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Beef Cuts Guide

Beef CutsHere is a basic breakdown of the major cuts of beef most often served:

Short Loin
This section contains the most sought after cuts, including the tenderloin muscle which is extremely tender with a very mild beef flavor as well as T-bone and porterhouse steaks which are cut from the short loin. Expect to pay dearly for these cuts.

Rib
Prime rib and rib-eye steaks come from this section and are both known for having a fantastic beef flavor as well as being tender. While, generally, not as expensive as cuts from the short loin, these cuts are pricey but generally well worth the cost.

Sirloin
Sirloin cuts come as both steaks and roasts. Leaner than most other cuts, sirloin cuts are some of the most versatile, offering many uses at a reasonable price. We prefer sirloin for our beef kabobs, Beef Stroganoff, Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo, Shanghai Beef and more.

Brisket
This is a tough cut with quite a bit of connective tissue. Cooked “low and slow” for BBQ or as a roast (best served in roasting juices) is the only way to prepare beef brisket. Corned beef is prepared from brisket and is slow cured to break down the connective tissue.

Flank
The flank section is a lean and typically healthier cut. Flank steaks are mostly marinated, grilled and offered as "London Broil". Skirt steak fajita meat comes from the flank section.

Chuck
Meat from this section, while flavorful and fatty, is full of connective tissue and very tough. Grinding chuck meat for hamburgers, spaghetti or taco meat is generally the best approach.

Planning Tip
When serving higher end beef cuts such as tenderloin or prime rib, it is a good idea to have the meat sliced on site to order. Pre-slicing will result in a less juicy and less appealing product. Plus, having a carving station always adds class to an event! This is also a nice touch for a more upscale BBQ menu event as freshly sliced BBQ brisket will taste much better than brisket sliced hours earlier.

What’s in the grade?
There are three primary grades with sub-grades within each. The primary grading criteria are #1 – the amount of fat marbling within the meat and #2 – the maturity (physiological age) of the animal.

Prime – Heavily marbled, tender and flavorful
Choice – Moderately marbled, good flavor and value
Select – Lightly marbled, tough and lacking flavor

Angus Beef
While a lot of places, including fast food restaurants, have been proudly stating that they serve Angus Beef, it is generally better to focus on paying for a higher grade of beef than relying on the Angus designation.

 

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