Beef is divided into primal cuts. Chuck, rib, brisket, shank and plate cuts all comprise the forequarter cuts while loin, sirloin, round and flank all make up the hindquarter cuts. These following are the basic sections from which steaks are cut and should be prepared according to their specific cut.
The typical chuck steak is a rectangular cut and is about 1” thick. Chuck also commonly contains parts of the shoulder bones. This cut is typically grilled or broiled or in the case of a thicker version, can be cooked with liquid as a pot roast.
This cut of beef is from the rib section of the animal. The entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve of the animal while standing rib roasts consist of two to seven ribs. Ribs are typically roasted but can also be grilled, broiled or prepared in a skillet depending on the cut. Ribeye steaks are also cut from the rib section.
The loin cut yields types of steak such as the filet, Delmonico, and New York Strip. These cuts are typically grilled, broiled or prepared in the skillet. The tenderloin roast is the sole loin cut that should be roasted.
The sirloin steak is cut from the rear back portion of the animal. This cut produces top sirloin, T-bone and porterhouse steaks. These cuts should be prepared by skillet, grilled or broiled.
A round steak is a lean cut that is moderately tough. Round steak is commonly prepared with marinade and braised to maintain moisture.
Shank and Brisket
The shank cut is a very lean cut from the leg portion of the animal. It is best cooked for a long time in moist heat. Brisket is cut from the breast or lower chest of the animal. Brisket are most commonly cooked using the “low and slow” cooking method to ensure that the meat remains tender.
Plate and Flank
The plate cut is from the front belly of the cow and produces the skirt steak and hanger steak. Plate cuts are most typically grilled and broiled.
Flank steaks are long and flat cuts of meet and are used in dished such as London broil. Moist cooking methods should be utilized when cooking these cuts of beef.
Other cuts of beef include ground beef, cube steak, beef for stew, beef for kebabs and beef for stir fry or fajitas. Each should be prepared specific to their unique cut.