A Butchers Guide To Beef Cuts
A cut above the rest: a butcher’s guide to grass fed beef
We thought you may want a little more information about where on the animal the individual cuts come from and some of their cooking characteristics so you can plan your cooking. Whilst the prime cuts make superb meals, don’t neglect the cheaper cuts that deliver wonderful rich flavours slow cooked, braised in casseroles or strews.
Chuck and blade
You will see this sold as braising steak. A little more tender than stewing steak, it is best used in winter casseroles and stews. It is sometimes referred to as “Flatiron Steak” as it has a shape similar to that of an old-fashioned flat iron.
This is sold either ‘boned and rolled’, ‘french trimmed’ or ‘on the bone’. Has good marbling throughout the flesh and with excellent fat cover on the outside making for a superb roast. Can also be cut into steaks or ribeyes for grilling, frying or plonking on the BBQ. The last few ribs before the sirloin are known as wing rib.
This is typically sold boned and rolled. A prime cut which is suitable for a classic roast. Sirloin steak comes from the same area but is cut into steaks such as T-bone, porterhouse and entrecote. These prime cuts are suitable for grilling, frying, stir-fries and barbecuing.
Beef fillet also comes from this section. Probably the most prized cut of beef, the fillet is very tender and very lean and should not carry a sauce. Whole beef fillet is used for chateaubriand or beef Wellington. Other names for cuts of fillet include filet mignon, tenderloin, and tournedos.
Although this is included as a prime cut, it’s often cheaper than fillet or sirloin because it’s not quite as tender. However many say that it is equally as flavoursome as sirloin or fillet. Rump is suitable for quick cooking such as frying, stir-fry, grilling or the barbecue.
Topside and silverside
Silverside was traditionally salted and sold as a boiling joint for salt beef. This very lean piece of meat is now most often sold unsalted as a joint for roasting. We recommend regular basting whilst cooking. Topside is also a very lean joint and often has an extra layer of fat tied around it to baste and keep it moist. This is also suitable cut into steaks for frying or grilling and in stir-fries.
This joint is also known as Top Rump good for slow roasting as a joint or braised in pieces. Also sold as stir fry strips or flash fry steak.
Meat from this area is often known as skirt. Skirt steak is a thin, long cut of beef from the diaphragm, also known as hanger steak or, in France, Onglet. It has plenty of fat marbling which makes it moist and flavoursome. Good for grilling, frying or the BBQ. Flank steak looks very similar but is is from the lower abdominal area.
Leg and shin
Usually sold as stewing steak. Best suited for long, slow cooking to breakdown the high proportion of connective tissues and denser fibres and make thick sauces and gravy.
One of the denser cuts and used for mince (ground beef) meat.
Usually sold boned and rolled and sold as a pot roasting joint. This joint is full of flavour suitable for slow cooking or pot roasting. Brisket is the cut traditionally used for making corned beef. It is also used for lean mince.
Typically sold as Braising Steak. This cut is somewhat more tender than stewing steak. Ideal for use in casseroles, stews and for braising.
This cut is generally sold as stewing steak. Long and slow cooking will release a good flavour and produce tasty gravy or sauce.
As the name suggests this cut is the hardworking cheek muscle of cows. It is a budget cut that will reward being cooked long and slow to make it tender. The many connective fibres will break down to form a thick gravy. It absorbs the flavours of braising liquid such as wine or ale well. Cooked it has a texture similar to brisket.
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