Everything from tip to tail!
Did you know that there are more than 60 possible beef cuts?
It’s no wonder that amateur and experienced chefs alike see so much opportunity when cooking with beef. Of course, that also comes with the challenge of knowing which beef cut you should use with which recipe to bring the best out of the product.
Once you know the basics, however, you realize it’s not as complicated as it seems on the surface. For example, there are actually just eight primal beef cuts, which are the main areas of the animal that you commonly encounter in packaging at the supermarket: loin, rib, round, flank, chuck, sirloin, brisket, and other.
Whether you’re barbecuing, braising, or roasting, here’s a quick guide to the beef cuts that make up each category so you can approach the kitchen (or grill) with confidence.
- Loin, short loin, strip loin cuts. Located below the backbone, these cuts are some of the most tender and popular. Loin cuts (like beef tenderloin or porterhouse steak) are best grilled or fried, though they can also be prepared under a broiler.
- Sirloin cuts. Found following the loin towards the back of the animal, these similarly lean cuts include filet mignon, tri-tips, and strip steak, among others.
- Rib cuts. Prime rib, ribeye cap, ribeye steak — there’s no mistaking where these cuts are found. While some are better for slow cooking and roasting due to the higher fat content, others are better fried and grilled, so do your research.
- Chuck cuts. These are some of the best cuts for pot roasts, and they include the blade, chuck eye steak, and country-style ribs. That said, there’s a chuck cut for every kind of cooking method.
- Brisket cuts. Located in the breast or lower chest of the animal, brisket cuts come in two kinds: flat or point cut. This cut should be roasted low and slow for a deliciously juicy finish.
- Round cuts. You’ll find round cuts at the rear leg of the cow. Because of how lean these cuts are, you’ll want to do some research before cooking. A good rule of thumb is to cook eye, bottom, and top round roasts at high heats, while bottom, rump, and eye roasts should be slow cooked or oven roasted.
- Plate and flank cuts. This section comprises a favourite cut of many chefs: short ribs. These are best slow cooked, whereas the flank and skirt steak (also found here) should be grilled or fried.
- Other cuts. There are so many other cuts and bits of beef available to home cooks. Think ground beef, shanks, stewing steak, soup bones, and much more. Seek out tongue or cheek for a truly adventurous cooking experience.