHATT?!? I totally have the wrong part of the cow? Are you sure? Oh no, how do I confirm this now??? The shoulder blade certainly sounds like a good cut to me…similar braising qualities at the forefront… my pieces certainly made me wonder how incredibly meaty a cows legs were…

    Mar 20, 2007 | 10:30 am

  13. tulip says:

    hmmm, we have a cattle farm Marketman. All I know is my dad calls the shin shanks from the foreshanks differently from the hindshanks. If I am not mistaken he calls the shin from the hindshank, bias. Kalitiran always comes from the foreshanks, that is what they call it at the farm.And if you’re familiar with kenchi, I am not quite sure if that is also kalitiran or a muscle connected to it. That is my family’s favorite beef cut for all stews/cocidos.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 10:42 am

  14. tulip says:

    As for the blade which is used for those steaks, I think that is a part of beef chuck (connected to the batok)locally.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 11:13 am

  15. jules winnfield says:

    ok let’s put things into perspective. the cows have shanks–> foreshanks and hindshanks. in humans, thats our arms and our shins (below the knees), respectively.

    the foreshanks are connected to the shoulderblade, so that’s equivalent to both our forearms and upper arms being connected to our shoulders. so tulip, you are right when you say the kalitiran is from the fore part, not necessarily the foreshank though. the kalitiran is connected to the spatula-like or fan-shaped bone (shoulder blade) in our upper back.

    the shin or kenchie in cows are located within their foreshanks, not on their shoulders. there is a cute tiny little shin/kenchie in the lower shank (forearms in humans), and a regular sized shin/kenchie in the upper shank (upper arms in humans). the shin is more accurately our bicep.

    but this is the thing about tagalog meat cut names. you may have different names for the same meat cut (twalya, goto for tripe) and same names for different meat cuts (lomo for tenderloin, striploin, ribeye). it also depends on what province you are in. if we include some visayan meat terms that have made its way into mainstream tagalog, then that’s another list altogether.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 12:33 pm

  16. tulip says:

    Ah, sorry jules. You’re absolutely right that kalitiran is part of the shoulder which I initially said in my first comment. I already asked my mother about the cuts, I did got confused. Sorry, my bad. And true that local names are quite few and general unlike that of US cuts or the more specific cuts of UK/Australia.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 2:10 pm

  17. Mandy says:

    kalitiran definitely is a prettier, less ickier looking replaecement for ox-tongue. i remember the post about eating lengua but not attempting to cook it because of the ick factor.

    Mar 20, 2007 | 10:13 pm

  18. Nina says:

    Kalitiran is called “gravy beef” in Australia (at least in Sydney where I live). I use it in mechado and in steak and mushroom pie. It’s so good after braising for a long time or pressure cooking for 1 hour. The cartilage (or tendon?) melts in the mouth like butter.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 12:30 pm


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