Since the prehistoric period, man has hunted various animals to satisfy his stomach. From wild animals to domestic animals, everything was considered as a part of their meal. But with time, sophistication arose with the fondness of eating these foods.
In the middle ages eating meat was the significance of affluence. Wealthy novelties and other persons of status would only afford to eat meat. But with time, the popularity of beef-eating is spread among the masses.
Hence the people who were consuming beef were curious about where the meat was coming from. Aforementioned gave rise to the different cuts of the beef. Let us see some of the different types of primal cuts that beef goes through. The meat from these different cuts provides the consumer with different fat content.
The basic cuts of beef: An Introduction
Since time immemorial, shopping for portions of beef at the meat shop has been very confusing. When you are not familiar with beef cuts, you will find it difficult to apprehend the meat’s price and size.
Depending on the unique practice that every butcher goes through, they provide several cuts in various ways. And all these cuts originate from the eight primal cuts.
A beef cut is divided into eight primal cuts. Further, these primal cuts are divided into sub-primal cuts. Butchers can also cut these sub-primal cuts into smaller pieces for the selling purpose. The piece of beef that ends up on your meal plate is the final cut. In general terms, it is known as a portion cut.
The flavor fat content tenderness and price of the beef are determined by the kind of cut it suffers. The thumb rule is the more you go away from the hooves and horns, the meat in that area is softer and juicer. It means that the meat is more delicate at the center cut.
Now it must be clear why your meat shop has different price tags on different beef cuts.
The primal Beef Cuts
Let us understand some of these cuts:
From the name, we can understand that these cuts provide meat from the cow’s breast area. The brisket cut is done under the first five ribs of the cow. That is one of the flavorful cuts of beef. One needs to cook this part perfectly. Although this part is the toughest, it provides moderately fatty meat.
The brisket is the pectoral muscle or chest of the animal. One can get coarse-grained made, which are characteristically thicker. It would be best if you spent a lot of time cooking the meat of the brisket cut. The perfect way to cook this meat cut is to cook slowly at a low temperature, helping the meat tenderize and break down the nutrition.
Often the meat sellers sell this cut in two sections. The point cut and the flat cuts are the two sub-primal parts of the brisket cut. Some sellers sell the whole brisket cut as packers cut.
One can use the meat from the brisket cut for making a pot roast. You can also use it for rotisserie smokers or barbecue.
The shank cut lies right in front of the brisket cut. The meat seller finds it one of the toughest cuts out of the other eight cuts. Since the meat is located in the thigh part of the animal, it is full of connective tissues. You can find the shank cut in two pieces, one in the headquarter and the other in the fourth quarter. To make the meat soft and chewy, you need to prepare for this process. As this cut is tough therefore it is mainly used for preparing foods like stews and soups.
You have to cook the shank part for a longer period, allowing the meat to tenderize. There is a famous Italian luxury dish in Osso Buco that can be prepared from Beef shank.
To be precise, you can obtain the rib cut from the animals’ ribs and the backbone area. One can find the meat of rib cuts on the top center section of the rib. The last 6 to 12 ribs on the cow are considered part of the rib cut. Rib cuts are known to have flavorful and tender meat. The rich amount of marbling present on this card enhances the flavor of the meat.
Though it is difficult to describe the rib part of the primal beef cuts, you can also consider the parts directly above the beef plate consisting of the beef short ribs for rib cuts. You can get various food preparations including the famous and classic French entrecote with these rib cuts.
The top part of the animal, just further from the hooves and horns, can find the loin cuts. We get the most desirable cut of meat from this path, including the porterhouse steak, t bone, and the strip steak. The meat of the beef loin cut is about 16 to 18 inches in length. Therefore it can give you 10 to 15 beef steak depending upon the thickness of the meat.
The club steaks come from the first cut steak, whereas the T bones provide center-cut steaks. The butcher may find the porterhouse steak just at the area of sirloin ends.
You should remember that if you remove the tenderloin, there will be no availability of the porterhouse steak or t bone as both of this steak contains a top section of the tenderloin muscle. The best way to cook this part of the meat is to go for dry-heat cooking.
You can find this card from the leg portion of the animal. As the legs get a lot of exercise, therefore meat of this part is tough. You can see the bottom round, and the top round is lean without the contents of collagen. Collagen is a protein that converts into gelatin when you braise it slowly. Therefore if you roast the meat of this part, it won’t be as succulent as any other animal.
But you can use the meat of round cuts to make sandwiches. You can slice the meat thinly and serve it in a beef sandwich.
You can find the chuck cuts in the shoulder region of the animal. This region consists of muscles that are heavily worked out. Due to this reason, the meat is tougher yet flavorful.
Birches divide the Chuck cut into various other cards providing several options to the customer. The shoulder blade, upper arm, and the animal’s neck consist of connective tissues making it the best choice for cooking braised dishes. You can prepare food like pot roast flat iron steak or even beef stew from the Chuck cuts meat.
You can also prepare ground beef stew from ground beef, which you can obtain from the Chuck cuts’ meat.
If you have a grilling machine at home, you can grill the meat of the flank cuts. You can use the meat from this cut to prepare the flank steak. You can quickly grill it in maximum heat but need to be careful about the meat’s marination. A properly marinated meat will provide an awesome taste and prevent the meat from drying out. One can use the meat from the flank cut to make ground beef.
Short Plate Cuts
Bushes need to be careful while going for the short plate cuts of the beef. Since it is attached to an abdominal wall with thick connective tissues, one must be cautious while trimming down this part’s meat. Overcooking can result in extremely chewy meat; whereas if you cook it over high heat, it will produce an extremely flavorful steak.
As the beef plate has a lot of cartilages, it is ideal for braising, provided you allow it to cook in moist heat at a lower temperature. As the fat content of the meat in this cut is fair therefore cooking at a lower temperature will provide you with tastier meat.
With the wide variety of beef cuts, you can achieve several food items. For instance, the meat from the short plate cards needs to be cooked at a lower temperature, whereas the meat from the loin cut needs a higher temperature.
With a wide variety of cooking options like stewing, brazing, grilling, roasting, stir-frying, or barbecue, you can enjoy each meat cut.
The different cuts of the meat from various animal areas provide different tenderness, flavor, and fat levels. Depending on the sort of dish you want to prepare, you have to choose meat from the suitable cuts.
Before going to your meat shop to pick the best cut, you must know about the different cat and their tenderness and flavor level. It will help you choose the meat as per your cooking preference rather than spending time staring blankly at the meat case’s meats.
To indulge in an informed buying decision, you need to keep the above guidelines in mind.