Beef Cuts – How to Choose the Right Cut of Beef & Ground Meat
Selecting Your Beef Cuts – Choosing the Right Cut of Beef for Dinner
You’ve found a great-sounding recipe for a beef roast. You need a cut of beef for a recipe you’re preparing in the crockpot. You head to the butcher counter at the grocery store, and you have no idea what cut of beef to buy. Don’t feel alone. There are a million recipes out there for beef, and nearly as many cuts to choose from.
Here is a simple guide to help choose the right cut of beef for all your beef recipes & how to choose the correct ground beef too.
Tips for Selecting Your Beef Cuts:
- Always select steaks that are a bright cherry red in color.
- Trim any fat after cooking your steak. Fat adds moisture for a more tender steak.
- For a much juicier steak, never pierce your steak with a fork before cooking or marinating.
- Many times it’s the cheaper cuts of beef that are more flavorful.
- When in doubt, ask your grocery store butcher for help. They can usually provide you with great advice and also cut your meat to suite your needs.
If you are looking for the absolute best, then always choose Filet Mignon. A little pricey, but the best cut of beef available.
Here are Some Typical Cuts of Beef –
Chuck Roast – Blade Steak – Pot Roast – Shoulder Steaks – Short Ribs – Rib Roast – Rib Eye Steak – Rib Eye Roast – Tenderloin Roast – Top Sirloin Steak – T-Bone Steak – Bottom Sirloin Steak – Sirloin Steak – Tri-Trip Steak – Tip Roast – Round Steak – Eye of Round Steak – Top Round Steak – Bottom Round Steak – Eye Round Roast – Boneless Rump Roast – Brisket – Shank Steak – Flank Steak – Skirt Steak.
These are thick, large cuts of beef. Individual steaks are cut down from these large cuts. These are the most expensive cuts of beef because of their size:
- Beef Tenderloin -This is the most tender cut of beef. Also usually the most pricey. This is the cut of choice for Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, Tornedos of Beef, and Beef Medallions.
- Rib-Eye – This cut is the perfect combination of tenderness and a rich, hearty flavor. Ribeyes have a ribbon of marbling that runs through the steak
- Standing Rib (Prime rib is cut from) – A standing-rib roast is cut of beef from the rib section. A standing rib roast can comprise anywhere from two to seven ribs. It is given the name “standing” because it is most often roasted in a standing position. Prime rib steaks are individual portions of the standing-rib roast.
These roasts are more economical for family-eating:
- Rump Roast, Rolled Rump, Bottom Round, Top Round, and Eye-of-Round
- Chuck Arm, Chuck Blade, Chuck Shoulder Brisket – This is available fresh and corned. Flatter cuts are usually less fatty and therefore more desirable.
- Stewing/Diced Beef is usually cut from a chuck or round roast. If you can’t find any pre-packaged pieces, choose a cut with the least amount of fat and trim it yourself.
- Top And Bottom Round Roasts – Both top round and bottom round are popular cuts. They’re reasonably priced, and can be used in a variety of dishes from beef stroganoff to Swiss steak. These cuts work well for any recipe where you use small pieces of beef that cook for a long period of time.
- Eye of Round – This cut can be used in the same recipes as the top and bottom round. It is a leaner cut of beef. Eye of Round, Top, and Bottom Round roasts are good for pot roast recipes as can be a tougher meat cut.
- Beef Brisket – The beef Brisket is an affordable cut that’s typically used for barbecued recipes, pot roast and corned beef. Cooked slowly on low heat this meat can’t be beat for barbecues!
- Stewing/Diced Beef – This is an affordable cut of beef for entrees that will cook for a substantial period of time, as in the crockpot. This cut is usually used in stews and other recipes, such as chili, where slow-cooking is an option.
These are the most expensive steaks. They are usually used for special occasions and holidays. Buy these cuts of beef when you need something a little extra:
- Filet Mignon – A thick, boneless and extremely tender cut of beef from the tenderloin. Great for grilling and special occasions.
- Prime Rib – The Prime Rib is a large cut of beef that is best used for roasting. Prime Rib is the most tender of all roasts and is best when cooked to medium rare. A juicy tasty cut of meat!
- Porterhouse Steak – This is one of the steaks of choice when dining out. The most popular steaks, in addition to New York Strips, for home summer barbequing as well. Actually is the two steaks in one with a New York strip on one side and a tender filet on the other. Porterhouse has a little more of the filet than the T-Bone Steak.
- T-Bone – The T-bone, like the Porterhouse, is actually two steaks in one and consists of a T-shaped bone with meat on each side. The larger side contains a strip and the smaller side contains a filet.
- New York Strip – This cut of meat comes from the most tender section of beef which makes this cut the ideal steak for grilling. Grilling experts call this cut the “granddaddy of grilling” steak for cooking out.
