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So, You Think You Know Meat?

For this week's Dish column, rather than eat at another restaurant, I spent time in the company of people who will ultimately choose the meats served there.

Many meat industry professionals -- the experts who work at ranches, slaughterhouses, distributorships, groceries and chain restaurants -- get their start as collegiate meat judges. Team members travel around the country, sizing up steaks and assigning grades to carcasses.

One of the first lessons competitive judges learn is how to identify various cuts. How hard is it to identify a pork chop, you say? Texas A&M has thoughtfully provided the answer through a 40-question sample retail cut identification test posted on its website. Yes, any practiced carnivore would recognize No. 39 as tripe. But just what's that hunk of flesh labeled No. 23? Betcha even IBM's Watson would struggle to come up with "mock tender roast."

Give it a go here.

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