What Are the Different Cuts of Beef?
Ever wonder what different types of beef cuts there are, or what each is best used for? What type of beef is best in crock pots, or best on the grill? This article illustrates the various cuts of beef, provides a brief explanation of each, and also recommends how best to cook them.
Different Types of Beef
The most commonly used types of beef are:
- Short plate
- The round
The are less common types that we won't be discussing here, but they are:
Description: The chuck, also known as the seven-bone steak (in reference to the shape of the bone), is located near the shoulder and neck area of the cow.
Types: The chuck cut yields some of the more economical cuts of beef, such as the chuck roast, chuck arm roast, and the flat iron steak.
How to Cook: The chuck contains a significant amount of connective tissue, which contains collagen and can be a little tough, but provides great flavor.
Chuck cuts of beef are best cooked slowly over time with a crock pot or by braising.
Round or Rump
Description: The round, also known as the rump, is a lean cut of meat with very little fat. It is located at the back of the cow near the rear leg. Like the Shank, the round is a tough cut due to the constant use of the cow's legs.
Types: Despite the round or rump's toughness, it produces quite a few different cuts of meat that are quite popular. Some of the more common cuts are: rump roast/steak, top round roast/steak, bottom round roast/steak, eye of round roast/steak, and the sirloin tip center roast/steak.
How to Cook: Round cuts are best braised or roasted with low levels of moisture.
Description: Brisket is cut from the breast or the lower portion of the cow. Like the shank, it has a lot of connective tissue and can be quite tough unless cooked properly.
Types: The brisket is known by two main cuts of meat: brisket flat cut and the brisket point cut.
How to Cook: Brisket is a favorite of BBQ'ers everywhere and is best cooked smoked or braised.
Description: The rib includes some of the finest cuts of the cow, and is the known for its juiciness, tenderness, superb marbling, and flavor. The rib cut refers to ribs 6 through 12 on the cow.
Types: The rib includes several of the finest cuts of the cow, including the prime rib, short rib, rib-eye steak, and rib-eye roasts.
How to Cook: Rib cuts are best cooked over dry heat and for long periods of time. American BBQ'ers favor grilling or smoking these tender cuts.
Description: The short plate is located on the front belly of the cow below the ribs. It contains a lot of cartilage and is kind of fatty and tough.
Types: It contains a few different cuts including the short ribs, hangar steak, and the skirt steak. It is best known for being used to makecarne asada.
How to Cook: Best braised because of its toughness.
Description: The flank is a long flat cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is one of the toughest cuts of meat.
Types: The flank is usually cut into flap steaks or flank steaks. It is typically used in Asian and Mexican cuisine as stir-fry or fajita beef. It can also be used in London broil.
How to Cook: Due to its excessive toughness, flank cuts are best cooked with moist methods like braising.
Description: The loin is cut from the back of the cow, typically a portion of the hindquarter directly behind the ribs. It is one of the most tender and desirable cuts of beef.
Types: The loin is best known for producing filet mignon, porterhouse steak, and the T-bone steak. However, it also contains the KC strip, tenderloin roast, and the shell steak.
How to Cook: Loin cuts are best cooked over dry heat such as on a grill.
Description: Sirloin is also cut from the back of the cow, just past the loin (a.k.a the short loin). Although, not as tender as the loin cuts, the sirloin is still a very popular tender cut of beef.
Types: The sirloin contains the top sirloin, bottom sirloin, and center cut sirloin steaks, as well as the tri-tip steak, filet of sirloin, and the ball tip roast.
How to Cook: Sirloin is best cooked by grill, but can also be broiled, sautéed, or pan-fried.
Description: The shank is the leg of the cow and is one of the toughest meats. This is due to the fact that the leg muscle is constantly used, creating a tough, sinewy cut. Therefore, it is one of the less popular, but also one of the cheapest.
Types: The Shank doesn't yield very many cuts of meet, just the shank or the shank cross cut. It is also used in very low fat ratios of ground beef.
How to Cook: The shank is best cooked over a long period of time and in liquid. It is best in soups, stews, or to make beef stock.