Hanger steak is the central muscle in the beef diaphragm. It is unusual in that there is only one in the beef carcase, whereas all other muscles coming in pairs. There’s a big, beefy flavour you won’t get in other muscles.
A hanger steak should be cooked to a medium rare temperature, as well-done steak will be dry and tough.
Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs are my absolute favourite cuts of beef for slow cooking. They have it all. Tasty, flavorful meat, a nice layer of fat, and the tactile pleasure of eating it on the bone. When cooked for long enough, they become very tender and fall away from the bone.
Flank steak is a hidden gem among low fat cuts of beef. The wall of the animal’s belly has this lovely lean muscle that can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can use flank to make tacos, stuff them, roast them, and cube them for stews and casseroles.
When customers became more affluent, beef cheeks went out of style. In the past, cheek meat was viewed as cheap food, so it was avoided. However, when they are slow-cooked, the beefy flavor is incredible. Slow cooking in liquid brings out the best in cheeks, so make sure you try it now if you haven’t. You will thank me for this tip.
Bavette is another type of flank or skirt steak that is under-used. A relatively unknown cut of meat, it is thicker and meatier than the flank, has a rich beefy flavor, and is quite tender if cooked properly. Also known as flank steak or skirt steak.
When sold with the bone in, Chuck steak is sometimes referred to as 7 bone steak in America. No, not because there are 7 bones, but because the bone is approximately shaped like a 7 (roughly). Chuck steak has a bit of connective tissue and several muscles, and not all of them are as tender as you would like. The chuck steak cut is good if you don’t mind chewing a bit. If you buy the chuck in a thick piece, say three pounds, it makes a great roast.
The feather blade steak is considered the second most tender muscle in the beef carcass. It isn’t the most photogenic steak, and it needs a skilled butcher to remove the connective tissue and prepare it properly. Beef chuck is delicious fried or grilled.
The Flat Iron
Like the feather blade, the flat iron steak is also from the chuck and can be cooked in the same way. The underrated cut is tasty and tender, but it lacks fat.
Outside butchery or chef circles, the pectoral muscle is probably unknown. Lean and full of flavor, this shoulder cut is ideal for casseroles and stews and it makes great ground beef as well. The texture is similar to brisket, so it could fill in if you were short of brisket.
Another little-known cut is the heel, which is surprisingly tender. To separate this from the hind shin, you will need a good butcher. This low-cost cut of meat, also called merlot or velvet steak, is a good grill and fry choice.
Chuck eye steaks are often referred to as Delmonico steaks after the New York restaurant where they were a signature dish. The longissimus dorsi muscle begins in the chuck and becomes wider down the back of the animal where it is called rib-eye, then striploin (or sirloin) and it ends at the beginning of the rump.
There are only about two usable Delmonico steaks in the chuck, but if you can get them, you will be pleasantly surprised by the big beefy flavor. It can be grilled or fried and is cheaper than rib-eye.
Knuckle or Sirloin Tip
The beef knuckle (called sirloin tip in the USA) is very underrated and is quite inexpensive if you want to buy steak on a budget. You will enjoy this cut of meat if you have a good butcher cut it for you.
Spinalis is the rib eye cap and is becoming increasingly popular among chefs. While it is not as cheap as most of the other cuts, it is relatively unknown and I recommend you try it. Tender and full of flavour, try it at least once.
The beef clod is a series of dense muscles in the shoulder and some of them are really good value. A 21-day maturation of the beef produces great value steaks for grilling and frying.
Eye Of Round
Let’s face it, eye of round is a tough muscle, but if it is matured properly and cooked correctly, it is a good value steak. It is best cut thinly and fried medium-rare. Sprite is said to tenderize eye of round, but I’ve never tried it myself.
Pineapple juice or papaya juice are great tenderizers. This cut of meat also makes a good lean, affordable roast, although it would benefit from a layer of fat on the outside.
When stuffed and rolled, the topside cap is a great budget cut with excellent beef flavor.
Silverside or Bottom Round
They cure the Silverside in Ireland to make corned beef by slow roasting it to break down the fibers. Instead of the tinned corned beef made of compressed pieces of meat, get a flavorful solid piece of meat that goes great with potatoes and cabbage. It is called bottom round in the USA, and it is a popular budget cut.
The topside is a medium-priced cut of round or beef leg meat. After maturing for at least 21 days, it makes great sandwich steaks when sliced thinly. Flash fry quickly and avoid overcooking.
Californians seem to especially like tri-tip, but it is growing in popularity elsewhere. In addition to roasting and barbecuing, you can also fry or grill steaks if you cut them across the grain. Tri-tip is made from two distinct types of grain, so you should ask your butcher how to prepare it.
Brisket used to be used almost solely to make corned beef, and the bone was left in. Times and tastes have changed and now brisket is very popular in BBQ, and in certain states in America they smoke it and slather it with marinades. Brisket is an inexpensive pot roast that has a fantastic beef flavor that benefits from slow cooking.
Where would we be without ground beef? Hamburgers, rissoles, meatloaf, meatballs, spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, cottage pie all use ground beef. In fact, you could cook a different ground beef recipe every day for a year without repeating a dish. Ground beef is the least expensive of all cuts of meat and is infinitely versatile.