These steaks are more affordable, and are the most popular with family recipes. They are successfully cooked with a dry-heat method (grilling, broiling), or a moist-heat method (marinating, cooking with sauces):
- Top Sirloin
- Chuck Steak
- Flat Iron
These steaks are less tender and even more affordable, and usually are best suited for moist-heat cooking, as the moisture tenderizes the beef.
If these cuts are marinated first, they can also work for grilling:
Round Steak – This includes full-cut round, top round, eye-of-round, and bottom round. Cube steaks are factory-tenderized round steaks.
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
Top Sirloin Steak – The Top Sirloin is cut from the center of the Sirloin and is lean – firm and flavorful. Top Sirloin is a tender steak and is perfect for grilling or stove top recipes. It’s a mid-priced cut of beef; not as bad as the good steaks (strip, porterhouse, etc.) but not as cheap as the top/bottom round.
Beef Sirloin Steak – This is another versatile, reasonably-priced cut. It’s very flavorful, and can be used for steaks, kabobs, and steak sandwiches. It is also a popular choice for recipes with rubs and marinades.
Flank Steak – This cut has a great flavor, and is reasonably priced. Used most often in stir-fry recipes, steak sandwiches, and summer barbeques.
Beef Skirt Steak – Skirt Steak is a long, flat muscle cut from the beef flank. This has recently become the beef of choice for fajitas.
Ground beef is probably the most versatile of all the beef cuts, and the one cut we all seem most comfortable using. Used in hamburgers, chili, meatloafs and many Italian entrees.
Fat content affects the flavor. (The higher the fat, the more flavorful the beef is. Now you really knew that deep down, didn’t you?)
Ground Round, Ground Sirloin, Ground Chuck, or Ground Beef?
Ground Beef has a high fat content (20 to 25 percent), so it makes the juiciest hamburgers and meatloaf.
GROUND BEEF TYPES:
The fat content in ground meat determines the type:
Ground Round – 90% Lean, 10 % Fat
Ground Sirloin – 85% Lean, 15% Fat
Ground Chuck – 80% Lean, 20% Fat
Ground Beef – 75% Lean, 25% Fat
USDA suggests that ground beef should be cooked or frozen within 2 days after purchase for maximum quality.
DELICIOUS BEEF BRISKET RECIPE – BARBEQUED
2 lb. beef brisket
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except brisket. Place brisket in a Dutch oven or other oven-proof casserole. Using a serving spoon, rub marinade into all sides of beef. Pour remaining sauce over top. Cover, and roast for 1 hour in oven.
Turn oven control back to 200 degrees F. Leave oven door open until temperature is reached, then continue roasting for an additional 3-4 hours. Occasionally, drizzle sauce over brisket.
Remove from oven, and let sit about 10 minutes. At this point, you can either slice the brisket, or pull it off in bite-size chunks, depending on how you serve it. Serve immediately with additional sauce.
Our favorite roast is always the chuck roast. Slow cooked in the crockpot for a delicious Sunday meal! A well marbled chuck roast, which adds flavor and makes some great gravy. Sizes vary, so it’s easy to pick one to suit your family’s needs. The key to a tasty melt-in-your-mouth, fall-off-the-bone roast is in the slow cooking.
DELICIOUS OVEN ROASTED HERB BEEF ROAST
Prepare your dried herb rub for the beef roast.
-2 tsp. parsley
-2 tsp. marjoram
-1 Tbsp. basil
-2 ½ tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp. thyme leaves
-1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
-1 tsp. oregano
Mix spices together in a small bowl. Rub all sides of the roast. Place in refrigerator and let sit for a couple of hours. No need to turn.
Melt about 2 Tbsp. butter in a roasting pan or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Be careful not to burn the butter. Quickly sear the roast on all sides. Remove from heat. Cover roast, and place in a preheated, 300 degree F. oven. Set the timer for one hour. After one hour, turn oven temperature back to 200 degrees F. Leave oven door open until it’s cooled down.
Let roast slow-roast for at least 4 hours. To prevent the top of the roast from drying out, spoon some of the juices over top occasionally. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before carving.
SIRLOIN STEAK WITH MUSHROOM GARLIC SAUCE
2 sirloin steaks, or 1 lb. steak, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 c. sliced, fresh mushrooms
1 tsp. dried basil
Take steaks out of refrigerator about a half hour before you are planning on making them. Rub both sides with a little salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler, or start barbeque grill. Let heat for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and basil, and stir to cook mushrooms and blend, about 5 minutes. Turn back heat to low/warm.
Place steaks a few inches from heat source, and broil each side for about 5-8 minutes, depending on desired doneness and thickness of steak. (We broiled ours for 3 minutes/side for medium, but we had a rather thin steak). Remove from broiler, place on plates, and top with sauce.