Beef Cuts: What’s the Difference?

Beef Cuts

Do you know the difference between a flat iron, ribeye, or sirloin and a shell steak?

I’m sure you know cuts of chicken more than beef. Keeping track of all the cuts can be challenging unless you are a dedicated steak eater. It’s not only important to learn the cut of meat, but it’s also crucial to know what cooking method is best.

Let’s learn the basic beef cuts of meat, what they can do, and where they come from.

Read on to learn the most popular beef cuts and which method to use when preparing them.

Primal Cuts

Primal cuts are large cuts of meat taken from the unprocessed carcass, typically larger and more irregular in shape. They are also generally more flavorful due to their higher fat content. However, they can be more difficult to cook evenly and are often more expensive.

There are eight primal cuts of beef, typically cut into smaller pieces to sell at the butcher or grocery store. Each of these primal cuts comes from a different cut of meat on a cow and has a unique flavor, tenderness, and purpose. The eight primal cuts are:

  1. Chuck

These cuts are generally more rigid and fattier than other cuts, but they can be just as delicious when cooked properly. The most popular cuts from the chuck are the chuck roast, flat iron, and chuck eye roast.

Chuck roast is a type of beef that is often used for stewing. This cut of beef is from the shoulder area of the cow, and it has a lot of connective tissue. This means that it can be chewy if not cooked properly.

The flat iron is a great cut of beef for grilling, roasting, or pan-frying, and can be cooked to medium-rare without becoming tough. This cut is taken from the chuck shoulder part of the cow and is known for its excellent flavor and tenderness. When shopping for a flat iron steak, look for one that is well-marbled with fat, as this will ensure a juicy, flavorful best steaks.

The chuck eye roast comes from the shoulder of the cow and has a moderate amount of marbling. A chuck eye roast is a great option for a budget-friendly roast. It’s a less tender roast than other options. However, it’s still a flavorful cut of meat.

  1. Rib

Ribs are one of the most popular cuts of beef, but there are a few different types of ribs that you can select. The most common type of rib is the back ribs. It is taken from the back portion of the cow, and they are usually cut into individual ribs and then roasted or grilled.

Back ribs are considered a more fatty cut of meat than other types of ribs; however, they are also considered to be more flavorful. When cooked properly, beef back ribs can be a delicious and satisfying meal.

Another type of rib is the short ribs, which come from the rib primal. Short ribs are one of the most flavorful and tender beef cuts, and they are perfect for slow cooking methods. They can be either boneless or bone-in.

  1. Loin

Loin cut is very tender and juicy and is often the most expensive. The reason it’s so costly is that it’s the most delicate part of the beef, and it’s also the smallest.

The other type of loin cut is the strip loin, which is a little more tough but still very juicy. It’s a little cheaper than the tenderloin, but it’s still a good cut of beef.

  1. Sirloin

Sirloin refers to a cut of beef from the cow’s hindquarters. This area produces some of the best cuts of beef, and sirloin is no exception. The meat is very tender and has a lot of flavors.

When it comes to cooking, sirloin is good for grilling, roasted, or even stir-frying. Sirloin is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy option.

  1. Brisket

When it comes to brisket, there are two main types of cuts: the flat cut and the point cut. The flat cut is taken from the breast section of the cow and is typically thinner and more consistent in thickness than the point cut. It is ideal for cooking methods that require longer cook times, such as smoking or braising.

The point cut is a cut of beef taken from the lower part of the brisket and often marbled with fat. This cut is used for roast beef or pot roast. It is also a good cut for stewing. The point cut has a lot of flavors and is a good choice for those who want a hearty meal.

  1. Shank

Another significant difference between shank and beef cuts is that shank contains more connective tissue than other cuts. This makes the shank less tender than further cuts and gives it more flavor.

Another difference is that shank is a bit tougher to chew. This is because the shank contains more muscle than other cuts.

  1. Plate

The “plate” is a section of the cow that lies between the ribs and the hip. It’s a well-exercised area of the animal, resulting in flavorful and tender meat. Because of the amount of fat marbling throughout the plate, this cow section is often used for ground beef.

  1. Flank

Flank steak is a popular beef cut that is lean and versatile. You can grill, pan-fry, or even roast them. Flank steak is a good choice for recipes that call for braising or marinating, as it will retain its flavor and stay moist, which makes it the best steak. 

The Different Beef Cuts of Meat

There are many different beef cuts, each with its unique flavor and texture. When choosing beef cuts of meat, it is essential to consider what you will be using it for. If you are looking for a tender, juicy steak, then you will want to choose a different cut than if you are looking for a hearty stew.

Beef cuts meat can be confusing, but once you know what you are looking for, it is easy to choose the perfect one for your meal. Specific cuts are better for grilling, while others are better for slow cooking.

Are you looking for some fantastic southern BBQ options? Check out the rest of our blog articles about food and restaurants.