Tips for Selecting the Right Beef Cuts for Your Meal and Budget

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference in beef cuts or grades, your questions will be answered with this guide to the right cuts of meat for your meal.

When we stand at the butchers counter, most of us may wonder what is the difference between a top sirloin and a porterhouse. If you ever come across a good beef cookbook, you will be able to appreciate a good diagram of beef cuts.

Beef is the widely consumed animal protein through out the world when compared to any other meat. Hence it is important for a good steward to select a good piece of beef for his wonderful recipe.

Grading of beef cuts
The beef is usually graded into three categories based on its quality by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Grades are specified after taking into consideration the color, appearance, meatís consistency and last but not least the amount of marbling in the beef. The Graded beef is classified as follows:

Prime meat
Choice meat
Select meat

Prime Meat
The meat, which is having more marbling, is termed as Prime meat. This is usually found in fine restaurants.

Select Meat
The select meat consists of less marbling, which means low fat and less calories. But it wonít be as tender as that of prime and also contains less juice and flavor.

Choice Meat
Choice meat consists of more marbling than Select meat but less marbling than Prime meat. But it is somewhat tender than Select and also juicy and flavor than select.

Beef Cuts
The names of the beef cuts vary between countries. Sometimes it varies within the regions of the country also. The rear section of the carcass is termed as Rounds in US, but in Canada it is called hip. Here is a break down of some common cuts of beef:

Rib eye
This is the top cut preferred by most of the beef connisieurs. This is characterized by abundant marbling. When you cook this beef cut, the rib eye gets melted into the meat and produces a juicy tasting recipe. The Rib eye steak is called an Entrecote in French.

Top Sirloin
Lesser grade cut but this is the largest beef cut when compared to other beef cuts. In laymanís terms, a family of four can complete their dinner with one top sirloin. Always prefer to buy prime grade rather than choice and select grades.

As the name suggests, it is not concerned with any kind of house. This beef cut has ample marbling. It is a top loin with good flavor. It has the largest eye and tenderloin. This is being usually used in restaurants with challenge for their customers. They will give entire meal free for those who took all of their 26-ounce steak.

This has been cut from the butt end but should weigh around 24 ounces. A six inches long chateaubriand will weigh around 24 oz. A chateaubriand with Bearnaise sauce served in a dining table is a wonderful delicacy.

Filet Mignon
A well worth costly choice beef cut, if you cook it with pot-roasting. This is most soft with less water beef cut. This donít have intense flavor as that of rib eye and porterhouse.

New York Strip
This is one of the cost-effective beef cut parts. This cheap cut is a t-bone with the tenderloin and also a good quality cut.

This is also one of the cheapest beef cuts. This consists of a full loin eye and medium sized tenderloin. A couple for few delicate bites always prefers this. This smaller tenderloin is not always suitable for heavy meals. For heavy dinner, the customers usually prefer New York Strip.

Ground Beef
Ground beef should not be less than 70% lean. The package will usually indicate whether it is from ground sirloin, or ground round.

Suitable cooking methods
Loins and ribs are the most tender cuts of beef. The loins and ribs should be cooked with high heating methods to improve its taste and tenderness. Broiling, grilling, roasting, sautÈing, and frying are the common methods employed for cooking the loins and ribs.

Pot-roasting, stewing, and steaming are the most preferred methods of cooking the cuts from the round, plate, brisket and flank.

Selecting beef cuts based on cooking methods
Apart from selecting a good beef cut from butcher shop or grocery store, the beef cuts can also be selected based on the method of cooking you preferred to perform.

If you want to cook the beef on a grill, it is always advised to go for tenderized meat rather than tougher cut from the rounds. A beef with minimum of 2 inches thick may require oven roasts. A very tender cut such as loin and rib primal cuts can be oven roasted for better results.

If you want to do Pot roast, it is always to select the beef cuts from round and chuck. Pot roast is the method of boiling the beef in a pot containing liquid in the stove. Standing rump, eye roast are the best pot roast products.


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