Pasture-fed beef cuts
Thinking of buying some pasture-fed meat and wondering what cuts to use…
There are many cuts of beef and many have different regional names at the butchers depending upon the part of the country you live in.
Oxtail is normally cut between the articulations in the bone and needs very long slow cooking.
The meat from a leg of beef produces Shin beef which has wonderful slightly gelatinous tissues running through which when diced produces superb well flavoured moist stewed beef. Leg can be diced for casseroles or minced for slower cooking.
The leg bone or Marrow bone is not just for dogs – when boiled produces superb stock.
Thick Flank or Top Rump is excellent for braising, diced for casseroles or minced for burgers.
Silverside is a superb joint for slow roasting or for pot roasting.
Topside produces a very large joint frequently divided into three smaller joints. It roasts well if a little slower than Sirloin or rib. If the animal is lean it will benefit with added piece of fat or cooking in a lot of dripping.
Rump is the more economical cut for steak. It is made up of three distinct muscles and can be chewier as a steak when fried or grilled. Longer hanging of beef significantly improves Rumps. Rumps make a superb roasting joint which is easy to carve.
Sirloin is the whole joint from the lower middle of the animals back. The Fillet is the muscle found running under the sirloin.
Steaks may be sliced from the sirloin. A T Bone steak is a cross section slice from the sirloin on the bone with a piece of the fillet on one side of the bone and sirloin muscle on the other. Sirloins may be cooked on or off the bone as a supreme roasting joint or sliced as flavoursome tender steak which cooks quickly and is tender even when still pink.
Fillet is one of the smallest muscles and is little used in exercise and is exceptionally tender. It is the most expensive cut of beef.
Although very tender and quick cooking, it has less flavour than sirloin. A fillet can be cooked whole or sliced or prepared into medallions. Fillet of beef is the classic cut used for Beef Wellington.
Flank and Skirt provide excellent meat for casseroles and stews.
Fore Rib or Rib of beef has quite a lot of intramuscular fat which when cooked yields superb moist roasted meat. Well trimmed and sliced produces a Rib Eye Steak which is tender and flavoursome.
Neck or Clod produces excellent stew or minced beef.
Chuck steak comes from the shoulder and is excellent for braising or casseroles.
Brisket can be on the bone but more often is boned and rolled. Thrifty cooks use this for pot roasts although a lot of fat comes out during cooking and needs to be skimmed off. Brisket on the bone forms the basis for excellent soup.
Minced Beef – The quality depends entirely on which particular muscle has been used and how well the butcher has trimmed out the fat. For Burgers you really need mince from better cuts such as silverside or skirt which has been well trimmed. For Chilli or Lasagne slow cooking uses the cheaper cuts producing well tenderised meat.
Kidneys – beef kidneys are used mostly diced and mixed with cubed stewing meat to make Steak and Kidney Pie. Kidneys need to be well cooked to tenderise them.
Liver from beef animals is coarse in texture and quite strong in flavour but is excellent in Pates.
The hard fat deposited around the kidney makes excellent suet for xmas mincemeat or renders down to make superb dripping for roasting potatoes or chips.
Wild birds enjoy a piece hung out in winter on the bird table too !
For good stewing meat remove all the gristle but not all the fat as the fat adds moisture and flavour. Cut into 2.5 cm or 1 “ cubes or larger. Too small pieces are difficult to seal and may become dry and shred during cooking.
Which cuts to cook in which way ?
|Roasting||Grilling and Frying||Pot Roasting, Braising, And Stewing||Pies|
|Clod ( neck )||x|