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All About Beef

Filet mignon rib roast, skirt steak, brisket. Beef is one of our favorite types of meat, so we’re taking you through each portion of the cow, breaking down where all the various cuts come from and how they are used.

Parts of a Cow

Chuck: Eye Roast, Blade Steak, Arm Roast, Pot Roast, Rib Roast, Mock Tender, Blade Roast, Short Ribs
The chuck accounts for roughly 25 percent of the cow and is located toward the front of the cow containing portions of the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm. A somewhat tough cut, chuck contains connective tissue that is broken down in a slow cooking process. These cuts are perfect for stewing, roasting and braising. Chuck is also often ground and used for burgers, meatloaves and meatballs since it is not an expensive portion of the cow. If you’re looking to make a beef stew or pot roast, pick up a chuck cut at your butcher.

One of our favorite cuts, the brisket, is what Lone Star State pit-masters slow-smoke over mesquite wood to create the King of Texas BBQ. The brisket is the lower chest portion of the cow and is an extremely tough cut. In fact, back in the day cowboys were left with the brisket after selling off the more desirable cuts. We can thank them for figuring out how to turn these leftovers into one of Texans’ favorite delicacies. Although we use the brisket for BBQ, it can also be cured for pastrami and corned beef.

Fore Shank: Shank Cross Cut
One of the least used portions of the cow, the fore shank is located under the brisket on the upper leg of the cow. It’s most common use is for beef stock or low-fat ground beef.

Plate: Skirt Steak
The underbelly of the cow accounts for roughly six percent of the cuts and is known as the plate. Another inexpensive cut, plate cuts are very flavorful from all the fat and are most often marinated and used for fajitas and stir-fry.

Flank: Flank Steak
Located right behind the plate, the flank is also found on the underbelly of the cow, but made of the abdominal muscles. Another tough cut, flank steaks are often marinated and used for grilling or braising.

Round: Round Steak, Round Roast, Rump Roast, Tip Steak, Tip Roast
As the largest portion of the cow, accounting for roughly 30 percent, round cuts are taken from the leg and backside of the cow. There is minimal fat marbling, which makes it a desirable cut for grinding for burgers and sausage, braising or slow cooking and also for drying to make jerky.

Sirloin: Sirloin Steak, Top Sirloin Steak, Tri-Tip Roast
Located near the rear of the cow, sirloins are a highly desirable cut for steaks because these cuts are extremely flavorful. The tenderloin, the finest and most expensive cut of beef where filet mignon comes from, is located across both the sirloin and short loin portions of the cow.

Short Loin: Top Loin Steak, T-Bone Steak, Porterhouse Steak, Filet Mignon
The most popular cuts of beef come from the short loin portion of the cow. Containing part of the spine and located behind the ribs, short loin cuts are extremely tender and possibly the most flavorful portion of the cow. This is where the classic and most expensive steak cuts, including the New York strip, T-Bone, porterhouse and some filet mignon cuts come from.

Rib: Rib Roast, Rib Steak, Rib Eye Steak, Rib Eye Roast, Back Ribs
Cuts from the rib section of a cow are heavily marbled providing tender and seriously flavored pieces of beef. Roughly 10 percent of the cow, the ribs are also one of the most versatile sections containing, rib eye steaks, which are perfect for grilling; standing rib roast (also know as prime rib), which is slow roasted; and short ribs, which are best when braised.

That rounds out all the major cuts of beef. Do you have a favorite cut? If so, share it with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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