Know Your Cuts of Beef
Posted by Julia Smith on
Understanding the anatomy of beef goes a long way towards making sense of the many different cuts. The position of the muscle and the way it used, dictates in large part the preparation options for meat cut from that muscle. The harder a muscle is working... the stronger it is... the tougher the cut. These cuts often have the most flavour and when prepared properly, can also be the most delicious. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular cuts and how to use them. You can order our beef by clicking here.
Chuck roast | Flat-Iron Steak
The neck/shoulder is a strong group of muscles that works hard and as such, is best suited for slow cooking. The chuck roast is tough but very flavourful, making it a great choice for stewing or roasting. Most of this muscle group is best ground or roasted slowly but there is one treasure hidden away here. The flat-iron is a very tender, well-marbled, flavourful cut of meat but has a thick piece of tough connective tissue running through the middle of it. A very versatile cut that can be cooked like any of the loin cuts or also makes a marvellous stir-fry or fajita meat.
Striploin | Ribeye | Tenderloin
The mid-section of the animal does the least amount of work so it produces the most tender cuts. Best cut into steaks and grilled quickly to no more than medium-rare. The tenderloin is very lean so be careful not to overcook. We recommend wrapping with bacon to keep it from drying out and because, well, bacon!
Sirloin Tip | Top Sirloin | Tri-Tip
The Sirloin is found between the loin and the hind leg so it is a little tougher than the loin cuts. It is made up of 3 distinct muscles, each with different properties. All the sirloin cuts are good for grilling and pan frying. Top sirloin is the most tender of the sirloin cuts and is a favourite grilling steak. The sirloin tip is a very lean muscle best marinated and cooked quickly to medium rare. Sirloin tip marinades very well and is perfect for stir-fry, fajitas or teriyaki marinated steak. Tri-tip steaks come from a small muscle in the bottom sirloin. It is quite lean and can be tough if not cooked properly. Also known as the "poor man's prime rib" it is an excellent marinated & grilled or pan seared to medium-rare. Be sure to cut across the grain with a sharp, straight-edge knife for maximum tenderness.
Top Round | Bottom Round
The part of the animal does a lot of work so the muscles are strong and tend to be tougher than other muscles that don't work as hard. The round muscles are best for slow roasting, stewing or grinding. If cut into steaks, they should be marinated to tenderize. Round roasts make excellent pulled beef!
Skirt | Flank | Short Ribs
Skirt and flank muscles are thin cuts and very flavourful but have tough fibres running through them. They marinate very well and are best grilled or pan fried quickly to rare or medium rare and sliced thinly against the grain with a sharp straight edge knife. Very popular as fajita meat. Short ribs are ideal for braising as the moist, low heat will dissolve the cartilage.
Upper leg sections of the beef. Wonderful braised (osso bucco) or can be boned out and ground.
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