1The Chuck Chuck steaks are great for slow cooking, stewing, or prepared braised. It is a large cut of beef from the forequarter of a steer, including the shoulder and surrounding areas. Because this part of the animal is more muscular from exercise, chuck steaks can be somewhat tough while also packed full of flavor. This is a perfect cut of meat for recipes that include marinades and cooking slow for added tenderness.
2The Rib The primal cut known as the rib is the top section of ribs 6-12. Left whole, this cut is often used for prime rib or a standing rib roast, however it is also cut into individual ribeye steaks. This is also the one section of the cow that is used to “grade” the entire cow for quality. The rib cut is one of the most tender cuts and has extensive marbling when compared to most other cuts. This cut is best cooked hot and fast, whether that is through grilling, pan searing, or deep frying. Using this cooking style with the extensive marbling makes for a cut that will quite literally melt in your mouth.
3Loin The loin is the primal cut located just below the backbone, between the round and the rib cuts. This cut is arguably the most tender cut on the entire cow, as well as being extremely juicy. The loin is one of the most popular cuts for grilling, thought can also be broiled. The key with any method is to cook the cut quickly and with high heat to give a good sear and maximize the flavor and juiciness of the cut.
4Tenderloin While not a primal cut, the tenderloin deserves it’s own recognition, as it is where we get filet mignon steaks or tenderloin roasts from. Few will dispute that the tenderloin is the most tender cut on cattle. Preferred cooking methods include grilling, broiling, as well as reverse searing. All of these cooking methods will produce a finished steak that is juicy, tender, and a sure-fire hit for any occasion.
5Round Typically, the largest of all the primal cuts, the round is made of the back hind leg of cattle. Due to its extreme leanness, cuts from the round are best cooked to medium-rare and sliced very thin. Popular low and slow cooking methods are less popular due to the low collagen content, which can lead to drying out of the meat if cooked too long. Due to this, the round is very popular for dishes like roast beef.
6Brisket Perhaps no other cut has enjoyed such a rapid rise in popularity in recent years like the brisket. A long-time staple in BBQ belt states such as Texas, brisket is one of the most flavorful cuts, but must be cooked slowly over many hours to avoid toughness. The brisket is often used in parts as either pot roast or corned beef when not cooked whole in a smoker.
7The Plate The cut just below the rib is known as the plate and is often cut into commonly known cuts such as skirt steak or short ribs. Skirt steak has extremely coarse muscle fibers, necessitating that it be cut against the grain, while short ribs are often cooked very slowly to help breakdown the juicy cartilage, Despite the coarse fibers, skirt steak is extremely flavorful when cooked very quickly over high heat.
8Flank The flank is the section of the cow located just behind (closer to the rear leg) the plate and below the loin. The flank is easily overcooked, careful attention must be paid to ensure it doesn’t become tough. One of the most common cooking methods is marinating, cooking very quickly over high heat, then slicing very thinly before serving. However, braising also yields mouthwatering results.
9Shank The cut located at the top of each leg is known as the shank and is the key ingredient in the famous Osso Buco dish. The shank is home to some of the highest concentrations of connective tissue, so cooking slowly to break down all of the connective tissue is critical. Alternatively, some prefer to just have the shank ground into ground beef instead.