Know Your Cuts of Beef
Some of the priciest and most desirable cuts come from the short loin. Because of its highly-marbled, melt-in-your-mouth, tender steaks, the short loin is a great source for upscale foodservice menus. Quick and dry cooking methods such as grilling and broiling prevail for cuts from the short loin.
- Strip Steaks (Sometimes called New York, Kansas City, etc.)
- Porterhouse Steaks (includes strip and tenderloin, tenderloin is greater than 1.25")
- T-Bone Steaks (includes strip and tenderloin, tenderloin is less than 1.25")
- Filet Mignon (Tenderloin Steaks)
Known for its value, versatility and great flavor, the sirloin provides flavorful steaks as well as delicious roasts, without breaking the bank. Very tender - though not quite as tender as and marbled as cuts form the pricey short loin - sirloin steaks don't fall short on full beef flavor. Sirloin steaks respond well to typical dry, fast cooking methods and are best served medium rare to medium. Roasts such as the venerable tri-tip, a Texas favorite, originate in the sirloin. With a little extra attention like marinating or seasoning, the sirloin works hard for the dollar - and the palate too.
- Sirloin Steak, Flat Bone
- Sirloin Steak, Round Bone
- Top Sirloin Steak
Since beef chuck is a well-exercised "locomotion" (see above) muscle group, it is comparatively tough in texture. Fortunately, there is a good deal of connective tissue called collagen. When cooked slowly with added moisture, this collagen turns to smooth gelatin, providing intense flavor and a very tender texture. Beef chuck is most conducive to long wet cooking methods such as braising or stewing. Alternately, ground beef chuck patties are highly desirable for their ideal ratio of lean to fat, and their great beefy flavor.
- Pot Roasts
- Short Ribs
- Blade Steaks
- Petite Tender (Flat Iron) Steaks
The rib is often desired for its tenderness and indulgent eating experience. Highly marbled and known for very rich flavor, the rib is a mainstay of the foodservice menu. Bone-in or boneless roasts from the rib should be lightly seasoned dry roasted in the oven. Steaks can be grilled, broiled, pan broiled. Cuts from the rib are ideal when served medium-rare (130°F) for best flavor and texture.
- Rib Roasts
- Rib (Ribeye) Steaks
- Back Ribs
Best known for corned beef and beef barbecue, brisket is best prepared with moist heat or "low and slow" levels of heat, perhaps with smoke added for flavor. Brisket is comprised of strong pectoral muscles, with plenty of connective tissue that requires a slow cooking process. Fork tender and succulent, corned beef brisket or post roast is highly craved on many menus.
- Corned Beef
- Barbacue Brisket
- Foreshank Roast
The very lean, tough "locomotion" muscles of the hips and hind leg of the animal. Though there are a few isolated tender cuts such as top round roast, beef round is primarily roasted and sliced thin for deli meat. In the deli, many varieties of roast beef are available. Corned beef and pastrami made from the round provide a leaner alternative to the traditional brisket versions.
- Deli Roast Beef
- Top Round Steak/Roast
- Rump Roast
Meat taken from the beef flank is very lean and muscular. It is very rich and flavorful but needs a little in the way of special preparation for maximum tenderness. Because of its extra-long muscle striations, flank steaks should be served medium to medium rare and sliced on the bias, cross grain. To aide tenderness and flavor, flank benefits from a short marination in citric acid, such as lime juice.
- Flank Steak
- Rolled Steak
The short plate's only whole muscle cut is the skirt steak. Skirt steaks are commonly grilled or broiled whole, then cut across the grain for added tenderness. They are highly valued in Tex-Mex cuisine as fajita meat.
- Skirt steak
- Fajita Meat