All the Cuts of Beef Explained – Your Guide to Buying Beef

Jason Webster
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The 8 Primal Cuts of Beef – And the Cuts They Contain

Here are the eight most common primal cuts of beef and the cuts you’ll find inside them:

  • Chuck – chuck eye roast, chuck tender steak, blade roast, chuck arm pot roast
  • Chuck (rib) – short ribs, rib eye steak, bone-in rib steak, rib roast
  • Brisket – brisket flat, brisket point, brisket barrow, point-end roast, trimmed brisket, burnt ends
  • Plate – bone-in chuck short ribs, boneless chuck shoulder roast, boneless chuck blade roast, boneless chuck arm steak, boneless chuck shoulder tip roast, boneless chuck shoulder pot roast
  • Flank – flank steak, top blade steak, flank steak sandwich steak, flank steak flat iron steak, braising steak, steak picado
  • Short Loin – T-bone steak, porterhouse steak, T-bone steak, pin bone steak, strip steak, New York strip steak, strip steak, tail blade steak
  • Sirloin – top sirloin steak, tri-tip steak, chateaubriand steak, tri-tip steak, tri-tip roast

Forequarter Cuts

Shoulder The chuck comes from the shoulder and can include the arm as well. It’s a cheap, traditional cut that’s great for stewing, braising, or any other slow-cooking techniques, as it pulls apart into thick, tender ribs. It also freezes especially well.

“Flap” The brisket is actually the underside, or belly, of the cow. Cut from the belly side of the cow, it’s often called the “flat” in the U.S. and is great for roasting, either whole or in parts. The word “brisket” actually comes from an old French word for “little breast”; it’s called “petto” in Italy.

Tenderloin “Filet” A small cut that’s very tender, it’s also expensive.

Hindquarter Cuts

Hindquarter refers to the meat cuts from the back and opposite to the forerib. Most of the hindquarter cuts are taken from the round, but also included here are the shoulder and the loin.

The hindquarter cuts of meat are well marbled and tougher than the forequarter cuts. They are best braised for longer periods of time at temperatures of 200 to 300f.

What to consider when buying beef

Beef has a lot of cuts that can confuse and even intimidate people when they are at the butcher shop.

For many, the term “beef cuts” means nothing more than a dead cow and some delicious cuts to cook. However, the truth is that beef cuts are carefully categorized depending on their primal. “Primal” is just a fancy way of saying “main body of the beef animal.”

So if you want to picture yourself a nice piece of beef, imagine this:

The beef animal body “cuts” into 7 primals:

  • Primal 1: chuck (front of the animal)
  • Primal 2: rib
  • Primal 3: short loin (middle of the animal)
  • Primal 4: sirloin
  • Primal 5: round (leg of the animal)
  • Primal 6: loin
  • Primal 7: flank (side of the animal)

Each one of these primals, in turn, cuts into many parts called subprimals. Taking the flank primal as an example:

Why Do Prices Vary So Much Between Cuts of Meat?

What Are the Leanest Cuts of Beef to Cook?

The USDA rates cuts of beef on a scale from least lean to most lean. In order of their ranking, the leanest cuts of beef are:

Tenderloin filet Mignon Tri-tip sirloin Top sirloin Rump steak Top round Eye of round Bottom round

The bottom round steak comes from the rump, which is the rear leg. It is considered the leanest part of the cow. It is a good source of iron and a pretty good source of vitamin B6 and zinc. It is also a good source of protein and low in fat.

Honorable mentions in the leanest category are the eye of round and outside round. The eye of round comes from the small to the rear leg and is very lean, and contains good vitamins and minerals.

Outside round is even leaner since it comes from the rear thigh and has high amounts of protein. It is an inexpensive cut of meat and a good choice for budget-oriented shoppers and avid muscle-builders.

Bottom sirloin steak is another interesting choice. It is a bit less expensive than top sirloin but it is very tender and flavorful. It is best cooked with pan frying, grilling, or broiling.

Tip: These lean cuts of beef can be used for stir-fry dishes and can be substituted for chicken in many recipes.

Best Small Gas Grills for 2021

There are many different types of grills. They vary in price, function, and size. If you’re a beginner, it may be hard to select the right one best suited for you.

Fortunately, the choice is not that hard. There are 3 different categories of grills you can consider.

Aside from their size, there’s an additional difference among all three different kind of grills. They have different fuel sources.

One type of grill uses charcoal, while the other two use gas.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills need a lot of preparation. They are messy and require constant monitoring and care. Charcoal grills are cheaper than gas grills, but they are harder to clean and maintain.

Gas Grills

Gas grills can be easily lighted. Most of them have auto ignition or electric starter as well, making the whole process of grilling as easy as possible.

Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal grills and may be heavy and expensive to install.

However, they are not as messy as charcoal grills. Most gas grills also come with side burner and grill grates. These features make gas grills more versatile and convenient.

Electric Grills

Electric grills offer the convenience of gas grills with almost the same price. They are still relatively cheaper than any traditional gas grill.