Shopping for the perfect cuts of beef can be overwhelming at times. Should you get a sirloin or a tenderloin? What kind of beef do you put in a stew? What even is a brisket? But, figuring out which cut of beef to use doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep reading to learn the definition of each cut and how they are best prepared.
The short loin is where the Porterhouse, ribeye and t-bone come from. This portion is made up of muscles that don’t get a ton of exercise from the cattle, so they’re tender and juicy. It is best to cook beef cuts from the short loin with dry heat cooking methods such as grilling, broiling and roasting. It is important not to overcook loin cuts, because they can lose their natural tenderness.
The flank is more tough than a loin or rib steak and, therefore, should be reserved for recipes with marinades or braising methods. The flank will be lean, but flavorful, and should be thinly sliced against the grain when carving. Flank steaks are also known as London Broil, Jiffy Steak or Flank Steak Filet.
This cut comes from the back of the bull, right off of the short loin referenced above. While it’s not quite as tender as the short loin, it tends to be more flavorful. A variety of cooking methods can be used to prepare a sirloin cut, including grilling, boiling, frying and roasting.
This is considered the premier cut of meat, as this is where the filet mignon comes from. Because it’s so low in fat, and fat conducts heat more slowly than muscle, tenderloins tend to cook much faster than other steaks and are far more prone to drying out. To avoid this, consider pan-frying in oil and finishing by basting with butter. Another common approach is to wrap the cut in bacon before grilling.
The difference between a top sirloin and a sirloin is that the bone, tenderloin and bottom round muscles have been removed. A top sirloin cut is typically lean, tender and flavorful.
This cut is from the rear leg of the bovine and is typically divided into the eye of round, bottom round and top round. This cut can be a bit tough, as it’s from a portion that gets a lot of exercise and, therefore, doesn’t contain a lot of marbling. Because of this, a moist slow cooking method, such as braising, should be used to tenderize the meat.
This is a common source of beef for hamburgers. This cut contains a lot of connective tissue and collagen which will melt during cooking, but makes the meat too tender to leave whole. Chuck cuts can become tough if they are not cooked properly, and benefit from slow cooking methods such as braising.
This cut comes from the breast or lower chest of beef, which means the brisket is usually a large cut of meat. This cut is commonly used for pot roasts, as braising and stewing are the preferred cooking methods.
This is the toughest of cuts from a cow and, therefore, is ideal for stews, soups and more hearty, slow cooked meals.
This will include short ribs and rib eye steak. A bull has 13 ribs on each side. The first five ribs are in the chuck cut and the next seven will make up the short ribs. The remaining rib is the loin cut. Rib sections are best cooked by pan-frying, grilling or broiling. Because of the high fat content, it may cause flare-ups on the grill, so be careful.
The plate is a forequarter cut from the stomach area of the bull, just below the rib cut. This is the fattiest cut of beef.
No matter which cuts of beef you are looking for, consider buying grass-fed, grain-finished purebred Angus beef from our ranch. Our cattle have been raised humanely and live on a foraged, free-range diet until about the last 90 days. During those 90 days, we transition our bulls to a grain diet for added nutrients. Our cattle are never given growth hormones, so you can rest easy knowing your family is eating only the most pure beef possible.