No matter how you cut it (quite literally), beef is something most of us crave with a vengeance. Whether it's filet mignon, short ribs or rocky mountain oysters, one bovine beauty holds a craveworthy dish for just about everyone. Knowing where your cut of steak or slab of ribs derive helps you better understand the best techniques to use to cook it and the ideal dishes in which to use each part to really let the beef shine.
We are going to delve in and divide up the cow into the "primal cuts" and from there break it down into the individual retail cuts and share some basic options of what you can do with each slice of meat. (Page 14 of our Traeger Everyday cookbook also lists this breakdown with a handy diagram.) As a general rule of thumb, the most tender cuts of beef are those that are the furthest from the horn and the hoof, meaning they don't get a good workout which prevents them from getting tough and chewy.
Beef chuck is a tougher cut of meat because of all of the connective tissues, but it's ideal for braised dishes like roasts or stews.
Beef round is crying for some moist-heat (think pot roast) because although it is lean, it can be relatively tough.
- Round Steak
- Top Round
- Bottom Round
- Ground Beef
- Heel of Round
- Hind Shank
Flank steak could use a good marinade to help tenderize it, but then it becomes absolutely irresistible.
The plate has a fair amount of cartilage, so it's good for braising or even ground beef.
This cut comes from the leg muscles, making it tough. That means it needs that low and slow attention.
The shank is just about as tough as it gets so it needs a long cooking time. The famous and unctuous Italian dish, Osso Buco, is made using the shank.
- Knuckle Soup Bone
- Cross Cut Fore Shank
Because it comes from the center section of the rib, beef rib is tender and can be used for dry-heat cooking methods.
Some of our favorite steak cuts come from the short loin. Sear them off with some high heat and a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
This cut of meat is tender and made even more delicious with the kiss of the Traeger, by either grilling, barbecuing or roasting.
Check out this awesome meat breakdown for more information.