Cuts of Beef

It is important as a consumer to know the different cuts of beef available in order to ensure you are getting the right cuts for your needs.  First, always remember the most tender cuts are found in the areas furthest from the horn and the hoof.  This is because the neck and legs are what the cow uses the most during its life.  The more a muscle is used, the tougher the meat and the tougher the meat, the longer is needs to cook in order to be tender.

A whole cow is first divided into two sides.  Each side is then further divided into two main sections called the forequarter and the hindquarter. 

Beyond that, there are 8 primal cuts: Chuck, Rib, Brisket, Shank, Short Plate, Flank, Round, and Loin.

Chuck: Known to be a very economical cut, it has a rich flavor but the toughness caused by the connective tissue requires it to be cooked in a slow and low manner like beef stew or pot roast..  Common cuts include chuck roast, arm roast, flatiron steak, boneless short ribs.

Rib: The rib area yields both ribs and steaks.  This portion of meat is known for its marbled and flavorful quality. Common cuts include ribeye (bone-in and boneless), back ribs, rib roast.

Brisket: Slow-cooking methods render tender beef with this cut.  This section is often used for BBQ beef and when cured can be turned into pastrami or corned beef.  Common cuts include whole brisket, front cut, corned beef.

Shank: As the top portion of the leg, this is considered the toughest cut of beef and most often used for making stock, soup, and stew.  Common cuts include beef shank.

Short Plate: The short plate is from the abdominal section of the cow.  These cuts are very economical, fatty, and flavorful.  Most often these cuts are best when marinated and thinly cut, like when used for fajitas.  Common cuts include skirt steak.

Flank: This cut like the short plate is best suited for marinating and braising.  Most notably used in London Broils.  Common cuts include flank steak.

Round: The round is a leaner cut because it is the back leg of the cow.  Due to the minimal amount of marbling, these cuts should be cooked slowly and are best used for pot roast, ground round and jerky.  Common cuts include round steak, eye of round, top round,  bottom round steaks and roasts

Loin: There are multiple parts to the loin section.  The sirloin section is a flavorful section great for slow-cooking, roasting, and barbecuing.  Common cuts are sirloin steak, top sirloin steak, tri-tip roast. The short loin section contains the most popular and most tender cuts.  These are best used for grilling and pan-searing.  Common cuts include beef tenderloin, top loin steak, T-bone steak, filet mignon, NY strip, and porterhouse steak. 

Check out this link for more information:

I even recommend printing this chart and hanging it on your fridge.  

View the cuts we have available below.

Melissa George