Recently we were discussing what beef dish we should have for dinner and it dawned on us the variety of cuts we could choose from for different recipes. So we thought we’d look into this a little more and share our simple guide to what is available and how to treat them properly for the best results in your recipes.
This also ties in nicely with some of our other recent posts on side dishes The Best Roast Potatoes and Broccoli And Cauliflower Cheese With Bacon that can all help to create those great warming Autunmnal dishes.
Rule Of Thumb
If the meat has come from a part of the animal that does a lot of work e.g. legs, neck, then it will need a longer slower cook to break down the connective tissues like collagen to a nice gelatinous consistency, making the meat more tender and moist.
Also, being able to use a cheaper cut of meat and know how to cook it to make delicious and tender is always a great way to save money, so you do not have to always go for the more expensive favourites.
List cuts of meat:
- This is usually sold as stewing steak and so needs a long slow cook to make tender and produce great flavours and gravy
- Slightly more tender than stewing steak, this cut is usually sold as braising steak, so ideal for casseroles, stews and obviously braising.
- Also sold as braising steak, so treat the same as the chuck cut.
- This is a cheaper cut, less tender, but flavoursome. Sold as stewing steak and also is contained in some burgers. Needs to be cooked slowly to make tender.
Shin & Leg
- Once again, generally sold as stewing steak. These cuts do have a lot on connective tissues in them, so do well with long, slow cooking to break all this down. Ideal for rich gravy and thick sauces.
- This is a denser cut and typically sold as mince meat
- Can be sold either boned or rolled, French trimmed, but generally is sold on the bone. Has good fat content, so is very good for roasting. Can be cut into steaks (Ribeyes) which are great for grilling or frying.
- This is classed as a prime cut as it’s more tender than the other cuts and comes from the part of the animal that does not do as much work. Typically sold boned and rolled and used for Sunday roasts. Sirloin steaks can be cut from this area as well, such as: “T”-bone, Porterhouse and Entrecote
- Fillet (or tenderloin) comes from roughly the middle of this area as well and is seen to be finest cut as it’s so tender and lean. Can be used in for steaks for grilling or frying or in larger dishes, such as beef wellington. Other cuts of this area are: Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, Tournedos and Chateaubriand
- This is typically known as skirt. It has quite a bit of fat on it, so is moist and flavoursome. Great for grilling or the barbeque. Can also be sold as mince meat.
- Typically sold boned and rolled. Used for slow cooking and pot roasts. Traditionally used for making corned beef.
- Although it’s still classed as a prime cut, it is often cheaper than sirloin as it is not quite a tender.
- This is a joint that is often known as top rump. Also sold as stir fry trips or flash fry pieces. Great for slow roasting as a joint or braised in pieces.
Top Side/ Silverside
- Typically sold as a roasting joint, but as they are so lean, they need a lot of basting to keep it moist. Sometimes topside is sold with a layer of fat tied around it to help with this. Can also be cut into steaks for grilling and frying.
When looking at all the cuts of meat, sometimes you can get lost in how many there are and the different names they have. The above list is a simple one and you may see more extensive lists with further cuts/ names within each section. As a rough guide though, we think it’s easier to break down to 5 categories for a quick review of what cuts to use for what purpose (as some can be cut into steaks, they appear twice).
- Stewing – Neck, clod, shin, leg
- Braising – Chuck, thick rib
- Mince –Thin rib, thin flank
- Grilling and frying – Fore rib (ribeye), Sirloin/ fillet steaks, rump, thick flank strips, topside/ silverside strips
- Roasting – Fore rib, brisket, sirloin, rump, thick flank, topside/ silverside
Hopefully you find this simple guide useful and if so, please leave us a comment or share any dishes that you recommend using specific cuts of beef.