Most of us know the basic differences in steak cuts, in fact we have covered them here on the Stone Grill blog before. But what about beef? Do you know the difference between your brisket and your onglet? I must admit that until I began working with a chef, I had no idea there were so many cuts. So without further ado, here is a quick guide to the more popular beef cuts.
Brisket is tough meat with quite a bit of fat taken from the chest area between the shoulders. It is working muscle, so needs slow cooking to get the best out of it. Think slow roasting, smoking or using in a slow cooker with lots of flavouring. As a fatty meat, it renders well adding a lot of flavour to any dish.
Chuck steak, also known as braising steak is taken from around the shoulders and is usually sold diced. It is a working muscle so can be tough. It lends itself well to stews, pies, slow cooking, casseroles and any dish that cooks slow with lots of liquid.
A fillet of beef is the highest rated cut around right now and is priced accordingly. Taken from the lower centre of the back, it has done the least work of all muscles making it very tender. There is very little fat too, which helps it cook very quickly. A fillet steak should be seared over a very high heat while a larger fillet lends itself well to beef Wellington or chateaubriand.
Onglet is a little known cut also known as hanger steak. It is becoming more popular in restaurants because of its very meaty flavour. Taken from the lower abdomen, the meat needs careful cooking to get the best out of it. It can be served rare or be slow cooked for best results.
Beef shin is one of the cheapest cuts there is and is often sold as stewing steak. Taken from the foreleg, the muscle will have worked hard and can be tough. However, cook it low and slow and it is a very flavoursome meat that can add masses of flavour to a stew, casserole or pie.
Silverside is one of the more popular roasting joints taken from just above the leg. It has a think silver layer of tissue that give it is name. As lean meat, silverside needs careful cooking to stop it drying out.
Skirt is by the lower abdomen and ribs, close to the onglet. It can be tough but is full of flavour if done right. Skirt has a tough layer of tissue that has to be removed before cooking to get the best out of it. Like other tougher cuts, skirt lends itself well to slow cooking, being marinated or stews.
Topside comes from the inner thigh of a cow and comes with a thin layer of fat around it. It’s ideal for roasting as it is tender, easy to cut and contains quite a bit of moisture.