Cuts of Beef

 

Are you confused by the names used for the various cuts of beef?  We are here to help.

 

 

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A Guide To Beef Cuts & Cooking Techniques

The array of names used to describe various cuts of beef is bewildering at times.  Each culture uses different names and techniques for butchering a cow and often times multiple names exist for the same cuts of beef.  Our goal in this article is to cover the basics of how beef is broken down in the United States.  We only include the most common cuts of beef you are likely to encounter at your local grocery store or butcher. 

If you want to read a more detailed write up on the history of beef and read more about the cultural differences in butchering beef, you should check out the great list of beef articles on Wikipedia

Butchering

Beef is first divided into primal cuts which are large pieces of meat initially separated from the carcass during the initial phases of the butchering process. Once these primal cuts are separated from the carcass, the primal cuts are further divided into smaller sections from which roasts and steaks are cut. 

Unless you are in the wholesale or restaurant business, you are unlikely to ever encounter a primal cut of beef. However, it is helpful to understand what the primal cuts are and from what part of the carcass they come from because they give you a good clue as to the best way to prepare the beef.

A general rule of thumb is the further the distance from the hoof and the horn, the more tender the cut of beef.  If you think about which part of the animal does the most work, it is easier to understand that the more the muscle works, the tougher the meat.  Cuts of beef derived from the animal's legs and neck muscles are usually the toughest becuase those are the muscles that do most of the work. 

Beef Cut Chart

Primal Cut
Roasts Steaks
Chuck
  • Chuck Arm Roast
  • Chuck Shoulder Pot Roast
  • English Roast
  • Chuck-Eye Roast
  • Top Blade Steak
  • Flat Iron Steak*
  • Shoulder Steak
  • Boneless Blade Steak
  • Chuck Arm Steak
  • Chuck Mock Tender Steak

 

Rib
  • Rib Roast
  • Rib Eye Roast
  • Bone In Ribeye
  • Ribeye Steak, Boneless Rib Steak, Rib Steak, Delmonico Steak
Short Loin
  • Tenderloin Roast
  • Porterhouse, T-Bone steak
  • Tenderloin Steak, Filet Mignon, Filet, Chateaubriand
  • Top Loin Steak, NY Strip Steak, Strip Steak, Kansas City Steak, Delmonico Steak, Club Steak, Sirloin Strip Steak
Sirloin
  • Tri-Tip Roast
  • Sirloin Tip Roast
  • Sirloin Steak, Top Sirloin Cap Steak (Coulotte Steak)
  • Tri-Tip Steak
Round
  • Bottom Round Roast
  • Eye Round Roast
  • Round Tip Roast
  • Rump Roast
  • Tip Roast
  • Round Tip Steak,Sirloin Tip Steak, Minute Steak
  • Round Steak if thin cut
  • London Broil if thick cut
Shank & Brisket
  • Brisket Whole
  • Brisket Flat Cut
Plate
  • Skirt Steak, Philadelphia Steak, Fajita Meat
  • Hanger Steak, Butcher's Steak, Hanging Tender Flank
Flank
  • Flank Steak

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