We absolutely love beef but finding, preparing, and cooking the best beef cuts and varieties isn’t always easy.
This is why we have written this comprehensive guide.
This guide will look at the different types of beef cuts that you can buy, the various methods you can use to cook them, and the best products that will help you prepare and cook beef like a pro.
What are the Best Beef Cuts and Varieties?
This cut of beef is cut from the shoulder and is usually a bit tougher than other sections. A chuck cut contains many connective tissues such as collagen, and it is ideal for slow cooking to ensure that the finish is tender. You’ll find that the chuck is where hamburgers are made from.
A shank of beef is cut from the leg, and it has a chewy texture. Again, this is another cut of meat that is best left to stew and cook over a long period.
A rib cut of beef is, unsurprisingly, cut from the rib area, and it is very tender and full of flavor. Rib-eye steak is a common cut that you will find from this part of the animal, and it is the perfect cut of beef to use in a smoker.
The loin is cut from the cow’s back, just above the ribs. Like a rib cut, this is very tender and ideal for grilling. Many popular meals use this beef cut, including porterhouse steak and T-bone steak.
Slightly different from the loin, sirloin is cut from around the same area, but it isn’t as tender. Sirloin steak is a prevalent dish, and this is cut from this section. A sirloin cut can be grilled, pan-fried, or even sautéed.
This is a beef cut that doesn’t contain a lot of fat. The round is located at the back for a cow. It is also known as a ‘rump’ cut of beef, and while it can be pretty tough, it is ideal for steaks that have been cooked by braising or roasting.
Types of Beef Cattle
Beef is the meat from cattle. However, there are some common breeds of cattle that can make beef taste different with various textures.
This is the most popular breed of cattle in the USA. Black Angus beef is very high-quality because 50% of its weight is found in the meat. Therefore, you will often find many cuts of steak are made from Black Angus cows.
Beef from highland cattle has abundant nutrients, and these cuts are usually a bit more tender. While highland cattle aren’t as popular for consumption as they used to be, they still offer fantastic high-quality beef cuts.
Originally from Italy, Piedmontese cattle are known for their high-protein content. This is one of the healthiest types of beef as the chemical content is low. It can be hard to find this type of beef sometimes, but it is well worth the hunt.
Beef from Hereford cattle is less expensive than other breeds, but it still offers a fantastic taste. They are instantly recognizable from their white face, and they are often cross-breed with Angus.
The Major Differences Between Beef and Other Meats
One big difference between beef and other meats such as pork is that it can be eaten rare or medium rare.
While meats like pork, fish, and chicken need to be cooked thoroughly before consumption, you can eat many cuts of beef while it is still a bit raw on the inside. Everyone likes their steak cooked a certain way, and rare to medium-rare is a popular choice.
Beef can also have a tougher texture than other meats, so it can appear chewier. Also, beef tends to have a higher fat content than other meats as well, although it is loaded with protein, so it has various health benefits as long as it is eaten in moderation.
Advantages of Cooking and Eating Beef
Beef isn’t just great to eat – it has many health benefits, too, providing it is eaten in moderation. Here are the main advantages of cooking and eating beef.
Rich in protein
Most cuts of beef are very rich in protein, so it is an excellent source of this nutrient. If you need to build muscle or battle fatigue due to lack of energy, beef is a great choice.
It is full of vitamins
Beef isn’t just about protein; instead, it is full of other healthy vitamins that are good for you. This includes niacin, riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12, and it usually has a high zinc content.
Easy to cook
As you can technically eat beef without it being cooked right through, you don’t need to worry about poisoning anyone if it is slightly undercooked. The internal temperature for beef to be cooked safely is between 145 – 160°F
Great choice of cuts
There are many different beef cuts available, which all have different textures and flavors. You have a wide variety of choices regarding beef cuts, and it is very versatile. You can cook steak, Sunday roasts, thin beef strips for stir-fries, hamburgers, ribs, and more with beef.
