From GoonsWithSpoons
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Beef is the meat of cattle. It can be eaten as steaks, oven roasts, pot roasts, stir-fries, stews, kebabs, short ribs, and ground meat. The offal of cows is also eaten, and the bones are used to make stock.

Cuts of beef[edit]

The upper part of a steer is composed (from front to back) of the chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, and round. The lower part includes the brisket, shank, plate, and flank.

Premium tender steaks are taken from the rib, short loin, and sirloin, as these parts of the steer have little muscle development and are the most tender. Other parts of the steer see more muscle development, and are leaner and tougher. Fatty cuts like ribeye can stand in a dish by themselves, while leaner cuts like tenderloin are often accompanied with sauces or other flavorings.


Chuck is often sold as 7-bone steak or pot roast. The chuck eye, shoulder, and short ribs are cut from the chuck.

Chuck is tougher than premium steak cuts, so it is often braised, or roasted and sliced thin against the grain. Ground beef is most often made from chuck.


The rib section includes 7 ribs (ribs 6 through 12). When left whole, it is known as a rib roast' or prime rib. Back ribs are taken from the top of the prime rib. Slicing prime rib yields rib steak.

Removing the bones from the prime rib yields ribeye roast, which is sliced into ribeye steak. Ribeye is tender, flavorful, and fatty.

Short Loin[edit]

The short loin follows the rib section. It includes the transverse process of the vertebrae, separating the strip loin on the top and the tenderloin on the bottom. This is the shape of the t-bone steak, which is cut from the front end, and the porterhouse steak, which is cut from the rear end. Porterhouse steaks have a larger bone and tenderloin section.

Removing the strip loin and slicing it yields strip steak, New York strip steak, or top loin steak.


The tenderloin stretches between the underside of the short loin to the sirloin. Served whole, it may be called the fillet or tenderloin roast; when sliced, it yields tenderloin steak, often called filet mignon.

Since the tenderloin does little work, it is very lean and tender. However, it may not have as strong a flavor as other steaks.


The sirloin is actually divided into many sections, and includes part of the tenderloin. Removing the bone and tenderloin and slicing yields top sirloin steak. The bottom sirloin is called tri-tip roast, and is usually what is referred to by "sirloin" when it is not marked "top sirloin"; slicing it yields tri-tip steak.

Sirloin is tougher, leaner, and cheaper, but it is still considered premium steak.


Roasts and steaks can be made from the top round, bottom round, eye round, and round tip (also called sirloin tip). If the top, bottom, and eye are included in a steak, it is called round steak.

Lower cuts[edit]

  • Brisket comes from the breast or lower chest. It is often used in barbecue.
  • Shank comes from the leg. It is tough and is often used in soups.
  • Plate comes from the front belly, and includes strip steak.
  • Flank comes from the belly. It is used in London broil, and in Asian stir-fries.

Marbling, color, and firmness[edit]

Marbling refers to the distribution of intramuscular fat, visible as white streaks within the meat. It is the primary indicator of high-quality beef, because as it is cooked, the marbling melts, making the meat juicy, flavorful, and tender.

Beef muscle should be bright red (well-aged beef may have a purple tint), and the fat should be solid and bright.

Well-aged beef will be firmer to the touch, as it will have a lower water content.



Other recipes[edit]

Recipes for beef are filed in Category:Beef.