Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When you look at a steakhouse menu how often do you really know the difference between a ribeye and a NY strip, between filet mignon and a rump roast? It takes some research to know how each cut of beef differs from its counterparts, and if you're a Yumologist knowing these differences can help you develop recipes appropriate for each cut.

Wikipedia has laid out the differences in each cut in a user-friendly list below and the diagram above:

Forequarter cuts
  • The chuck is the source of bone-in chuck steaks and roasts (arm or blade), and boneless clod steaks and roasts, most commonly. The trimmings and some whole boneless chucks are ground for hamburgers.
  • The rib contains part of the short ribs, rib eye steaks, prime rib, and standing rib roasts.
  • The brisket is used for barbecue, corned beef and pastrami.
  • The foreshank or shank is used primarily for stews and soups; it is not usually served any other way due to it being the toughest of the cuts.
  • The plate is the other source of short ribs, used for pot roasting, and the outside skirt steak, which is used for fajitas. The remainder is usually ground, as it is typically a cheap, tough, and fatty meat.
Hindquarter cuts
  • The loin has two subprimals, or three if boneless:
    • the short loin, from which club, T-Bone, and Porterhouse Steaks are cut if bone-in, or New York strip and filet mignon if boneless,
    • the sirloin, which is less tender than short loin, but more flavorful, can be further divided into top sirloin and bottom sirloin (including tri-tip), and
    • the tenderloin, which is the most tender. It can be removed as a separate subprimal, and cut into fillets, tournedos or tenderloin steaks or roasts (such as for beef Wellington), or can be left on wedge or flat-bone sirloin and T-bone and Porterhouse loin steaks.
  • The round contains lean, moderately tough, lower fat (less marbling) cuts, which require moist cooking or lesser degrees of doneness. Some representative cuts are round steak, eye of round, top round and bottom round steaks and roasts.
  • The flank is used mostly for grinding, except for the long and flat flank steak, best known for use in London broil, and the inside skirt steak, also used for fajitas. Flank steaks were once one of the most affordable steaks, because they are substantially tougher than the more desirable loin and rib steaks. Many recipes for flank steak use marinades or moist cooking methods, such as braising, to improve the tenderness and flavor. This, in turn, increased the steaks' popularity; when combined with natural leanness, increased prices have resulted.
So heat up your grill, skillet or oven and start expeimenting with great beef recipes!



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