Types of Beef Cuts for Your Kitchen

On May 18, 2012 by Editor

A pan of beef brisket, just out of the oven.

A pan of beef brisket, just out of the oven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are all kinds of great beef cuts available today in American supermarkets that can fulfill just about every budget and taste. However, it can get a bit confusing to select which sort of beef cut you want for which meal. Below are the most common cuts of beef you will find and what to do with them.


 Ground Beef


Ground beef may have different colors when it is on your supermarket shelf. If it is getting exposed to the air through the plastic, you may see bright red on the surface of the meat. The inside of the meat may have a purple/red color. If the meat is exposed to the air for too long, it will start to get a brownish color. You probably want to avoid this meat. However, the meat will be safe to eat as long as you eat it before the ‘sell by’ date on the meat package.




The tenderest steaks will come from the middle of the animal, such as the rib or loin areas. You can often find many tender types of steak that are great for your grill, in a variety of prices. Some of the more premium steaks are t-bone, porterhouse, strip, ribeye and tenderloin. These are usually pricier, but you can find good steaks that are called ranch, top sirloin, flat iron and round tip.


Some of the less tender steaks are from the more muscular parts of the animal. These will be best cooked with slow-cook methods. Some of these include round, eye round, chuck blade, skirt and flank steak.


Oven Roasts


A roast is defined as a beef cut that is thicker than two inches and that can be cooked with dry heat in a roast pan. Some of the premium roasts of this type include top loin, rib eye and tenderloin. These sorts of roasts will sell out during the holidays, so if you want one, you may want to put one on order with your butcher. If you are doing a roast for an everyday meal, you may want to buy the bottom sirloin or round roast. These are more lean and cheaper. If you are doing a buffet, you will want to think about a boneless roast as this will make the line move faster.


 Pot Roasts


These roasts will come from the rear of the animal. They are from the more active area of the animal and they are going to be tougher. You will want to use moist-cooking methods with these that take longer. The beef will get very soft and will have a very savory flavor that is common with slower cooked beef. If you get a pot roast from the chuck section, it will have more fat and more great flavor.


 Beef Brisket


This is a cut that is boneless from the breast area of the animal. It is tougher and is best cooked by braising or stewing. You can buy a whole brisket, point cut and middle cut. The point half also may be called the thick cut. All of these cuts of brisket have some fat that you can trim off. However, the fat will give more flavors to the final dish.


 Beef Stir Fry


The big thing to remember when stir-frying is to have equal size pieces so that you get it to cook right. You also can save some time by buying packages that are already cut. But it will be cheaper to cut it yourself. You can use any beef cut that is somewhat tender for this purpose. It is much easier to cut your meat into small pieces if you freeze it for about 30 minutes before cutting.




Lawrence Reaves writes for kitchen appliance companies, Hamilton Beach -http://www.hamiltonbeach.com and for Proctor Silex found at http://www.proctorsilex.com

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