The Disadvantages of Cooking and Eating Beef
Even though we really like beef and the different cuts you get, there are some downsides to cooking and consuming this type of meat.
Beef is higher in saturated fats than many other types of meat (such as fish). Your body still needs fat, and in moderation, it is actually good for you, but overdoing it can lead to health problems such as clogged arteries and heart issues.
It can be expensive
Beef cuts are readily available, but if you want superior cuts (such as sirloin steaks, for example), it can get quite expensive. Cheap beef cuts still usually taste good if cooked properly; however, you will need to pay that extra money to get prime beef cuts, especially if they are from less common cattle breeds.
Raising cattle for consumption does have a somewhat negative effect on the environment. Fossil fuel usage, water, land consumption, and animal methane emissions all impact the environment; however, it does vary across the world.
Safety Tips When Cooking with Beef
While beef can be a bit safer to cook than other meats (as it isn’t that big a deal if it isn’t completely cooked through), there are some safety tips you should follow.
Beef meat and juices should be kept separate from the other items in your fridge. You should put beef in the refrigerator as soon as possible after your purchase it, and if you are freezing it, make sure to unfreeze and use it by the recommended date.
When cutting beef or leaving it out for a few minutes before cooking, make sure that you use separate cutting boards and utensils. Don’t use the same kitchen tools on different foods as you do on uncooked meat. Also, ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw beef.
The great thing about beef is that it can be cooked to different levels (for example, rare, medium-rare, well-done). Even though you can cook beef so that it is still a bit rare, the internal temperature of the cut should still reach the desired amount to get rid of any bacteria. Also, make sure that you use different plates and boards to set your cooked beef on so that the juices don’t seep into other foods.
Best Methods to Cook Beef
Like chicken, beef, and pork, you can cook chicken in a wide variety of different ways. This is one reason we love it so much because it is so diverse in preparing it.
A popular method of cooking beef is to use a grill. It is an easy way to cook cuts of beef the way you like it, and using a BBQ allows you to get an even finish. You can grill any type of beef, and you can even add flavored charcoal to your grill to enhance the flavor.
Roasting beef is best suited to larger cuts such as the chuck or round. It is a straightforward method to cook beef, as you can roast it in the oven over a long period to ensure it is tender and succulent.
Stir-frying beef is a suitable method for smaller cuts (such as beef strips), and it will cook the meat quickly. Put it into a large frying pan or wok with some oil and stir it continuously until it is cooked properly.
If you want particularly tender beef, slow cooking is an excellent method to achieve this. By putting more significant cuts of beef into a slow cooker, you can leave it for hours until it becomes tender, juicy, and offers an all-around tasty meal.
Braising beef involves cooking the meat for an extended period, and it is ideal for stews. Usually, the cut from the chuck, round, or leg is suitable for braising, and you can add in water and oil to break down the toughness and ensure that the meat is tender.
Where to Find the Best Beef Cuts
Beef is readily available from various places, but where can you find the best beef cuts and varieties?
The ideal place to start is with your local butcher.
The downside is that beef from a butcher is likely to be more expensive, but if you are looking for the best cut of beef, such as a sirloin steak, a butcher is recommended. This is because you don’t just pay for the beef itself, but you also pay for the expert knowledge they have about preparing and cooking it properly.
Supermarkets stock many different beef cuts from steaks, loins, legs, shanks, and more.
They will usually be a bit less expensive than other options, and some supermarkets will stock high-quality and superior beef. You won’t get the expert advice as you do with a butcher, but it is a good budget-friendly option.
Believe it or not, some restaurants will sell you cuts of beef.
They often sell off lesser prime cuts (the best ones are reserved for customers), but they will still be very high-quality. In fact, even their lesser cuts will still be better than what you find in a grocery store or supermarket, so it is worth exploring as an option.
Meat subscription services have become very popular, and beef is no exception.
Many online subscription services and internet-based butchers sell prime cuts of beef. You can also find a wide variety of healthy and organic types of beef, and it is effortless to simply order beef from home and have it delivered to your door.
