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Recommended Butcher Cuts

Friday, September 17, 2021 9:09 AM


Have you ever wondered where different cuts of beef come from? If so, you’re not alone. Knowing the answer to this question can make you a savvy shopper at your local butcher and expand your cooking options.

It’s easy to understand why it’s hard to pick the correct cut of beef, especially since some stores can carry more than 50 types of beef products. And while there are some United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards that dictate meat labeling, very few apply to cuts of beef available from your local retail butcher. 

Fortunately, we’re here to help take the guesswork out of choosing a cut of beef. Use our guide to help you understand the different cuts of beef and some tips on how to prepare them best!

There are eight main cuts of beef known as the primal cuts, which are then cut into more minor subprimal cuts shipped to local markets for final cutting and preparation. The final cuts, or portion cuts, are the cuts of meat (i.e., steaks, roasts, ribs) that you’ll find in your local market. 

Understanding these main cuts of beef and what makes them distinctive is all your need to make informed choices to make a delicious meal:

  • Chuck (Shoulder). Chuck is probably the most common cut of beef due to its versatility and lower price point. It’s typically a firmer cut, but it’s also very flavorful and can be prepared in various ways, making it great for any style of cooking. Popular portion cuts for chuck include ground chuck (hamburgers), pot roast, flat-iron steak, and stew meat. 
  • Rib. The notable features of rib cuts include tenderness, fatty marbling, and a distinct flavor. Rib cuts tend to be pricier than other cuts. The types of rib portion cuts include ribeye steak, beef short ribs, and ribeye roast. Cooking tip: this cut is better slow-cooked than grilled. 
  • Loin. The priciest cut of beef, the beef loin is very tender and consists of two subregions: short loin and sirloin. The short loin is the more tender of the two cuts. Common types include filet mignon, New York Strip, t-bone, and porterhouse. Sirloin steak, top sirloin, and tri-tip roast are common sirloin cuts. Both cuts dry out quickly, so they’re best served grilled or fried. 
  • Round (Back End). A lean and inexpensive cut, the round portion is a tougher cut of beef. You’ll commonly find round roasts, round steak, and tip roast in stores. Due to its leanness, prepare this cut using a high heat cooking or slow-cooking method. 
  • Flank (Abdomen). Flank is a boneless cut yet is still flavorful despite being a tough cut of beef. Due to the higher demand for flank, its popularity and price have increased. Both flank cuts – flank steak and skirt steak – are best grilled at high heat. 
  • Short Plate (Belly). These cuts tend to be tough and fatty as well as less expensive. You can find these common portion cuts at the store: marbled short ribs, hanger steak, pastrami, and ground beef. 
  • Brisket (Chest). A favorite at barbeques and picnics, brisket has a fatty and tough texture. However, when prepared correctly, you achieve melt in your mouth perfection. There are only two cuts of brisket widely available – brisket point and brisket flat. Always tenderize and marinate before slow cooking, as there’s a slim margin between a juicy and a dry brisket. 
  • Shank (Thigh). By far, the shank is the toughest cut of beef. Due to lack of demand, it’s not available in stores. But if you do find it, it’s a great and inexpensive alternative for lean ground beef or stew meat. Because of its dryness, cook the shank for a long time in moist heat. 

Bunting’s Cedar Market is your friendly small-town market and gas station, with a large selection to offer! We have a full line of groceries, fresh produce, and a deli with so many things to offer it’s hard to list them. In addition, Bunting’s is the only gas station in Leelanau County that offers Rec Fuel for all your recreational needs. Call us at 231-228-7460 or visit our new website!