How to Select the Perfect Beef Cut

Beef CutsBeef Cuts Chart

Here are our best tips for selecting beef cuts.

With so many delicious steak cuts out there, how do we ever find the perfect barbecue steak? Do the various steak cuts confuse you? Well, just read on as I try to sort it out . .

Knowledge is power, so they say. The aim of this article is to try and help you sort out the confusion behind the different cuts of beef, and to help you pick the right grade and cut of meat for you. Once you know what to look for and to expect, you will find it even simpler to pick out the best cut for a delicious steak or roast meal.

Insights to Finding the Perfect Beef Cut

Beef Grade: The grade is your main guide to the quality of the meat, in terms of marbling and age. The age of the animal and marbling determine the grade of the meat, and is usually determined by a governmental agency. In the United States, this is the US Department of Agriculture. In the US, grades are Prime, Choice and Select. Prime is the highest quality level. Lower grades are usually not intended for general distribution, and are usually used as by-products in the meat industry.

Marbling is also an important factor in meat grading and steak selection. The degree of marbling is dependent on the amount of fat in the particular cut. The less fat, the leaner the cut and usually more tender, but it also is less flavorful, making the task of finding the perfect steak somewhat visually synonymous with walking a high wire. Well, I'm kidding here, but you know what I mean. When you check the marbling, though, you're looking for thin streaks of fat - thick lines mean that the cut has a lot of connective tissue, a sure sign that it will be tough. Another important aspect is the color - the steak should be a lovely bright red, the fat creamy white and evenly distributed throughout.

Beef Cut: Finding the right cut of beef is probably the most important part of the selection process.

Cuts of steak can be broken down into three main sectors. The rib, the short loin and the sirloin (Sections 2, 3 and 4 on our beef cut chart) are located between the upper and mid-back. The rib section is the least tender of the three, and contains cuts such as the Rib Roast, Rib-eye steak and back ribs. For additional cuts of beef, see our chart.

From the short loin we get the delicious T-bone, Tenderloin and Porterhouse. Strip steaks are cut from the T-bone section. The most tender cut of beef is the Tenderloin, and it is from that section that we get the Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand and tournedos cuts. For additional cuts of beef available from this section, see our chart.

From the Sirloin we get the Sirloin Steak and the Top Sirloin. Other cuts of beef, such as chuck, round and flank come from those respective areas, and are tougher beef cuts, more suited to slow cooking rather than grilling.

Cuts of beef from the Tenderloin are tender, but are much less flavorful than cuts of beef from the such as the rib-eye and sirloin, which is less tender but very flavorful.

So there you have it. All you have to do is go down to the butcher and choose the cut you prefer. Or, you can even save time and do it from the comfort of home - order great grilling cuts online right now! Try it here.