You have likely eaten at a steakhouse or other establishment where you have to pick a cut of beef. Most people know what they like to order. Some people prefer the rib eye, while others enjoy rump meat that has slow roasted for hours.
However, you might not want to purchase the same cut of beef when you do your own shopping and cooking. After all, your preferred cut may require more skill or patience than you can spare today. Or the meal you have in mind requires a different steak texture and flavor. So how do you pick the right beef cut for your dishes?
Below, we’ve given you a brief guide to the types of steak that best suit different preparation methods and dishes. Most preparation methods work with multiple cuts, so at that point, use taste as your deciding factor.
If you have less than an hour and need a hearty steak to sustain you, you have to use fast cooking methods like grilling, frying or broiling to finish your meal in time. Fast methods, which usually involve dry cooking, only work on certain beef cuts.
Your grill or barbecue creates a high, dry heat, which makes it perfect for preparing tender steaks like those listed below: Loins, including sirloins, tenderloins, NY strip steak, porterhouse steak, and T-bone steak Rib eye steaks and ribs Flank steaks (but it has to marinate first because it is a tougher cut) Top round and London broil steaks These types of steaks make for easy cooking when you plan gatherings with friends or family.
When you fry, you use hot oils that quickly cook through your meat. As a result, you cannot use this cooking method on tougher cuts. The oil and high heat will only make the meat tougher. So, if you plan to fry beef in a stir fry or other dish, stick to these cuts instead: Skirt steak, including New York and Kansas City strip steak Loin cuts, including all those listed above Ribs and rib eye steaks The tenderness of the above-listed meats will optimize your fried dish and help seal in flavors.
The word “roast” evokes images of luscious meat cooking on a spit. And while other roasting methods exist, the effect stays the same. You get a rich, succulent flavor thanks to a high heat that seals all the juices inside. Just remember to differentiate between quick, broil-style roasting and pot roasting—pot roasting uses liquid and hours of cooking to tenderize tough cuts. When you broil or roast your meat quickly, you should only use these cuts: Fillet, Chateaubriand, loins, and other tender muscle steaks Rib eye and ribs (not the thick ribs though) Rump steak You can also pot roast your rump steak if you have the time.
Maybe you want your beef to cook in the crock pot while you run errands or take the family out for a Sunday activity. If you have time to let your meat cook slowly, you can use the preparation methods listed below.
When you braise a steak, you partially immerse it in liquid after lightly frying it to lock the juices inside. When you stew your meat, you don’t fry it first. You just put it into the liquid as you would with all the other ingredients when you make a quintessential stew. Good stewing cuts include: Chuck steaks, including shoulder London broil and other shoulder steaks Shank cuts Plate steaks Round cuts, including bracciole, sandwich, and silverside steaks Rump and oxtails Any of these cuts should make for hearty, flavorful dishes that’ll be worth the wait.
The term “pot roasting” refers, essentially, to cooking a cut of beef in the crock pot. You also add liquid to soften the meat and use a slow heat application to work softness into the steak. The best cuts for this cooking method include: Thick ribs Any beef cuts that list “roast” in their description, such as rump roasts, top round roasts, and shoulder roasts Chuck steaks, including all those listed above Oxtails Brisket.
Of course, feel free to experiment with the steak cut you use in your dishes. But if you stick to the guidelines above, you’ll take yourself one step closer to cooking a perfect cut of beef every time.