Got beef? We have. And lots of it. But how well do you know your meat? Firstly, there are 8 primal beef cuts: chuck; rib; loin; round; flank; short plate; brisket; and shank. That’s a whole lotta beef! This simple guide will allow you to become a meat-expert, and know more about what you eat.
Plus, you can impress your friends with you knowledge!
Chuck beef comes from the forequarter of the cow. Which essentially means any part of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm. These parts produce very flavourful, but often tough cuts of meat. You can ground chuck and make it into hamburgers, which makes very tasty hamburgers indeed!
As its name suggests, these cuts of meat come from the cow’s rib and backbone. A cow has 13 pairs of ribs, and the last section are considered “prime ribs”. These are commonly used for those sticky, delectable ribs that you find in meat joints, which we think are a BBQ essential.
If your wondering why some beef is so pricey, it will probably be because it was cut from the loin. This is located at the top of the steer, behind the rib. Steaks such as T-bone, tenderloin, and sirloin all come from this area - which is actually split into two parts, the shortloin and the sirloin. Some steaks are tender, some are slightly tougher, depending on which of these two areas you get your steak from. However, most cuts from the loin will be tender, flavourful and satisfying.
The round is the cow’s rump and hind legs and is generally an inexpensive cut of meat. “Ground round” or mincemeat is normally ground up meat from this area of the cow. Although fairly lean, this meat can also be tough as this area of the cow often gets a lot of exercise.
Three words that describe flank are boneless, tough and tasty. The flank is located below the loin and is where flank steak comes from. Known for being a lean cut of meat, flank steak is more popular that ever before with the rise in health consciousness in the UK.
This is another rack of ribs that is found near the abdomen. Slightly fattier than the prime rib, these cuts are normally used in classic dishes such as fajitas. This is also where you will find the skirt steak, which is attached to the inside abdominal wall by thick connective tissue. These cuts are extremely high in flavour, and can be flash fried (because of its thinness) for a steak that won’t disappoint.
With a basket of brisket and a pint, you are in for a good evening. Located in the steer’s breast, this fatty meat is a favourite in fast food. However, that melt in your mouth, tender texture is usually through a lot of hard work including marinading, tenderising and cooking it slow and low.
This is located just in front of the brisket, in the cow’s forearm; one in the forequarter, and one in the hindquarter. As it is one of the toughest cuts of the cow, this meat often requires braising in order to make it tender and less chewy. It makes a great addition in hearty stews and soup in the winter.