A Guide to Meat: The 8 Cuts of Beef

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It’s simple to become dependent on doing the same thing repeatedly while purchasing, prepping, and cooking meat. While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to your favorite foods, learning about the various meat cuts and the recipes they’re best suited for can help you increase the variety of meals you can prepare and save money by preventing costly buying errors (like choosing tough cuts for slow-cooking recipes).

It is understandable why most individuals are unable to distinguish between the various beef cuts when some retailers sell as many as 60 distinct varieties of beef products. Additionally, although some federal USDA rules specify how meat should be labeled, these standards often only apply to bigger pieces of meat that are not frequently available for purchase from most grocery stores and even some retail butchers.

Primal, Subprimal and Portion Cuts

There are eight primary cuts of beef known as the primal cuts, and they are as follows:

  • Rib
  • Chuck
  • Round
  • Loin
  • Flank
  • Short Plate
  • Brisket
  • Shank

Following the division of these huge primal cuts into smaller subprimal cuts, packers send these smaller subprimal cuts to nearby markets for final processing and cutting. The meat that customers will find in their neighborhood stores, such as steaks, ribs, and roasts, are known as portion cuts and are among the last cuts of meat.

Rib

The rib primal cut, as its name suggests, is meat taken from the ribs and backbone of the cow. Only the last six of a cow’s 13 pairs of ribs are categorized in this section; the remainder are grouped with the chuck and short plate. The tenderness, taste, and fatty marbling of rib cuts make them special. A little more expensive than the majority of cuts, ribs are frequently better slow-cooked than grilled.

Beef short ribs, ribeye steak, cowboy steak, ribeye roast, ribeye filet, and back ribs are some of the many cuts available for ribs.

Chuck

Chuck is from the shoulder of the cow. Although it’s a very tasty region that can be chopped and prepared in various ways, it’s usually a tougher cut of beef. You probably know Chuck best because of its adaptability and low price. It works well for many kinds of cooking!

You can find chuck in various portion cuts, including ground chuck (hamburgers), short ribs, shoulder tender medallions, pot roast, shoulder steak, flat-iron steak, and stew meat.

Round

The lean, cheap cut is the round primal region. It’s usually a rough cut of beef because it’s close to the cow’s hind legs. This primal region’s top, bottom, and eye round piece cuts often require high-heat cooking, while the rump and eye roast often require slow cooking. Because of the leanness of this cut, it is vital to carefully investigate how to prepare and cook the distinct portion cuts of this region.

Round steak, eye of round, tip roast, tip steak, top round, and bottom round roasts are typical round cuts that you can get in supermarkets.

Loin

Your most expensive cuts of beef can be found here. The loin is a muscle that lies just beneath the ribs and is not frequently used because of its placement. When opposed to more muscular cuts, the loin is particularly sensitive. Sirloin and short loin are the two noteworthy components of the loin primal cut.

The least tender of the two subregions of the loin is the sirloin. However, it is arguably more delicious. Sirloin is never used for slow cooking and is normally excellent for grilling. Sirloin steak, top sirloin, bottom sirloin, tri-tip roast, and tri-tip steak are examples of common cuts.

Flank

Primarily, the flank is chopped immediately below the loin. Although rough, this area has flavor despite its lack of bones. It used to be the most affordable cut that one could find in a store. However, as contemporary lean meat consumption grew, so did flank steak demand, increasing its popularity and cost.

Usually, only two flank cuts are available: the flank steak and the skirt steak, which are best grilled over high heat.

Short Plate

Short plate slices are located close to the cow’s stomach and are frequently associated with the brisket meat region. Because of its placement in the cow makes for cheap, rough, and fatty meat cuts. You may get marbled short ribs from another source here as well.

You may typically buy skirt steak, hanger steak, beef bacon, pastrami, short ribs, and ground beef from this primal cut in supermarkets as short plate portions.

Brisket

The brisket cut, a barbecue staple, comes from a cow’s breast. Brisket is notorious for having a fatty, harsh texture, but when cooked properly (low and slow), it can be tender and melt in your mouth. The difference between juicy and dry brisket is narrow, so use caution when slow cooking! Because of this, you should always marinade and tenderize this cut before slow cooking it.

The only brisket cuts normally widely available are brisket point and brisket flat. Both are excellent when cooked slowly, but the flat stands out since it is leaner.

Shank

The most expensive and toughest beef cut is the shank. This beef cut comes from the cow’s forearm just before the brisket and is distinguished by its sinewy dryness. Shank is rarely found in retail establishments because of its unpopularity. It is, however, a fantastic, low-cost substitute for beef stock or lean ground beef if you can obtain it. It works best when cooked for a long time in wet heat because of its dry character.

This cut is frequently used as a stew, soup meat, or in the well-known dish osso buco.

Whether you’re slow-cooking a stuffed roast or braising brisket. Avoid dealing with other butchers who promote affordable, mass-produced beef. For the most tender cuts possible, only uses locally obtained, grass-fed calf meat. 

We can make your dinner extraordinary with a wide variety of completely spiced and prepared beef, hog, and chicken cuts; all you’ll need to do is apply heat! 

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