Use the Cuts of Beef guide to help you decide the best match for the recipe you want to cook. As with most large animals, different beef cuts are better suited for different recipes and cooking methods. The most tender cuts are generally used for frying and grilling. Remember that many of the value cuts deliver the richest and deepest flavours; longer cooking breaks down the denser fibres creating tender meat in a thicker delicious sauce or gravy.
During the animal’s life different parts of the body will develop in different ways depending on the amount of work they do. This means that individual cuts will have differing proportions of muscle, fat and connective tissues. For example, those that have worked the hardest, such as the neck (which is constantly moving about as the animal grazes), will build up more fibre and sinew.
Our cows are a mixture of Angus Cross Shorthorn Friesian and Galloway Cross Shorthorn Friesian.
Chuck & Blade - This cut is often sold as Braising Steak, which is a little more tender than Stewing Steak. Best used in casseroles, stews and braised.
Fore Rib - Can be sold: “Boned and rolled”, “French trimmed” or “On the bone”. This cut has good marbling throughout the flesh and with excellent fat cover on the outside making for a superb roast. It can also be cut into “Ribeye steak” for grilling, frying or BBQ.
Sirloin - This is typically sold “boned and rolled”. Sirloin is a prime cut which is suitable for a classic Sunday roast. Sirloin steak comes from the same area but cut into steaks such as “T”-bone, Porterhouse and Entrecote. These steaks are suitable for grilling, frying, stir-fries and barbecuing.
Beef Fillet also comes from this area and is probably the most prized cut of beef. The fillet is very lean and tender; as a steak it is suitable for quick cooking under the grill or frying. Larger pieces are used for classic dishes such as Beef Wellington. Other fillet cuts include Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, Tournedos and Chateaubriand.
Rump – Although this is a prime cut, the rump is often cheaper than fillet or sirloin because it is not quite as tender. However, many people say that it has a far superior flavour to the sirloin or fillet. Rump can be cut down into steaks which are suitable for quick cooking such as frying, stir-fry, grilling or the barbecue.
Silverside & Topside - Silverside was traditionally salted and sold as a boiling joint or salt beef. This very lean piece of meat is now frequently sold unsalted as a joint for roasting. It is often recommended to baste the joint regularly whilst cooking. Topside is also a very lean joint and often has a layer of fat tied around it to help baste and keep it moist. This is also suitable to cut into steaks for frying or grilling and in stir-fries.
Oxtail - One of the most flavoursome and inexpensive cuts of beef . Oxtail is generally sold cut into individual vertebra. Long and slow braising will release their excellent rich flavour.
Thick Flank - This joint is also known as Top Rump which is good for slow roasting as a joint or braised in pieces. It is also commonly sold as “stir fry” strips or flash fry steak.
Onglet – A barrel-shaped muscle cut from along the spine. Onglet is slowly becoming more popular in the UK as a well flavoured, textured steak cut. It has a strong, almost offally flavour and needs careful preparation in the kitchen, but is worthwhile whether it be served pink or stewed until tender.
As a steak: get your grill or frying pan extremely hot – a heavy-based pan is best. Season the meat just as it goes in, and cook for six minutes, turning 2-3 times. Don’t move the steak around unless you are turning it over, as you’ll prevent it from forming a crust. Rest well. To serve, slice into pieces across the grain before plating up.
As a braise: Onglet makes a brilliant braising steak. Cut into relatively large chunks, quickly sear, then slowly braise in a little stock and a tin of tomatoes until really tender. Serve large pieces of tender meat with creamy mashed potatoes.
Thin Flank – A flat sheet of muscle taken from the belly of the beast, it is quite often known as “Skirt”. It’s quite a textured cut of meat which has plenty of fat marbling, this makes it incredibly moist and flavoursome. Similar to Onglet, it can be flash fried or casseroled, served rare or meltingly tender respectively. This cut is great for Mexican dishes such as Fajitas, just be sure to slice the meat across the grain into fairly thin, tasty ribbons.
Leg & Shin – Generally sold as Stewing Steak and is best suited for long, slow cooking to breakdown the high proportion of connective tissues and denser fibres. It makes excellent make thick sauces and gravy.
Thin Rib - One of the denser cuts and is usually sold as minced meat.
Brisket – Usually sold “boned and rolled” and sometimes salted. This joint is suitable for slow cooking or pot roasting. Brisket is the cut traditionally used for making corned beef. It is also used for lean mince.
Thick Rib – Typically sold as Braising Steak. This cut is somewhat more tender than Stewing Steak and is ideal for use in casseroles, stews and for braising.
Clod - This is an economical cut which is full of flavour but significantly less tender than other cuts. The clod comes from the middle of the shoulder and is usually sold as Stewing Steak or used in burgers. It is ideal for slow cooking in stews.
Neck - This cut is also generally sold as Stewing Steak. Long and slow cooking will release a good flavour and produce a tasty gravy or sauce.
Liver - Beef liver is incredibly strong in flavour. It is generally recommended to stew it with bacon, onions and vegetables rather than flash-frying as you would do with calves’.
Kidney - A strange looking thing made up of lots of different circular blobs. Make sure you trim off any fat and gristle before chopping for use. Ideal for use in a particularly beefy steak and kidney pie. Beef kidneys are quite strong in flavour, which is why many cooks use lambs’ kidneys in a stew. The fat from around the kidneys is known as suet, an essential ingredient for making a proper steamed pudding.
Heart - Beef Heart is probably the hardest working muscle of them all, which means although it can be tough, it’s incredibly lean too. The heart is commonly stewed over a long period of time until it is tender, alternatively it can be trimmed and very thinly sliced, then marinated and seared or grilled.
Last edited on mlApr 22nd, 2015