The Basics of Beef Cuts
Our beef cuts chart shows how beef is divided into big chunks called primal cuts. These primal beef cuts, also known as “primals,” are then further divided into “food-service cuts.” These are then separated into individual steaks, roasts, and other retail cuts by slicing and chopping.
Literally, a side of beef is the side of the beef carcass that has been split down the middle by the backbone. Then, between the 12th and 13th ribs, each side is cut in half. The forequarter (the cow’s front) and the hindquarter (the cow’s back) are these parts.
The beef cuts that are the furthest from the horn and hoof are the most tender, such as the rib and tenderloin. Because they are used the most, the shoulder and leg muscles are the toughest on the animal.
Forequarter Cuts: Beef Chuck
Beef chuck comes from the forequarter. Beef chuck, which is made up of pieces of the neck, shoulder, and upper arm, yields tough but flavorful cuts of meat.
This primal cut has a good deal of connective tissue. Because braised dishes like beef stew and pot roast both soften tough cuts, chuck is a good choice for those dishes. Beef chuck is great for making ground beef that results in juicy burgers and ground beef stew because of its fat content.
Beef chuck is the source of the traditional 7-bone roast, as well as the increasingly popular flat iron steak and Denver steak.
In traditional butchering, the fifth and sixth ribs are used to separate the beef chuck from the rib primal. This indicates that it also includes a few inches of the longissimus dorsi muscle, the same tender muscle that is used to make rib-eye steaks.
Forequarter Cuts: Beef Rib
The traditional standing rib roast, also known as prime rib, is made from the top portion of the center section of rib, specifically the sixth through the twelfth ribs. It is also the source of the mouthwatering ribeye steak and the traditional French entrecôte.
Steaks and roasts from the beef rib primal can be cooked using a variety of dry-heat methods while still remaining tender because they are already tender.
It is nearly impossible to discuss adjacent cuts without mentioning a primal beef cut. The beef rib primal in this instance is directly above the beef plate. Exactly where its divided is somewhat arbitrary. However, whether we attribute the lower portions of those ribs to the rib primal or the plate primal, that is where beef short ribs come from.
Forequarter Cuts: Beef Plate
The short ribs are part of the beef plate primal, which is also known as the short plate (or long plate, depending on where it is separated from the rib primal above it). Additionally, it is where the skirt steak, a component of carne asada, is located.
Skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle. It is held in place by a network of dense connective tissue on the inside of the abdominal wall, which must be carefully cut away. This steak is extremely flavorful. Additionally, because it is thin, you can cook it quickly over a high heat source. Just dont overcook it. Slice it against the grain because it has coarse muscle fibers otherwise it will be chewy.
Because there is a lot of cartilage in beef, especially around the ribs, beef short ribs are perfect for braising. This method of moist heat cooking at a low temperature dissolves cartilage and transforms it into gelatin.
The beef plate can be used to make ground beef because it is relatively fatty as well.
Forequarter Cuts: Beef Brisket
Despite its toughness and the need for precise cooking, beef brisket is one of the most flavorful meat cuts. It’s a slightly fatty cut of beef as well, but this can be advantageous for you because it tenderizes into the most delicious, meaty perfection.
The brisket, which is taken from the region around the breastbone, is essentially the animal’s pectoral or chest muscle. To break down and tenderize the typically thick, coarse-grained meat, a lot of time and low heat are required.
Brisket is the traditional choice for corned beef and is frequently used to make pot roast. Slow cooking brisket in a smoker or barbecue is another widely used method of preparation.
Forequarter Cuts: Beef Shank
The beef shank is the leg of the animals thigh. Two shanks, one in the forequarter and one in the hindquarter, are present on each side of beef. It is extremely tough and full of connective tissue.
The lavish Italian dish osso buco is made with beef shank.
Hindquarter Cuts: Beef Short Loin
The most desirable cuts of beef come from the short loin, which is located in the hindquarter or back of the animal. T-bone, porterhouse, and strip loin or strip steak are some of these.
Short loin beef is only 16 to 18 inches long. 11 to 14 steaks, depending on thickness, will be produced.
Beginning at the rib end and moving toward the back, the short loin steaks are cut. The first-cut steaks are club steaks or bone-in strip steaks. There may be six or seven T-bones in the center-cut steaks. At the sirloin end, a butcher might be able to obtain two or three porterhouse steaks.
