Portions of Beef

 Learn Where The Cuts of Beef Come From

Learning where the portions of a cow comes from is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire as a BBQ Chief. It can break you from creating mastery food to going bulls up. So the crew at BBQ Chief are going to provide our knowledge and hone your skills beyond little chief to master chief.

Beef Chuck

Beef Chuck

Comes from the foreguarter, consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm. Beef chuck produces tough but very flavourful cuts of meat. Making chuck a good choice for braised dishes like Beef Stew or Pot Roast, both which tenderise tough cuts.Due to great fat content, beef chuck is also excellent for making ground beef that produces juicy burgers.

Beef Rib

Beef Rib

From the top part of the center section of rib specifically the sixth through the twelfth ribs- the beef rib primal cut is used for the traditional standing rib roast (also called prime rib). Its also the source of the delectable ribeye steak.

Since they're already tender, steaks and roasts from the beef rib primal can undergo various forms of dry heat cooking and remain tender.

Beef Plate

Beef Plate

Also called the short plate or long plate depending on where its separated from the rib aove it, the beef plate incluses the short rib. It is also where the skirt steak is located, which is used in carne.

Beef plate contains a lot of cartilage, especially around the ribs which is why beef short ribs are the ideal for braising.. The process of cooking with moist heat at low temperature will dissolve cartilage and turn it into gelatin. Bet you didn't know that where gelatin came from.

Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket

Is one of the most flavourful cuts of meat going, although it is tough and needs to be cooked in just the right way, its also a moderately fatty cut of beef, but this can work to your advantage because it tenderizes into succulent, meaty perfection.

Taken from the area around the breastbone, the brisket is basically the chest pectoral muscle of the animal. Brisket is frequently used for making pot roast and its traditional choice for corned beef. Another very popular technique for preparing brisket is to slow cook it on a bbq kettle or smoker.

Beef Shank

Beef Shank

The beef shank is the leg of the animal's thigh. Each side of beef has two shanks, one in the forequarter and one in the hindquarter. It is extremely tough and full of connective tissue.

Beef shank is used in making the luxurious Italian dish Osso Buco.

Short Loin

Short Loin (Where Porterhouse Comes From)

Moving on to the beef primal cuts from the hindquarter, or back of the animal, the short loin is where we find the most desirable cuts of meat. These include T-bone and porterhouse steaks, as well as the strip loin or strip steak.

The beef short loin is only about 16 to 18 inches long. It will yield anywhere from 11 to 14 steaks, depending on thickness.

The steaks from the short loin are cut starting at the rib end and working toward the rear. The first-cut steaks are club steaks or bone-in strip steaks. The center-cut steaks are T-bones, of which there may be six or seven. Finally, a butcher may be able to get two or three porterhouse steaks at the sirloin end.

The tenderloin extends from the short loin back into the sirloin. It's interesting to note that if the tenderloin is removed, there can be no T-bone or porterhouse steaks. Both of these steaks include a section of the tenderloin muscle. 

Dry-heat cooking is best for the tender cuts from the short loin.

Beef Sirloin

Beef Sirloin

Beef sirloin is another large section of the carcass that runs from the 13th rib all the way back to the hip bone and from the backbone clear down to the flank (or belly).

The full sirloin is itself subdivided into top sirloin and bottom sirloin. Top sirloin is generally fabricated into steaks that are good for grilling. Since the sirloin is closer to the rear leg of the animal, the muscles get a bit tougher. Still, a first-cut sirloin steak—sometimes called a pin-bone steak because it includes a section of the hip bone—is very similar to a porterhouse.

After separating it from the top sirloin, the bottom sirloin is usually divided into three main components: the tri-tip, ball tip, and flap, which do well with roasting and barbecuing (and they are sometimes made into ground beef).

Although it's not obvious in a two-dimensional diagram, the back end of the tenderloin, called the butt tender, is also situated within the sirloin, and it's either removed altogether when fabricating a whole tenderloin, or the back end is sold as a roast. Beware of butchers who use the name filet mignon to describe a butt tender, because that comes from the other end of the tenderloin.

Beef Tenderloin

Beef Tenderloin

The most tender cut of beef is the beef tenderloin and it is found within the loin. This is where we get filet mignon, which is made from the very tip of the pointy end of the tenderloin. Chateaubriand is made from the center cut of the tenderloin.

The tenderloin extends from the short loin into the sirloin. The pointy end is actually situated within the short loin, and the section in the sirloin is sometimes called the butt tenderloin. Even so, butchers will often remove the entire tenderloin and sell it whole or as individual steaks and roasts.

Beef tenderloin should only be cooked using dry-heat methods, such as grilling and broiling. The meat is already super tender, so long cooking times are unnecessary. Keep it quick and the heat high.

Beef Flank

Beef Flank

Beef flank can be cooked on the grill. Since it has tough muscle fibers, it can get even tougher if it's overcooked, so be careful.

The best technique for flank steak is to grill it quickly at a high temperature. Marinating the meat first can help prevent it from drying out, but avoiding overcooking really is the best prevention. When you're ready to serve it, remember to slice this steak thinly against the grain so it isn't chewy.

Beef flank is also good for braising and it's often used for making ground beef.

Beef Round

Beef Round (Rump Steak)

The beef round primal cut basically consists of the back leg of the steer. Muscles from the round are fairly lean, but they're also tough because the leg and rump get a lot of exercise.

Just like the sirloin primal is separated into two subprimals, top sirloin and bottom sirloin, beef round likewise consists of multiple subprimal cuts: the top round (inside round), bottom round (outside round), and the knuckle. The bottom round is where we get rump roast and eye of round.

Although you might braise a piece of beef round out of necessity, chuck always produces a more delicious piece of meat. There's a good reason for this.

The top round and bottom round are lean and don't contain much collagen. Collagen is the type of protein that turns into gelatin when it's braised slowly. This means that braised rump roast isn't as succulent as braised chuck roast.

More often than not, the best use of round roasts is to roast them slowly so they turn out medium rare. They can then be sliced thinly and used for sandwiches or even served as roasts. Slicing thinly and against the grain is crucial.

Biggest Tip BBQ Chief Can Give You
Never ever take your beef straight from the fridge and chuck on the bbq. The reason for this is because the fibres in the muscle of the beef is stiff by refrigeration and it causes your meat to cease up. For a great tasting cut of meat, you want your meat relaxed. Take your choice of cut from the refrigerator atleast 1hr or 2hrs before you cook. Depending on the days weather sometimes even allow more time, but you want your meat to come to room temperature. If it's too cold to touch wait until your meat is little warm to touch. Perfect! and salt your meat immediately before you put on the bbq with olive oil.

And remember, respect the animal your going to cook by cooking it right. Don't ever overcook. Make him proud and cook him right, so get it right chief!