A Beginner’s Guide To Different Beef Cuts


By yongqing

Are you a steak-lover? Ever wondered what exactly is so different about the different beef cuts? Then you’re at the right place because this article is the only guide you’ll ever need to become an expert at ordering steak. Read on to find out what makes the pricing so different and most importantly, what drinks pair best with the different cuts.


1. Chuck

This cut is made up of the whole shoulder chunk right behind the neck, and is basically a cheaper version of your ribeye but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. It consists of parts of the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm, and the price varies slightly depending on the specific cut. This is a tougher cut and usually comes with lots of fats, so throw it in the slow-cooker and you’re good to go. The final texture is your delicious melt-in-the-mouth kind of meat achieved after stewing it for 8-10 hours. Chuck is also used to make beef patties in burgers, as well as philly cheesesteaks because of the high fat content.

Sauce: thin red wine sauce

2. Brisket

This cut comes from the “under-boob” of the cow and makes one of the so flavourful cuts. Since it is basically the chest pectoral muscle of the cow, the thick coarse-grained meat is tough and needs extra precision when cooking. This part of the meat is usually used for pot roast, requiring long cooking hours to fully tenderize the meat. It is also only moderately fatty but if cooked well, beef briskets are succulent and juicy.

Sauce: good ol’ BBQ

3. Tri-tip

The Tri-tip is found near the rear, where the muscles get slightly tougher. This bottom sirloin is usually used for burger patties and definitely tastes best grilled or smoked.

Sauce: BBQ sauce as well

4. Flank Steak

This cut is from the belly area of the cow and is slightly tough because of the muscle fibers. Flank Steaks are usually marinated first to prevent the meat from drying out when grilled at high temperature. This one can be a tough one to cook because it gets overcooked very easily. Another popular way to cook it is to braise it.

Sauce: Salsa or whatever steak sauce

5. Tenderloin

As the name suggests, the tenderloin is the most tender part of the cow and is found in the middle of the short loin, sirloin and round. It is the leanest part of the cow and is most commonly used to make filet mignon. A good way to cook it is to cut it into little medallions and grill it to get the full flavour out of it.

Sauce: garlic / mustard is the way to go

6. T-Bone & Porterhouse

These cuts are from the front end of the short loin and is known to be the most tasty part of the cow. The 2 cuts are the most prized cuts and differ only very slightly. A simple way to differentiate them is from the tenderloin in them; porterhouse usually contains a larger portion of tenderloin. These cuts are usually grilled and seasoned very lightly because the meat itself is flavourful enough.

Sauce: anything to be honest

7. Rib Eye

The ‘eye’ part of ribeye comes from the center cut of the rib and is known to be the best part of the prime rib section. It usually has a good amount of fat to give it the juiciness. This is a popular cut in steak houses and is usually served boneless. If you want to cook it at home, just give it a good dry rub and grill it. The tenderness makes it good for dry-heat cooking.

Sauce: creamy mushroom sauce

8. Prime Rib

One main characteristic of prime rib is the fattyness, which makes it ultra succulent and juicy. When you eat a prime rib, the bigger the meat the better as it allows you to get a rare bloody center and cooked edge at the same time. If you want to cook this at home, a light seasoning of salt & pepper is sufficient to get a good flavour. Toss this in the oven and watch the juice drip out!

Sauce: horseradish for something interesting

9. Skirt Steak

This cut comes from the front of the belly, underneath the rib. The meat from this area is usually tough, and makes a good ingredient to stir-fry. Alternatively, you can marinate it before grilling it over high-heat.

Sauce: fajita then salsa, or chimichurri if grilling

10. Sirloin

This cut is from the small of the back, right below the tenderloin. Usually, the top sirloin is where the good stuff is and a regular sirloin is inferior in comparison. Bet you didn’t know that haha. The sirloin can be roasted or grilled and is one of the most common cuts you’ll find at a steak house.

Sauce: mushroom or bourbon sauce; either is gold