From the short loin back into the sirloin, the tenderloin juts out. It’s interesting to note that removing the tenderloin prevents the creation of porterhouse or T-bone steaks. A portion of the tenderloin muscle appears in both of these steaks.
Cooking with dry heat is ideal for tenderizing short loin cuts.
Hindquarter Cuts: Beef Sirloin
Another substantial portion of the carcass, the beef sirloin, extends from the 13th rib down to the hip bone and from the backbone all the way to the flank (or belly).
Top sirloin and bottom sirloin are two subcategories of the full sirloin. Typically, top sirloin is made into steaks that are suitable for grilling. The muscles in the sirloin become a little bit harder because it is located nearer to the animal’s hind leg. However, a first-cut sirloin steak, also known as a pin-bone steak due to the fact that it contains a portion of the hip bone, is very comparable to a porterhouse.
The bottom sirloin is typically divided into three main parts after being separated from the top sirloin: the tri-tip, ball tip, and flap, which are excellent for roasting and barbecuing (and are occasionally made into ground beef).
Although it is not readily apparent in a two-dimensional diagram, the tenderloin’s butt tender, which is also located within the sirloin, is either completely removed when making a whole tenderloin or sold as a roast. Because filet mignon comes from the opposite end of the tenderloin, be wary of butchers who refer to a butt tender as such.
Hindquarter Cuts: Beef Tenderloin
The beef tenderloin, which is located within the loin, is the beef cut that is the most tender. This is where the tenderloin’s pointy end, which is used to make filet mignon, comes from. Chateaubriand is made from the center cut of the tenderloin.
The tenderloin extends from the short loin into the sirloin. The sirloin’s section where the pointy end is actually located is sometimes referred to as the butt tenderloin. Even so, butchers frequently cut the tenderloin in half and sell it whole or as separate steaks and roasts.
Only dry-heat cooking techniques for beef tenderloin, such as grilling and broiling, should be used. Considering how tender the meat already is, lengthy cooking times are not necessary. Keep it quick and the heat high.
Hindquarter Cuts: Beef Flank
Beef flank can be cooked on the grill. It has tough muscle fibers, so if it’s overcooked, it could become even more tough.
Grilling flank steak quickly at a high temperature is the ideal method. The best way to prevent drying out of the meat is to avoid overcooking it. Marinating the meat beforehand can help with this. Remember to cut this steak thinly against the grain when you’re ready to serve it to avoid chewiness.
Additionally, beef flank is excellent for braising and is frequently used to make ground beef.
Hindquarter Cuts: Beef Round
The back leg of the steer is essentially what makes up the beef round primal cut. The round’s muscles are tough despite being relatively lean because the leg and rump receive a lot of exercise.
The top round (inside round), bottom round (outside round), and knuckle are the three subprimal cuts of beef round, just as the sirloin primal is divided into top sirloin and bottom sirloin. We get rump roast and eye of round from the bottom round.
Despite the fact that you might braise a piece of beef round out of necessity, chuck always yields a more flavorful cut of meat. Theres a good reason for this.
Both the top and bottom rounds are lean and lack collagen. When slowly braised, the protein collagen transforms into gelatin. As a result, braised rump roast is less tender than braised chuck roast.
Round roasts are typically best used by roasting them slowly until they are medium rare. They can then be served as roasts or thinly sliced for sandwiches. Slicing thinly and against the grain is crucial.
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Cuts of Beef (Get to Know the Parts of a Cow)
What cut of beef is used for roast beef?
Top Round Roast (also known as Inside Round) is the most popular cut of beef used for roast beef because it has a similar amount of fat and flavor to top sirloin. Top Sirloin Roast, also known as Top Butt, is a lean, flavorful cut with some marbling.
Where is roast beef from?
Since the 1731 ballad “The Roast Beef of Old England,” roast beef has served as England’s emblematic national dish and has special cultural significance for the English. The dish is so closely associated with England and its 18th-century cooking techniques that the French call the English “les Rosbifs.”
What part of the cow is top roast?
This very thin cut originates from the inside of the back leg. Although it can be made into steaks that benefit from tenderizing or marinating, roast beef is more frequently roasted and sliced.