My Top Recommendations for Beef Cuts and Varieties
Beef can be straightforward to prepare and cook, depending on what cooking method and cut you are using. However, some products will make cooking and eating beef a lot easier.
J.A. Henckels International Stainless Steel Steak Knife – Best Steak Knife
Steak can be tough, and using an ordinary knife during your meal can be challenging. This is why we recommend the J.A. Henckels International Stainless Steel Steak Knife.
It cuts through even fatty and thick steaks with ease and has 4.5-inch steel blades alongside a triple-riveted handle for durability. This set of eight steak knives is perfect for your home and will allow you, your family, and guests to eat steak a lot easier.
It is also dishwasher safe and designed to resist corrosion, so it’ll stay in top shape for years.
Powlaken Instant Read Meat Thermometer – Best Way to Check Beef Is Cooked
The Powlaken Instant Read Meat Thermometer is an essential kitchen item, so you know that your beef cut is cooked correctly.
Even though you can cook cuts of beef such as steaks and shanks rare or medium rare, the internal temperature still needs to hit a certain point to get rid of bacteria.
This easy-to-use thermometer will tell you in just a few seconds what the internal temperature of your cut of beef is, and you can use it on any meat or poultry.
SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block – Best Cutting Board for Beef
Preparing beef can be an arduous process if you need to slice and cut up large sections.
The SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block is very robust as it is made from bamboo, which is a durable material. It is 17 inches long and 13 inches wide, so you can use it to prepare big cuts of beef, and it is easy to wash and maintain.
You also get a lifetime guarantee with this butcher’s block, and it is the perfect addition to your kitchen if you regularly need to prepare beef before you cook it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Beef Cuts and Varieties
Question: What type of beef cuts can you buy?
Answer: There are many different beef cuts that you can buy. The main beef cuts you will most commonly find are chunk, round, leg, shanks, loin, and rib.
Question: Is beef healthy for you?
Answer: In moderation, yes. Red meat does have several downsides, such as a lot of saturated fat, and overeating can lead to heart problems. However, beef also contains many proteins and nutrients, so eating it as part of a balanced diet is healthy.
Question: Is beef expensive to buy?
Answer: It can be. If you go to your local grocery store or supermarket, you will likely find some cheap beef cuts, but they might not be that great quality. Getting the prime beef cuts from a butcher or online service will cost more money.
Question: How do I know that beef is cooked correctly?
Answer: Beef can be cooked in different methods such as rare (still red), medium rare (a little bit red), or well done (no red or pink sections). In addition, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the inside has reached an adequate temperature to remove any bacteria. The internal temperature for beef should be between 145 – 160°F
Question: What is the best way to cook beef?
Answer: It depends. There are numerous ways to cook beef, such as on a grill, to braise, roasting, in a slow cooker, or stir-frying. If you have a particularly tough cut of meat, you can roast or put it in a slow cooker until it comes tender. Thinner slices of beef can be stir-fried and will cook quickly.
Question: Can I freeze beef and use it later?
Answer: Yes. Frozen beef can be defrosted and cooked safely. You should freeze beef as soon as possible after purchase, and different types of beef will last longer in the freezer. Hamburgers, for example, might only last for up to 4 months, but steak cuts can last for up to a year.
Conclusion: The Best Products for Cooking and Eating Beef Cuts and Varieties
There are so many cuts of beef that we never get tired of eating it. Consuming beef in moderation is healthy and provides much-needed nutrients and protein.
While cooking beef can be easier than other meats, some items will make the job a lot more.
If you want to prepare and cook beef like a pro, you’ll need:
Best steak knife – J.A. Henckels International Stainless Steel Steak Knife
Best meat thermometer – Powlaken Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Best cutting board – SoulFino Bamboo Butcher Block
With these items and a good knowledge of the different beef cuts and how to cook them, you will be creating excellent beef meals in no time.